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7 Tips for the Shy Applicant

Strengths and weaknesses

Introverts can claim various positive traits. They often make their decisions after carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages. They are also good listeners, and can analyze situations well. They are often good writers rather than smooth talkers.

On the other hand, introverts will avoid certain social situations, such as a chat about cows and calves at the coffee machine. They are also not a fan of telephoning, because they have to start talking to a stranger unprepared. They tend to feel uncomfortable at parties and sometimes think of excuses to leave or not to have to talk to other people present.

Keep in mind that social skills can always be learned. It will never feel 100 percent natural to just talk to strangers, but it's possible to train yourself.


1. Stop excusing

You're who you are, either genetically or due to environmental factors. Find your strengths and also highlight them during job interviews. Can you make good SWOT analyzes? Can you write promotional texts? Or maybe you have a strong visual insight? Highlight the positive points of your skills.

2. Don't over-analyze

Shy people often tend to analyze every little detail of the event and the conversations they have had to the bone after some social situation. They often focus on the 'mistakes' they made, or come up with 'better' answers than the ones they gave at the time. Try to let that go. You can't turn back time and if you take back words or improve yourself at a later time, you'll only come across as uncertain.

3. Triomosphere with the weakness question

If you're asked about your weaknesses in a job interview, throw your embarrassment into the arena. Recruiters have already heard enough that applicants are 'perfectionist' or 'working too hard'. Rather tell that you're a quiet but hard worker and that your colleagues are therefore not always aware of your projects. Indicate that you're working on it and that you're trying to communicate regularly about the problems and successes that you encounter.

4. Practice

Okay, it feels unnatural and even ridiculous, but practice your answers to typical interview questions in front of the mirror. The better you have an answer, the less nervous it makes you. After practicing, switch to a camera in front of the mirror, and finally do a role play with a friend. The answers will not only be better in your head, you'll also answer less nervously.

5. Keep eye contact

If during a job interview several recruiters are sitting across the table, first focus your attention on the person you're asking a question. Ignore the others, and nod friendly and understanding to the person asking the question. Look in the eyes of everyone in the room alternately. If you find this too difficult, focus on the person you seem to be the friendliest about.

6. Go prepared for networking events

If you know that you'll find yourself in a social situation somewhere, prepare a few discussion topics. Go for safe topics: current affairs, sports, ..etc. Pick up on conversations that you know relatively much about.

7. Allow yourself a rest

Social situations are often tiring when you're shy. Therefore, regularly recharge your batteries. Plan activities that you enjoy, such as nestling yourself on the couch with a good book. There is nothing wrong with claiming 'me-time'.

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