How to manage a job interview when you have social anxiety?

This blog answers: How to manage a job interview when you have social anxiety? What to do if someone has a severe social anxiety disorder and wants to give an interview? What is social anxiety? How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques?

How to manage a job interview when you have social anxiety?

Some ways to manage job interviews when you have social anxiety are:

Practice mock interviews:

In a role-play, we assume a role and act it out. This enables us to understand what we should do in a certain situation and how we should do it. It also helps us understand our fears and know what we can do to overcome them.

That’s why, for someone with social anxiety, mock interviews can be extremely helpful. Through mock interviews, the person can better understand the nature of his/her worries and what aspects of interviews make them uncomfortable.

Mock interviews would help the person lay out a hierarchy of his or her fears and then think about how to manage them, one by one. Mock interviews are also a form of practice. Engaging in a mock interview can help us get ready for actual interviews.

Connect with people:

People with social anxiety have difficulty connecting with people. Although it makes them highly uncomfortable, they need to try to connect with people. Going out in public talking to strangers and friends, even if it is for short durations, can be extremely helpful. Simply talking to a shopkeeper or a bartender can be of substantial help. Connecting with people, in general, can help them overcome the barriers of conversation that they face when they are giving interviews.

Prepare and then trust in your abilities:

People either get anxious because they aren’t well-prepared or because they don’t trust in their abilities even if they have adequately prepared. The first thing someone with social anxiety needs to do is understand the nature of the interview, that is what kind of questions the interviewers will ask and how they expect interviewees to respond. When they have adequately prepared, the next step is to trust their abilities and not underestimate their potential.

Understand that being nervous is okay:

It is a very natural thing to get nervous in stressful situations. If you get nervous during or before an interview, it’s not that something is wrong with you. It is simply a natural reaction that you are showing. People with social anxiety should understand that the interviewers expect them to be nervous.

If they have any questions before, during, or after the interview, they should simply ask them. Also, taking time while answering an interview question is okay. You can take time and even ask for hints from the interviewer. Keeping these things in mind can be very helpful for someone with social anxiety to manage their interview anxiety.

Take care of yourself:

Anxiety worsens when people start neglecting their care. People with social anxiety, and people in general, should take care of themselves. They should sleep and eat properly. They should exercise regularly and do not miss their leisure time. Simply taking care of your health can help you at least not worsen your anxiety, if not lessen it. Although, personal care can decrease your level of anxiety substantially.

Think about the kind of job you want:

People with social anxiety issues cannot work properly in all jobs. They need to consider this seriously. Jobs that require constant interaction with people don’t suit them. So, if you are someone with social anxiety, you need to think about what kind of job you want before applying for an interview.

Giving an interview can be, in general, a very anxiety-provoking and stressful experience. Anxiety is about the fear of the unknown. When you are giving an interview, you think about what might happen. 

You are worried about how the interview will go. You have no idea whether you will succeed at it or not. This state of uncertainty leaves people anxious. 

This anxiety becomes manifold when you are someone with social anxiety. However, people with social anxiety can deal with their interview anxiety in many ways.  

What to do if someone has a severe social anxiety disorder and wants to give an interview?

People with social anxiety suffer from an intense fear of judgment by others and even worry about simply being watched by someone. If you are someone with severe social anxiety, the first thing you need to do is to seek professional help.

It would be best if you went to a psychiatrist who will prescribe you some medications. Or, the best option is to consult a clinical psychologist specializing in treating social anxiety disorder, who would help you through therapeutic techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

You shouldn’t focus only on your interview anxiety because social anxiety is not just about that. Social anxiety affects your whole life. Even if your interview goes successful, you will still have a hard time working at your workplace and dealing with colleagues and clients if you have social anxiety. That’s why seeking professional help, in this case, is the best option to take.

What is social anxiety?

Individuals experiencing social anxiety might feel uncomfortable being in social situations to an extent that it hampers their daily functioning, it’s sometimes referred to as a social phobia.

Individuals consider public spaces as potential spaces of humiliation and embarrassment. Social anxiety affects how a person Interact with the world around them.

Social anxiety can be differentiated from shyness. In that shyness does not affect an individual’s daily life and functioning, moreover shyness is short-lived.

On the other hand, social anxiety is persistent and negatively impacts various aspects of an individual’s life like their ability to work productively or even develop or maintain close bonds with people outside their family.

How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques?

Lifestyle changes

Apart from therapy and medication what works best to manage social anxiety is certain lifestyle changes. These may include:

  •  Regular exercises
  •  Having a balanced diet,
  •  Socializing and talking to people about their anxiety,
  •  Journal writing to express and understand one’s feelings and
  • Avoiding alcohol or drugs.

Take control of your breathing

It is normal for anxiety to bring about changes in your body, for instance, increased breathing. these changes often make an individual feel uncomfortable.

One can take control of this discomfort by carrying out a few simple steps such as holding one’s breath for two seconds and slowly letting it out through their mouth.

Repeating this step several times until one feels relaxed. This is most effective when one sits down in a comfortable position with their back straight.


Carry out progressive muscle relaxation

Research indicates that certain activities such as walking, or jogging can help in killing anxiety. Another effective technique to kill anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive muscle relaxation involves flexing and releasing a group of muscles in one’s body which helps to maintain their attention on the feelings of this contraction and relaxation.

Prepare ahead of situations

It is best advised that people who experience social anxiety must plan ahead of these situations that make them nervous to increase their confidence.

Start small

to kill social anxiety people must start small. In that individuals must avoid big social situations and start with the situation that they are compatible with.

For instance, one can start by going for lunch with friends and family members rather than with a set of individuals that they’re not familiar or confident with.

Push back negative thoughts

One very effective way to kill social anxiety is to focus and work on one’s negative thoughts actively.

Think about the negative thoughts that one has about a particular situation and write them down. Following this the person is required to write down positive thoughts that challenge the negative ones.

Sensory awareness

One’s senses can help them calm down while they feel anxious in any situation. For some people trying to look at photographs that give them a sense of happiness or using a particular scent that can help to distract them from the negative thoughts and reconnect with more positive ones can help to kill the anxiety at the moment.

How to manage social anxiety using other methods?

Like other physical conditions, even social anxiety has different approaches for its management and treatment. Some people might only need a single type of treatment while others might require a combination of approaches.

Some of the ways to manage or treat social anxiety disorders are:

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

 Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular situation that they usually fear in a graded manner.

It usually starts with exposing the individual to a situation that is least triggering when the individual gets comfortable with this situation introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals become comfortable with a real-life situation that is otherwise anxiety-provoking.

Group therapy

As the name suggests group therapy usually involves two or more individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same condition or fears they might not feel left alone or isolated.

This kind of therapy also helps in developing and maintaining social skills or techniques to interact with people in other social settings.

 Prescribed medication

Social anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health professional. There are different types of anxiety medications each with its benefits and side effects.

Online therapy 

Individuals with social anxiety can also seek therapy online. This would involve interacting with the therapist one-on-one over an audio or video call. 

Some individuals with social anxiety might be more comfortable seeking help through this mode than others while in a different case some might prefer face-to-face therapy sessions. 


It is quite natural to get nervous and anxious before, during, or after any stressful situation. The same is true about interviews. This anxiety and nervousness become an uncontrollable issue for someone with social anxiety.

If someone has mild social anxiety, they can overcome it by simply practicing, talking to people, doing proper preparations, and taking care of themselves. However, if someone is diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, they need to consult professional help. They need to treat their social anxiety disorder because it doesn’t just give them interview anxiety; it affects their whole life.

Frequently asked questions: How to manage a job interview when you have social anxiety?

Is social anxiety a disorder?

It depends upon the severity of the anxiety. Mild levels of anxiety and nervousness in social situations can’t be categorized as a disorder. However, if someone is always anxious in social situations, they avoid social situations, the anxiety is severe and persistent (typically for about six months, they can be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder.

Can people with social anxiety get jobs?

Although it is very hard for people with a social anxiety disorder to pass job interviews, they are capable of working just fine in jobs where there is minimal interaction with a minimal number of people.


Is it okay to tell your interviewer you have social anxiety?

Absolutely. Simply telling your interviewer that you have social anxiety can be very relieving. They won’t put much pressure on you if they know about your anxiety. You’d feel less nervous and more confident after that.