Tips for Recruiting Shy Students

By Danielle Wirsansky on March 15, 2017

Being shy can be difficult, both for the person who is shy and also for those around them. Many people have a hard time understanding and handling shyness. Shyness can unfortunately sometimes limit those who have not found the best way to handle it and are surrounded by others who also do not know how to handle it.

However, according to Psych Central and Dr. Steve Bressert, between 40-60 percent of adults are shy. That is certainly a lot of people! So many people are shy and yet they need to get by in the world. It can often be harder for those that are shy to get and hold down jobs — yet if certain methods to recruit them were taken, shy people could be an untapped resource for job recruiters.

Sylvia Plath once wrote, “So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.”

If there is a will, there is a way and if you are interested in finding a way to utilize shy people, then you will. Read on to learn some tips for recruiting shy students to work for your company!

References, Not Recommendations

For shy people, one major no-no for deciding to apply to a job or not is whether they require a letter of recommendation. If they see that as a requirement of applying for a job, they will simply pass on it. That is because it can be incredibly difficult for a shy person to ask another person to write them a recommendation letter!

Perhaps they were shy in class and never felt comfortable going to a professor’s office hours. It was hard for them to develop and cultivate the kind of relationships necessary with people who could write them recommendation letters, whether they are by professors or bosses alike.

Or maybe they were able to do all of those things — in fact, they have a great relationship with several professors or former bosses. But the thought of asking them for a letter of recommendation is stress inducing. It can feel like such a burden to ask someone to do something for you. How can you be sure the relationship is strong enough for that? And what if they say no? The horror and anxiety of it all!

Ask for references instead, not recommendations.

Detailed Applications

For some job applicants, filling out an application is painful. Why do I have to fill this out? They lament. All of this information is on my resume! Unfortunately, not all resumes are made equal and job applications are the best way to get the pertinent information you need about applicants. However, for some, these detailed applications can be very good news.

When a shy person gets to fill out a very detailed form, they are able to tell the recruiter a lot about themselves and even show themselves to advantage if they are particularly suited to the job — without ever having to say a word. A lot of people who are shy are more generally shy when they are having face to face interactions with other people. An in-person interview can cause major anxiety. What do you say? What do you do? Will the job recruiter judge you?

But with an extra detailed application, a shy person can go into an interview confident that the job recruiter has read over the experience, is knowledgeable in what they can or cannot do, and already knows quite a bit about them. It can make the ordeal much less of an ordeal. A shy person will not have to explain their entire job history or explain line by line their experience if they have already done so in the very detailed application that you provided them with.

Shy people will be a lot more likely to fill out such a detailed form as opposed to someone who would much rather meet with you in person in order to expound their work history and experience. Depending on the job you are offering, a shy person might just be a much better fit.


People who are shy have trouble reaching out and asking for more information that they might require but have not yet been given. They can feel uncomfortable asking, unsure of how to word their questions, and afraid of giving offense or even asking too much. They do not want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable with their questions. Sometimes, they are afraid that they have missed the information and do not want to appear silly or stupid for not already knowing the answer to one of their questions.

So if you have posted about a job and they have a question about it, they might be too afraid to ask for more details, which could potentially be a deal breaker. They could decide not to even bother applying because they are not sure that they match the criteria for the job in your posting. Help them avoid all this anxiety and just be as detailed as you possibly can in your overview of what the job entails, the skills you require, information about your company, and what someone needs to do in order to apply. Shy people will be more likely to respond to a more robust and detailed job posting once they are sure that they would be a good fit for the job.

By Danielle Wirsansky

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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