Interviewing for a new job is a serious matter. After all, your performance during the interview usually makes or breaks your chance at the position, which is why it’s vital you arrive prepared and act professional. But don’t forget that humor can also be a very useful tool in tough situations such as an interview…as long as you use it appropriately.
Should you use humor in an interview?
Remember, if you’re naturally someone who’s more of a straight shooter, don’t try to be someone you’re not by forcing yourself to make jokes. Humor can be tricky and using it depends on your personality and the personality of your interviewer.
If you do choose to use humor, it’s essential you balance humorous statements with ones that show you’re a smart, driven professional. You don’t want to come across as the class clown, which can make employers think you don’t take your work seriously or are unreliable.
Advice on humor in an interview scenario
Humor can be used in a variety of situations. In the article Nojoke: Howtousehumorinajobinterview on CBS Moneywatch, career coach David Couper suggested downplaying any doubts about your work ability after long-term unemployment by saying the following: “If I could start work in the afternoon, it would be better for me. I don’t usually get up in the mornings!” [Pause] “I’m kidding. I don’t think it will be a problem. With my job search, volunteer work, and my work toward studying for my MBA, I was putting in a 50 to 60 hour week. Did I tell you I volunteered mentoring high school students in math?”
“The trick is to sell yourself, and the joke, with confidence,” he says.
Don’t overdo humor in an interview
The bottom line is that you don’t need to be a stand-up comedian to use humor in an interview. Simply getting the hiring manager to smile and breaking the ice is enough. It can also help you come across as a likeable, engaged candidate…which may result in a job offer!
Have you used humor in a job interview? How did it go?
Kat Krull is the Marketing Manager of Resunate, a job application tool that tailors and optimizes your resume for a specific job, and MyCrappyResume, a place to share your humorous HR stories. You can find Kat, Resunate, and MyCrappyResume on Facebook and Twitter.