Should you be funny during an interview?

Interviews can get the nerves really jangling. Our desire to impress or our fears about what may happen can sometimes negatively affect us. With butterflies in our tummy, is an interview a good time to be funny and start telling jokes?

There’s a mixture of pros and cons to making interviewers laugh, here are a few:

Benefits of using humor in an interview

  • it can lighten the mood
  • it can make you and/or the interviewers feel more relaxed
  • it can increase the chances of the interviewers liking you
  • it allows your personality to shine through
  • it may help form a bond between everyone in the room

 Cons of using humor in an interview

  • the joke could go badly and create an awkward atmosphere
  • you could mess the joke up and look stupid
  • the interviewers might not share your sense of humor
  • you may look unprofessional 
  • if it goes badly it may dent your confidence for future interviews 

With those in mind, let’s look at some key considerations.

Key considerations as to whether you can make a joke during an interview

Should I be funny?
Should I be funny?

Consider what type of job you’re going for

The type of job you’re going for may affect whether it’s good to make the interviewers chuckle.

If you’re trying to get a job with a small building firm and you can see the group of people you’ll be working with are exclusively guys, they may feel having a joke while working hard is important. In that case, making them laugh once or twice is a good thing. It might make them think “yes, this person would be decent to work with, I can see us getting on well”.

In other jobs, perhaps trying to make them laugh may hinder you. Consider the type of job you are going for, and that can impact your decision.

Read the room

The mood in the room and what’s going on in the interview are both important factors. For example, if you have to do a presentation it could be the perfect moment to insert something that’s light-hearted and funny as long as it’s something relevant or topical for your industry.

Read the body language of the people interviewing you. If they themselves say a few light-hearted funny things then that’s your green light to join in!

This can be more tricky in Zoom interviews. Play it cautiously if you’re unsure.

Be yourself

It’s important during an interview to get the real you across. That’s why being yourself is always a top tip.  If you have a good sense of humor then you don’t want to suppress that, you want to show it! But if you’re more of a shy type there’s no point trying to force being the funny dude or dudette in the room. 

If you like crass jokes then it’s probably the right moment to leave them at home. Keep those poop jokes parked until you’re with your friends.

And if you do make the odd joke don’t be too self-deprecating. The people conducting the interview don’t know you, it’s not a good look if you’re constantly knocking yourself, even if you’re using humor.

Don’t think of pre-prepared scripted jokes

Don’t plan jokes to say, that’s just weird. It will come across as scripted and unnatural. Now is not the time to be bringing your favorite ‘knock-knock jokes’ or one-liners you heard on TV last night.

There is no point trying to remember something funny to say, or a joke to tell them. Plus, how are you going to fit it in, you may be thinking about when the moment will come to say it. Should you make them laugh early, at the end, or what? If you start thinking about this it’ll hurt you more, and likely stop you from being natural.

Conclusion

You’re not going for a job as a comedian, so trying to be funny throughout the interview is a bad idea.

However, a sprinkling of topical jokes and light-hearted funny moments may go a long way, especially in a long interview process. There’s nothing wrong with making a joke in an interview if the time and moment are right. The interviewers may like you more and bond with you more than they would have without the jokes. That can only be a good thing!

Remember to always be yourself, don’t use any scripted jokes, and if the moment is right then enjoy a giggle and keep your fingers crossed you get the job, good luck! 

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