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Should you be funny in a job interview?

9 September 2019 at 8:24 am
Wendy Williams
A man walks into a job interview and fills his glass of water until it overflows. “Nervous?” asked the interviewer. “No, I always give 110%...”

Wendy Williams | 9 September 2019 at 8:24 am


Should you be funny in a job interview?
9 September 2019 at 8:24 am

A man walks into a job interview and fills his glass of water until it overflows. “Nervous?” asked the interviewer. “No, I always give 110%…”

Going for an interview for a job you really want can be a nerve wracking experience. You are trying to make a good impression, you want to break the ice… but is it ok to be funny?

We spoke to Sharon Davies, managing director of Talent Propeller, to find out when to weave humour into the interview and when to leave the knock-knock jokes at the door.

Her advice: “It depends.”


Be yourself

The most important thing in a job interview situation is for you to be yourself.

If it feels forced then don’t try to be funny. 

“If it is appropriate for the company and the role then demonstrating humour can be good, but only if it comes naturally to you,” Davies says.

“What is important is to try to build rapport with the interviewer and connect on a human level.”


Think about the role

With humour, there is a brightness and lightheartedness which can be good if you are applying for a client facing role such as customer service, handing out samples in a supermarket or fundraising on the street.

“Where it might not be appropriate is if it comes off as flippant,” Davies says.

If you are applying for a more sensitive role, act accordingly. It is important to show character and empathy, rather than humour.


Remember the interviewer is on your side

Everyone knows that an interview is a nerve wracking experience – including the person sitting across the table from you.

“The interviewer and the company are just as eager for the interview to be a positive experience,” Davies says.

She says her interview style is designed to put people at ease.


Being prepared is more important than being funny

It is important to remember that as well as your personality recruiters are looking at your experience and your aptitude. Humour is just one small part of what’s on show.

When it comes to acing the interview, Davies says her advice is to be prepared.

“Do your research,” she says.

This means finding out about the company and the people you are meeting. Check the organisation’s website, use LinkedIn and make sure you know how to get to the interview to ensure you are on time, so that you are as relaxed as you can be going in.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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