Job Interview Humor
Is there ever a place for jokes during a job interview? Jokes can certainly make you memorable, but it may not be for the right reasons. The problem is that not everyone has the same sense of humor. There is a lot of room for misinterpretation, and that can be a death sentence for a job interview. Scripted jokes are typically inappropriate and don’t fit into the interview setting. Additionally, complaining about life is one of the most common topics for humor. Complaints are never appropriate for a job interview, even if it is about something as simple as finding parking by the office.
If you cannot imagine an hour without cracking a joke, then do not fear. An easy, non-offensive way to slip humor into the job interview is through humor about yourself. Jokes about yourself cannot be misinterpreted as an insult. If you do something embarrassing such as spill on your shirt, then it is certainly appropriate to poke fun at yourself. Interviewers like to see that candidates don’t take themselves too seriously. It would also be less awkward to address a situation like that with humor instead of ignoring it completely.
However, in most other cases, leave the humor out of it. You are probably less funny than you imagine. Interviewers are also not expecting to hear jokes, so they can be taken off guard and therefore not understand the meaning. Never poke fun at your past supervisors or company. This will be seen as disrespectful. If you will openly badmouth a past manager, then they will assume you are not a team player and will badmouth their company in the future. Sarcasm is also not an appropriate use of humor during an interview either. A surprisingly great number of people do not understand sarcasm, so it can come off in an offensive, negative way.
It is important to be personable during an interview though. Stay positive, smile, laugh, and stay away from negativity or complaints. Some interviewers like to start an interview by asking the applicant to tell a joke. Do not get fooled by this question. Instead of telling a potentially offensive joke, tell a funny story about yourself. This is a way that you can control where the interview goes from there. It is important to remember that you do not know much about your interviewer, so you can’t determine what kinds of jokes will be offensive to him or her. You may just come off as creepy rather than cutesy if your joke is not understood. The best advice is to avoid humor altogether and focus on being personable and charming instead.
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