Employer: “What’s your greatest weakness?”
Job Seeker: “It’s a toss-up. On some days, it’s pizza. On others, it’s ice cream…I’m kidding. In all seriousness, my greatest weakness is…”
While some employers might laugh and appreciate your sense of humor, others might perceive you as unprofessional and too casual for throwing a one-liner into your interview response. How do you know if humor is appropriate for your job interview? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there certainly are some pros and cons to consider in making this decision.
Employers want to hire someone that is enjoyable to work with and would mesh well within the company’s culture. Even if you’re qualified and talented, if an employer decides that you wouldn’t be an enjoyable person to work with, you’re going to have a tricky time convincing the employer to hire you. So if a joke can score you some points for being likable, then by all means, go for it!
If you’re interviewing for a position that requires more soft skills than hard skills, such as a sales position, throwing a one-liner into your interview may be a great option for you. Making an appropriate and well-timed joke will show (hopefully!) that you’re easy to talk to, charismatic, full of good energy, and have excellent conversational skills.
Some employers just aren’t interested in your humor. They have their suit jackets buttoned so tight that they can’t breath and every minute of you talking costs them a minute of their time. They may feel that the interview is meant to confirm your qualifications and professionalism and nothing else.
Additionally, some employers may be more conservative and feel that cracking a joke in an interview makes you less of a professional.
In review, using humor in an interview has both its pros and cons. For each interview, you will need to be able to gauge an employer’s personality, values, and desired qualities in an employee. Having this understanding will allow you to know if using humor in your interview will be a helpful or harmful move.
Have any experience using humor in an interview? Comment below!