Humor in the Job Search: How Comedy Can Help in an Interview.

Job candidate makes the interviewers laugh.

Picture taken from http://www.wealthforteens.com.

This post will be a lot more serious than my last post.  It’s about aspects of comedy and humor that can help you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.  Be warned, however, there are negative things that can happen as a result of comedy, so make sure you read my next post on drawbacks before you decide to liven things up Late Show-style with a top ten list.

With the warnings of drawbacks in mind, there are ways that humor can help you.  This post will look at a couple intrinsic characteristics comedy has that lend itself well to the job search.

Humor is linked to confidence.

When you go to an interview, there may be some tension in the air because you’re talking to a complete stranger and there’s a lot at stake.  One of comedy’s primary purposes is to release tension, so a laugh can break the ice and resolve said tension.  Once the tension is resolved, you will both appear to be, and be, more confident.  And here’s the cool thing:  once your confidence goes up, your ability to be funny also increases.

Comedy builds bonds.

Comedy is a great tool to bring people together.  It’s a known fact that it can build a sense of intimacy between people.  It could be because you’re sharing a laugh with someone, or it could be because you are sharing an experience with someone that you’re laughing about.  Also, because comedy and the act of laughter work to resolve tension, the other person will lower their guard.  When someone lowers their guard, it’s easier to make a personal connection with them.

Humor helps people remember.

There have been studies on this.  In one such study (item four on the site’s list), different people were asked to recall information that was given to them.  One group had information presented dryly to them and the other had information that was presented humorously.  The group that had comedy used to present the information was able to recall information significantly better than the other group.

The idea here is to have the interviewer remember you better than the other potential candidates.

Comedy can make you more qualified for the job.

For each successful pun you use, you can give yourself one more year of experience.  Okay, it’s not quite like that, but there are things employers are looking for that sharing a laugh proves that you have.  For instance, a lot of employers are explicitly looking for someone with a sense of humor; this one is obvious.  Others want people who are creative and/or who have good interpersonal communication skills.  A sense of humor conveys you have those as well.  It’s one thing to have certain skills on your resume, but it’s another to be able to show them to potential employers first-hand.

So in summary, humor and comedy:

  • boosts confidence
  • builds a sense of personal connection
  • Helps people better recall information
  • Proves you have certain skills

My next post will talk about potential drawbacks of using humor in the job search.  The post after that will have some recommendations of when comedy is appropriate and when it should be avoided.

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