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Interview Advice: It's okay to laugh

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

By: Dr. Brittne Martin

The best advice that I ever received regarding interviews came from my mother. Make them laugh. Laughter is one of the most genuine and purest forms of human connection.

During my first interview, I was meeting with city officials and suddenly my cell phone rang. I know what you’re thinking – Yes, I turned my cell phone off. For those who remember, early cell phones would turn on if you had an alarm set.

In a panic, I pulled the phone from my bag and ripped the battery out. I slowly slipped all the pieces in my suit jacket. It was like a scene straight from Saturday Night Live. The room filled with laughter.

Finally, someone said, “Young lady, it's a good rule of thumb to turn your phone off or on silent whenever you go to an interview. However, if you’re willing to dismantle your cell phone… you clearly want this job.” I received a job offer immediately after the interview.

There was another interview where laughter came in handy. After interviewing for 2 hours, I shook the hiring manager's hand and proceeded to exit into the hallway. Of course, I bumped into a shelf and several books plummeted unto the ground.

I calmly picked the books up. About 5 minutes later, I turned around to a group of employees and jokingly said, “Since I finished my first project, what time should I clock in tomorrow?” The group laughed and I was extended an offer within an hour. Perhaps, they noticed that I had arranged the books in alphabetical order rather than simply throwing them back on the shelf.

There’s something to say about making a mistake, finding the humor in it, and making a conscious effort to correct the issue. There will be times when you make a mistake – You are human! Acknowledge it and move forward.

Remember, recruiters are seeking talented people who will bring positive energy into the workplace. Now, I’m not saying prepare a list of jokes for recruiters, awkwardly laugh at jokes, or purposely knock down a shelf full of books. Show your personality and be authentic! When appropriate, laughter can be an effective tool.

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