I Cracked A Funny, Was I On The Money? Interview Humour: Yay or Nay?

There are going to be polarising views on this one, is it totally inappropriate or a showstopper that leaves an impression?

Here’s my take.

In many industries including my specialty area, Aviation, we can see 10-20 people during assessment days.

That’s tiring and when you are tired, disinterest or a short attention span can seep in, even to the best interview panels.

Sometimes you’ve got 3 Tims, 4 Susans and 2 Mohammeds in one session, eeeeekkk, how do I remember who is who? It becomes a bit of a blur. Sure I look at my notes but it’s not always easy, especially if you are asking a cache of similar questions to each of them.

If someone has told a rip-roaring story or we’ve shared a good belly laugh at something, well…I’m more likely to remember you, it’s human nature. It also builds rapport.

But what if humour isn’t your thing? That’s ok, a really unusual or individual story does the same thing.

Here’s one I found on Google – just love it!

An Australian newspaper reported an airliner recently encountered severe vibration in flight. The Captain decided to make an emergency landing, and switched on the seat belt sign. The vibration stopped immediately.  A passenger then emerged from a lavatory and explained that he had been jogging inside the bathroom.

Here’s one of mine.

Many years ago I approached Drake Personnel about a job, head recruiter, Jan Ferguson, I placed a call to her. Reception said, “Sorry, too many candidates we cannot put you through”. I hung up… hmmm what to do. So… I called back “Hi may I speak to Jan Ferguson”, who is calling she asked? “Kirsty Ferguson, her cousin”, Jan picked up the phone “you are not my bloody cousin but you have guts, you have 2 mins”. Yep, I got that job.

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When asked a question around initiative or innovation I would throw that little ditty in, always got a laugh.

NB: when trawling Google some pretty racy stories and jokes came up so be super careful in your choices.

Great stories and jokes build rapport and make you memorable, but how about we place some rules around that so you are not taking any risks?

The Humour Rules:

  1. Gauge your audience; if they show some humour, you’re on! If not, skip it.
  2. Choose something appropriate, do some research, there are lots of funny stories and jokes out there for every industry so – Google it and borrow one.
  3. If you can, select your own story. If it’s happened to you even better and easier to tell.
  4. Just do it once, nobody wants to look flippant.

As I have said many times before:

  • Smile
  • Be yourself.
  • But be prepared.

Go get em!

Get in touch:


Kirsty Ferguson
Founder, International Aviation Coach and Author

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