Cracking jokes during an interview

famejranc's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,108

Having some trouble recruiting. Want to improve my strategy. I'm a jokester but in interviews I shut that down because I'm scared I'll get dinged for being unprofessional. But I'm getting dinged anyway.. probably for being too nervous/not personable enough if I had to guess.

When I say cracking jokes I mean responding to "why do you want to work here?" with "the city of [] needs me... I'm Batman" in the Batman voice.

Or if someone asks a technical that I don't know the answer to, saying "Who do you think I am... Mario Freaking Einstein or something?" instead of "I don't know the answer to that question".

I figure doing these interviews can't be incredibly interesting for professionals... do you want the analyst interviewing you to think that you're funny?

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (62)

Oct 27, 2018

Or if he asks a BS tell me about a time when type of question and I say something like "there was this girl she was a 9.6 out of 10 but she wouldn't give me any quality time. except one day I roll up wearing a citizen watch full Ross and I think you know what happens next

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Most Helpful
Oct 27, 2018

I don't think there is anything wrong with light jokes. The jokes you described in your post are not really funny. Just reading those I cringe at working with someone that would say stupid stuff like that all the time.

You want to be known as personable. You want the interviewer to see that you would not be a nightmare to work with. No one is going to hire a failed class clown.

    • 60
Oct 27, 2018

what is a light joke

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 29, 2018

Like how many bankers does it take to screw in a light bulb, that sort of thing.,,

    • 2
Oct 30, 2018

Sorry bro, I think you are actually socially retarded. Have you considered a career in IT or operations? They don't have much human contact in those fields. I think you'd be a great fit there!

    • 6
Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Nov 1, 2018

seriously, those potential jokes make me want leave the room at that point

Oct 27, 2018

"jokester"

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

    • 3
Oct 27, 2018

No, because you are not funny. Just a troll.

Oct 27, 2018

1/10 shitty low iq troll gtfo

"It is not our circumstance that controls us, but our thoughts that control our circumstance." -James Allen

    • 1
Oct 27, 2018

Yea jokes are fine here and there and worked well for me. But those jokes you mentioned ain't it.

    • 2
Oct 27, 2018

You'd be the joke of the office if you cracked these said jokes, if they are even considered jokes that is. They are cringeworthy.

Oct 27, 2018

I would seriously doubt someone's professionalism if they used the jokes you mentioned. Coming across as personable is tough, I get it, but you just need to work on that separately. You'd need some serious charisma and delivery skill to pull any type of joke off, and if you mention you're already nervous then the joke would honestly land as awkward. I'd stay away and try to get more confident with your real answers.

Oct 27, 2018

Good jokes or you won't get hired

Oct 27, 2018

Your jokes are worse than mine

    • 2
Oct 30, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

Your jokes are worse than mine

Surprisingy, you're right.

Nov 1, 2018

You're back in business?

Nov 1, 2018

The people didn't want me to leave.

Oct 27, 2018

Send my condolences to the people that have to work with you

    • 2
Oct 29, 2018

This! Just be this guy and you are good to go.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Oct 28, 2018

Trying to crack a joke is a high-risk low-reward strategy, also those jokes just aren't that funny.

If you have to, try to sound like your not trying so hard. For example, I once got asked 'what would we not find out until after we hired you' to which I responded that my golf game is not as good as I thought it was. This was to a laidback senior staffer who I got a solid laugh from, I would not have made the same joke to someone more serious.

All in all it boils down to if your going to make a joke make sure its funny.

    • 1
Oct 28, 2018

I would get rid of your joke and study cards against humanity. These are business appropriate topics. You might even bring a set to your next interview.

    • 1
Oct 28, 2018

I crack jokes in all my interviews. People fucking love me and my jokes

    • 1
Oct 29, 2018

You think you're funny?

    • 1
Oct 29, 2018

These jokes are low IQ

Oct 29, 2018

i think that (there was this girl she was a 9.6 out of 10 but she wouldn't give me any quality time. except one day I roll up wearing a citizen watch full Ross and I think you know what happens next) is high iq because you have to infer that the girl wouldn't give me any quality time until after she saw my citizen watch and found out that i shopped at ross department store

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

    • 6
Oct 29, 2018
famejranc:

When I say cracking jokes I mean responding to "why do you want to work here?" with "the city of [] needs me... I'm Batman"

Don't say that, super-nerd.

Oct 29, 2018

If you can crack a joke that is situational ie make light of something in a way that's appropriate and not stupid like in your examples, that can be a good thing.

Oct 29, 2018

Letting your personality shine through can be helpful. I usually see it happen (from my perspectives as interviewee and interviewer) when you talk about hobbies / extracurriculars in one's resume. Or you can inject a bit of humor when talking about your experience (or if you get something like - "tell me of a time something went wrong / a failure")

Your jokes though, oof... instant ding.

Oct 30, 2018

Be natural. Everything else will appear forced and uncomfortable. Being personable is great but is hard to do if you're not personable. Certainly don't force jokes in the interview. Try to make the interview feel more like a casual conversation. People (including hiring managers) want to be around others who are authentic. Authentic serious is fine. Authentic casual is fine. Authentic personable is fine. Forced anything is awful!

    • 3
Oct 30, 2018

This is good thanks

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 29, 2018

An MD in an interview asked me a bs "tell me about a time when...." question and I responded "oh let me TELL you" and went into it (got the offer so it worked). I think that's the kind of personable they mean, not making cringey 1-liners

Oct 29, 2018

Your jokes are unfunny and terrible. I would not hire you if you made those jokes in an interview.

Oct 29, 2018

Don't do this man... just keep grinding it out.

    • 2
Oct 29, 2018

I just looked through some of your previous posts to make sure you weren't a troll, and it turns out, you're just weird. That's not inherently a bad thing, but you're probably not cut out for high finance. I've worked in every aspect of high finance. I've been in investment banking, trading, corporate development, management consulting, venture capital--you name it, I've done it. You seem like an odd duck that won't fit well into any of those fields.

I take very little in my life seriously. I have been an enormous success. But the list of my failures outweighs the number of things you have tried. I joke in interviews, but I get interviewed by Cabinet secretaries and C-suite executives. You can make a life that way, but it's hard. You have to be not just different, but better than your peers. And your jokes have to stick. You sound like a guy who imagines himself to be funnier than he is, which means you're socially awkward and interview poorly.

If you want to be funny in an interview, you have to also know basically everything for the job. You can't hope to deflect from the conversation with a politician's answer. Politicians aren't well-liked precisely because they never answer the question that's asked. If you do that in an interview setting in finance or consulting, you're not going to fool anyone. Instead, you will look like a fool. Unless this is a troll post, you sound like a fucking dork.

Just play it straight, fool.

    • 14
Oct 29, 2018
brotherbear:

I just looked through some of your previous posts to make sure you weren't a troll, and it turns out, you're just weird.

...You seem like an odd duck that won't fit well into any of those fields.

...You sound like a guy who imagines himself to be funnier than he is, which means you're socially awkward and interview poorly.

FINISH HIM!

brotherbear:

Unless this is a troll post, you sound like a fucking dork.

FATALITY

Oct 30, 2018

ok dude congrats you are successful you sound like you have a god complex. you've made a life that way because you're not just different, but better than your peers... michael burry has asbergers and ran a hedge fund. edit: ok you have a lot of experience and I have none so I will accept what you are saying about being funny in an interview

I have played it straight in every interview that I have done so far. I haven't been offered an internship, but I am trying to get better at it. I come here seeking advice and you verbally assault me.

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 30, 2018

He's telling you straight up. If you can't handle it, leave?

When someone acts like a smart ass in an interview, they do have to know everything about the job. That's the ante. I come to the interview ready to conduct it seriously - if you treat it like a joke, you are going to put me off. If you treat it like a joke and you don't have any substance underneath your cockiness to back it up, I am going to ding you hard.

Not trying to hurt your feelings, but I think you should lay off the jokes - the ones you tried above do not land, and would frankly make an interview scenario very uncomfortable for me as the interviewer.

Perhaps instead of trying to find a gimmick that will set you apart, you should present yourself as someone that knows as much as they can be expected to from their schooling, and will be a hard worker that will appreciate whatever opportunity they're given. This impression will do so much more to make you memorable than telling me weird jokes.

Oct 30, 2018

Yes that is how I have been presenting myself. I haven't told any weird jokes. I haven't had that many interviews. I just didn't want to make a mistake that could have been avoided by making a forum post and figuring out what most people think. The verbal assault thing was supposed to be ironic

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

    • 1
Oct 30, 2018

"if two vegans fight, is it still considered beef?"

didn't get the offer so don't use that one

    • 2
Oct 30, 2018

I can't wait for the day when I'm next asked "who do you most admire?"

Answer: "Nelson Mandela. He served 27 years in prison... released in 1990... and he never reoffended. I think he went straight... and you've got to admire that. Plus, it shows that prison works."

    • 1
Oct 30, 2018

I think I rather show interest in the job and the company than making a joke. You have only a few minutes to sell yourself and for the company to sell itself to you.. Perhaps cracking jokes isn't the optimal approach simply because there are more important information you want to get from that interview..

-- Monkey 1

    • 1
Oct 30, 2018

Those jokes aren't funny, and if I were to imagine the scenario, I'd ding you right there. Being able to transition from one liners straight back to professional hardo is a great skill to have. Don't even attempt it if you don't have the skill. You can always try to develop that skill after you get the job. No ones going to fire you for making lame jokes (though it might hurt your chances for promotion).

Oct 30, 2018

In all walks of life, success comes when they: Know you, Like you, Trust you. People will size you up instantly. The only way they will Like You / Trust you is if you are authentic (and they like what that means for you). You won'y win over everyone. Forget about trying to.

Be highly skilled (relative to your peers) and authentic. Let the chips fall where they may. WIn some, lose some. It's a numbers game. Keep grinding (just like life).

Oct 30, 2018

As said many times above, don't crack a joke like that, it's very cringey.

However, my advice would be to feel the vibe of the interviewer(s), if they seem ok to have a laugh then yeah, throw a casual joke in.
Obviously don't force one in like "So, why do you want to work here?" - "Hold on, let me tell you a joke before I answer. Knock knock.."

It needs to be in the moment. My last interview was a day after I found out I passed my CFA exam, I was asked something along the lines of "What's the biggest challenge you've overcome?" and simply answered "Not going out for drinks last night after I found out I passed the CFA".
They liked it, I then answered seriously. It was early in the interview and got rid of any tension, plus, it told them I passed the CFA exam (my CV said I was waiting for the results)

    • 4
Oct 30, 2018

Oh man, I cringed just reading your 'jokes'. Jokes have to be delivered in the moment and they must use the context and mood of the room appropriately.

Do not EVER, under any circustances, EVER!!! do weird ass voices to ANY coworker/manager/interviewer EVER. And if you don't know the answer to a questions, own it and move on. It's better than to look like a tool. Nobody on this earth would think either of those jokes are funny much less when said during an interview. If I were the interviewer I'd probably cut that shit short.

There are ways of being personable and charismatic without throwing a joke in the mix (since you don't know what a joke is you should not attempt ANY jokes.)

Read this:
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-develop-your-charism...

Oct 30, 2018

i didn't realize that we had so many comedy experts on this forum

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

    • 3
Oct 30, 2018

well dude you asked for opinions/advice and that's what you got

Oct 30, 2018
famejranc:

i didn't realize that we had so many comedy experts on this forum

Neither did we, but then you showed up ...

    • 1
Oct 30, 2018

I threw in a light joke at the end of an interview I had last week. The interviewer, about 24 or 25, was detailing how the group works a lot and ended by saying "I hope I didn't scare you off." I replied, "I know it's spooky season and all but no worries."

He chuckled and then moved into wrapping up the interview. It isn't necessarily a joke but humorous enough if you spend any time on social media. I thought it worked out well. Definitely wouldn't recommend the suggestions you put down though. If you do in in an interview, will you do it in a call or meeting with clients or higher-ups?

Array
Oct 30, 2018

On a serious note, let's think about the point of an interview.

It's to prove that you're capable enough to get the work done and mature enough to not look out of place while doing it.

Note how subjective the latter point is. This is why bankers rolling up to a startup interview in a suit get dinged. They couldn't put the effort into thinking about how they need to do what they're being asked to do.

I remember talking with a FTSE 100 CEO a couple years ago and she mentioned how she almost didn't hire her CFO. She'd expressly asked the headhunter to stress how warm the culture was and the dude with the most relevant experience came in in a three-piece suit. Classic British stiff-upper-lip type. He ended up coming back for a second chat in jeans and a blazer and talked a lot about his family, and once he proved he was relatable and personable enough, she was sold and brought him on.

Now let's think about an investment banking interview. They are screening very young adults for a role where they'll have exposure to some highly sensitive corporate information, potentially sit in rooms with very senior client executives, and have to interface with senior internal staff regularly.

Does someone who flips into Batman voice unexpectedly in a setting where they're supposed to be putting their best foot forward seem to match that requirement?

Let's go with an easy analogy. Does it make sense to be weird as hell on a first date? The answer is obviously no. You want to be as attractive as possible. You don't let your crazy fly on day one. Everyone is weird in certain ways, they just save it for once someone knows them well enough.

This does not mean you can't show personality in an interview. @Whyphy's example is great. It's lighthearted and safe. It shows self-awareness.

One general pointer is to rely on stories that both answer someone's question while highlighting something unique about yourself.

If someone asks you about a time when you handled unexpected adversity, you can share a story that highlights one of your biggest hobbies or interests. e.g. The first time you took a road trip after you got a driver's license, you got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and had to change it yourself; this gave you a lot more confidence about cars, and you ended up becoming a gearhead and learning a lot about automotive repair which has sparked your hobby of visiting classic car shows.

You can also convey a lot of personality in how you answer something. What's better: someone who tells the flat tire story in a complete monotone while looking a little nervous, or someone who is clearly excited to be talking about something they care about, using expansive vocabulary, and making fun of themselves ("I was so sweaty I couldn't even hold onto the tire jack" ... "was so happy to get the old tire off that I forgot about it, only to look up and see the thing rolling fifty feet away")?

In short, play it safe. Don't make someone doubt your maturity.

    • 4
Oct 30, 2018

"I'm Batman"

That is Michael Scott level of lacking self awareness. It's so remarkably unfunny, that it almost could be funny, if it wasn't just fucking sad. I would say you should do whatever the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do, because if all of your instincts are wrong, the opposite must be right (George Constanza Style).

    • 4
Oct 30, 2018

exactly - so bad... that it's good

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 30, 2018

No... so bad that the rest of the interview is dead in the water. Get used to hearing "so that's all the time I have today" at the ten minute mark if you try your schtick.

The ONLY time I see your jokes landing will be if you find an interviewer that shares your exact brand of "unique" humor. If that happens, then congratulations, you'll have just found your soulmate.

Oct 30, 2018

If you need to ask about cracking jokes; don't

The guys who can get away with it wont be asking about it on a public forum.

I think- therefore I fuck

    • 1
Oct 30, 2018

Got asked in a banking interview, "so do you have a girlfriend?" I told him "well I did hop on tinder as soon my plane hit the rubber" and got a chuckle. If you're not confident about it (which you're not) then just don't.

Oct 31, 2018

Depends on the firm. I sometimes say a quick joke (nothing anyone can take offensive) but try to read their body language and that should help. Try to be yourself in interviews and that will help with the stress/nervous behavior.
Edit: Don't say the jokes in the OP.

Nov 1, 2018

These jokes aren't funny and would be a negative

Nov 1, 2018

This thread is honestly just one huge roast

Nov 1, 2018
    • 1
Nov 1, 2018
Nov 5, 2018

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Nov 5, 2018
    • 1