I recently went for a finance interview at a smaller shop. The interviewer asked me to tell him a joke. I blanked. I ended up saying:
A man walks into library and approaches the librarian. The librarian smiles and asks, "How can I help you today?"
The man says, "Can I get a tunafish sandwich on white?"
Bewildered the librarian says, "Sir this is library...".
The man replies (in a whisper), "Sorry (this where I almost died in the interview of nervousness) can I get a tunafish sandwich on white?"
I got a weak smile from the two guys....
Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
The 'Tell Me a Joke' question can be used to see how you react to unexpected situations. You've likely prepared for hours for your interview and have almost scripted responses for nearly every question. This is a way to get you to think and answer a little differently. Also, it's a good way to see how you interact with others.
How To Answer "Tell Me A Joke" In An Interview
Sense of humor is personal, so even if you know a firm's culture well, it's probably best in these early stages to play it safe.
- Keep it simple. The shorter the better, it's easier to remember and easier to tell.
- Keep it clean. Don't be offensive. Sure, some firms on Wall Street welcome NSFW humor, but save it for when you're employed and killing it.
- Keep it relevant (if possible). Can you relate it to the interviewer? No, don't insult his mother, but a joke where the local, perpetually last place team is the punchline is okay. Or you can always stick to something pop culture related.
Jokes from the WSO Community
Here are a few suggestions from the WSO community. Try them out and maybe have one or two in your back pocket in case you're asked in an interview.
Mama bear and papa bear are getting a divorce. The judge asks baby bear, "who do you want to live with?"
Baby bear says, " I don't want to live with mama bear. She beats me"
Judge says, "Okay, so you want to live with papa bear?"
Baby bear says, "No, he beats me too!"
Judge (frustrated at this point), "Well then, who do you want to live with?"
Baby bear, "I want to live with the Chicago Bears! They never beat anybody"
Preparing for interviews?
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