Nov 27, 2013
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So, just curious...

If I ever get a future interview, should I be funny or serious in it? I know both extremes are not good, like being too funny makes them look like you don't take it seriously, but being too serious makes you look stale as an individual....

Without sounding too modest, I'm a pretty funny guy. Unfortunately, that's what I'm most known for around campus and in my circle of friends. Kind of sad that academic achievement takes a second place, but oh well!


I've made the most cold hearted professors crack up, and it's not by being a class clown, either. I actually had to politely turn down a LOR because my sociology professor was going to write that "A comedy show was in my near future" (she was kind of ditsy). That "future comedy show" is what everyone I know thinks of me...but I have pretty good academic stats and ec's, and a lot of undergraduate research, too.

I was actually contemplating pediatrics, because being a little funny with kids coupled with my past experience as a tutor at a learning center where I've worked with kids 2 years helps a bit. I also did a low of pediatric shadowing.


Should I use some humor to my advantage in an interview, or is it a dumb idea?
In terms of how much I was planning to initially use (before I get replies), the analogy I like to use is salt. No salt at all, and the food tastes bland. Too much, and you want to run away, but just a little dash enhances the experience.


EDIT: What do you guys and GALS think?
*Don't want Planned Parenthood and Huffington Post killing me over misogyny*
 

mcloaf

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Follow your interviewer's lead. Some will be pretty informal and low-key, while others will be much more old school and buttoned up.
 

Goro

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Just be yourself.



So, just curious...

If I ever get a future interview, should I be funny or serious in it? I know both extremes are not good, like being too funny makes them look like you don't take it seriously, but being too serious makes you look stale as an individual....

Without sounding too modest, I'm a pretty funny guy. Unfortunately, that's what I'm most known for around campus and in my circle of friends. Kind of sad that academic achievement takes a second place, but oh well!


I've made the most cold hearted professors crack up, and it's not by being a class clown, either. I actually had to politely turn down a LOR because my sociology professor was going to write that "A comedy show was in my near future" (she was kind of ditsy). That "future comedy show" is what everyone I know thinks of me...but I have pretty good academic stats and ec's, and a lot of undergraduate research, too.

I was actually contemplating pediatrics, because being a little funny with kids coupled with my past experience as a tutor at a learning center where I've worked with kids 2 years helps a bit. I also did a low of pediatric shadowing.


Should I use some humor to my advantage in an interview, or is it a dumb idea?
In terms of how much I was planning to initially use (before I get replies), the analogy I like to use is salt. No salt at all, and the food tastes bland. Too much, and you want to run away, but just a little dash enhances the experience.


EDIT: What do you guys and GALS think?
*Don't want Planned Parenthood and Huffington Post killing me over misogyny*
 

nemo123

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Follow your interviewer's lead. Some will be pretty informal and low-key, while others will be much more old school and buttoned up.
+1. Read your interviewers well. If they seem more easy going, you can be funny (just make sure that it's appropriate and not vulgar). Otherwise, if they seem serious, don't do anything that'll make your interview become awkward and make them go o_O.
 

SouthernSurgeon

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A lot of this comes down to your general interviewing skills. You have to be able to read people and figure out what is contextually appropriate. I've seen some people try and inappropriately wrangle humor into an interview when clearly that was not what the interviewer wanted or expected; I've also seen people miss an obvious punchline or effort to lighten the mood a bit.
 
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I had a little joke slip out by accident during my interview, and was horrified for a second, but then everyone laughed so it went well. I don't think it's bad to show a little bit of your personality. An appropriate/well-timed joke shows that you're confident and relaxed too. :)
 

Jennyfishy

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One of my interviewers asked me to describe myself like I was my friends and colleagues. He enthusiastically jumped on my comments about being quirky and unintentionally making people laugh, and talked about his favorite jokes and how he always tries to alleviate patient stress by making them laugh at least once per visit.

I took that as a sign to be a little more myself, but also professional. Another interviewer was more negative and asked about my flaws, so I discussed my sense of humor as a person trying to balance "professionalism and being a good friend to colleagues."

Smile and be normal, so to speak, and you won't look like a robot :D. If you can make ppl laugh, you're prob great at reading people in social situations without realizing it
 

SilentSoldier

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Maybe you'll get lucky and one of the interview questions will be to tell them a joke. Then you'll have your in to be funny.
 

Reckoner

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Maybe you'll get lucky and one of the interview questions will be to tell them a joke. Then you'll have your in to be funny.
Just make sure your joke is interview appropriate. I have a relevant story that I might post in the worst interview answers thread, if I can overcome the burning shame I fell thinking about it.
 

SilentSoldier

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Just make sure your joke is interview appropriate. I have a relevant story that I might post in the worst interview answers thread, if I can overcome the burning shame I fell thinking about it.
you have to now, can't leave us hanging like that.

As for the joke, there's a clean joke subreddit that is chock full of jokes that I think would be interview appropriate. They wouldn't be authentic, but delivery counts too.
 

music2doc

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Be natural. Be human. The applicants I like most on interview day are human. They are interesting as well as interested, attentive, and engaged. However, they don't say things that make me or my partner feel uncomfortable (either for myself or for others). Most applicants leave me with a neutral to good feeling. Some make me want to ensure they get in (which is not something I cannot do). I have yet to have an applicant that left me with a strong negative impression, but I have heard stories of it happening. Emails from applicants are nice to receive, but (at least here) have no influence on your admission as your interviewer will have already evaluated you. (Sending an email the same day as your interview to "beat" that would be something I would discourage as it may seem calculated/forced/coercive.)

As for interview-appropriate jokes, that is definitely important although keep in mind these are medical professionals (or students) you are (usually) interviewing with (unless it's an Admissions staff member of PhD faculty member). There is room given for things that might not be considered appropriate dinner conversation or interview conversation in non-medical fields. My first acceptance came after an interview in which I told the Dean of the school (who was my interviewer) about an experience had as an ED tech in which I saw a bit more lady parts than I had bargained for due to another tech's error. I used it to illustrate a patient care-related principle but it was also a pretty funny story and we both laughed about a mutual blunder I had had with this other tech. As I mentioned, the outcome: Acceptance...2 weeks later. And a visit from the Dean to my undergrad to talk to our students about medicine. (I felt really bad turning that school down for my current one come May.)
 
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Nov 27, 2013
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Be natural. Be human. The applicants I like most on interview day are human. They are interesting as well as interested, attentive, and engaged. However, they don't say things that make me or my partner feel uncomfortable (either for myself or for others). Most applicants leave me with a neutral to good feeling. Some make me want to ensure they get in (which is not something I can do). I have yet to have an applicant that left me with a strong negative impression, but I have heard stories of it happening. Emails from applicants are nice to receive, but (at least here) have no influence on your admission as your interviewer will have already evaluated you. (Sending an email the same day as your interview to "beat" that would be something I would discourage as it may seem calculated/forced/coercive.)

As for interview-appropriate jokes, that is definitely important although keep in mind these are medical professionals (or students) you are (usually) interviewing with (unless it's an Admissions staff member of PhD faculty member). There is room given for things that might not be considered appropriate dinner conversation or interview conversation in non-medical fields. My first acceptance came after an interview in which I told the Dean of the school (who was my interviewer) about an experience had as an ED tech in which I saw a bit more lady parts than I had bargained for due to another tech's error. I used it to illustrate a patient care-related principle but it was also a pretty funny story and we both laughed about a mutual blunder I had had with this other tech. As I mentioned, the outcome: Acceptance...2 weeks later. And a visit from the Dean to my undergrad to talk to our students about medicine. (I felt really bad turning that school down for my current one come May.)

Hmmm, for someone that likes to smile a lot, laugh, lighten the mood, but in a very outgoing way (not being loud, but not in the 'flirt with someone at the bar' kind of way either), do you recommend they suppress their behavior and make themselves a little more professional?
 
Oct 15, 2013
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if you have a positive and pleasant air about you, then the interviewer will laugh at even the mildest jokes you say.

i always try to smile throughout the interview. of course, not showing cheeky grins or anything. also need to time it correctly. know when to smile, show enthusiasm, and show seriousness/passion.

i think the best humor during an interview is to poke fun at your past blunders like mentioned above. another great time to show humor is during the questions section at the end. (talk about the local sports team and etc.)
 
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music2doc

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Hmmm, for someone that likes to smile a lot, laugh, lighten the mood, but in a very outgoing way (not ty being loud, but not in the 'flirt with someone at the bar' kind of way either), do you recommend they suppress their behavior and make themselves a little more professional?
Not at all. Smiling a lot is good, as is appropriate laughter. Most applicants err on the side of "too conservative," but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing since it shows some self-awareness that you're at an interview and don't know everyone's backgrounds yet (i.e., our culture and what we might find offensive or inappropriate). I think as long as your behavior isn't so gregarious as to be off-putting, there is no reason to "suppress" it. Honestly, it's the people who lighten the mood and really engage us that we remember. If you are totally silent the entire time, no one is going to remember you, which means the only person who might recall you come adcom voting time is your interviewer (and they, too, are more likely to remember you if you seemed interesting).

That would matter most if the people you interacted with during other parts of the process had any influence on your application. At my school, they don't...well, generally speaking. The exceptions here would be M4s who are on the adcom and drop in for lunch. They could make a subconscious impression of a given applicant during that time that could influence an adcom vote down the road, I suppose.

In your interview, I would suggest similar conduct. The impression your interviewer gets of you will be made within a few seconds of meeting you. (A fellow I know tells me that in his experience, he knows how he will rank an applicant for his program within about 5 seconds of sitting down with them for the interview and that impression very rarely changes.) One of my former professors recently interviewed a friend of mine and I was talking with her a couple of weeks later when we ran into each other in the Admissions Office. Her memory of my friend: "Oh yeah, she was the thin, pretty girl from XYZ. She seems very nice and outgoing." She has also done a lot of community service and has a job working with underserved communities (a very important piece of one's application to my school), which was not what she remembers (at least not what was mentioned to me). The impression was certainly positive, but it wasn't really based on her achievements so much as how the interviewer felt from the interaction. Of course, I do not know the actual evaluation, nor do I know whether my friend will be admitted in December when they do her post-interview application review.
 

CyberMaxx

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I agree with mcloaf, definitely proceed based on the mood set by your interviewer. Regardless of whether or not you should use humor, I think you should always remember to smile. Smiling shows that you are relaxed and can help you relax you aren't. A smile and a pleasant exchange at the beginning of an interview can go a long way towards making the environment more comfortable and conversational. :)
 

PingPongPro

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Just use common sense and let your natural personality flow.

I remember when I interviewed, an interviewer asked me about any personal qualities that would help me as a doctor, and I answered, "my humor". I went on to explain a little bit, and the interviewer asked me to recall a time I used my humor positively. I ended up telling her a random funny story, and it really helped the mood of the interview.
 

chillaxbro

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Tell us a joke funny boy
 
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plumazul

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OP, there is no absolute answer to your question. Every situation is different and recognizing the requirements of each is a skill we all must develop.

Tell us a joke funny boy
A golfer a lawyer and a priest walk into a bar,
the bartender looks at them and says:
"What is this? Some kind of a joke?"
 
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Nov 28, 2013
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9 times out of 10, if you're forcing a joke, it's going to look bad. Just stay conservative with respect to your social demeanor, but definitely try to be remembered in the near future.
 

BurberryDoc

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9 times out of 10, if you're forcing a joke, it's going to look bad. Just stay conservative with respect to your social demeanor, but definitely try to be remembered in the near future.
Agree with this entirely. I was able to organically fit in a joke about 'Canes v. Gators and Olympic swimming in one of my responses to a question at my UMiami interview, one for the first questions that my interviewer asked me (I wrote about competitive swimming in my essay) and I thought my interviewer was going to stop breathing he was laughing so hard. The rest of the interview unfolded nicely and as you can see, it didn't hinder my admission to the []_[]
 

Theralist

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I know a guy who cracked a joke in the interview at the right time and it made the interview go smoothly. If the opportunity presents, I think it's okay, but probably something only to be used once to break the tension.
 
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Use your best judgement. If it's appropriate for the interview then do it-otherwise, don't. Whatever you do, smile and be pleasant yet professional.