Comedy was front of mind this April after social media went mad with the news that Trevor Noah would be succeeding Jon Stewart as the presenter on The Daily Show. Yip. Our dimple-faced poster-child for sunny South African humour is taking on America; showing us that careers and comedy are not always mutually exclusive. Even for us.
Hang on… What?
They may seem like wildly different scenarios, but it turns out that when it comes to job hunting, we may have a bit in common with comedians. We’re not kidding. Just like in stand-up comedy, good performance in job interviews can be determined by these 3 guidelines:
1. Be bold. Be very bold.
No one ever laughed at a shy comic. The best ones always seem at home on stage – like they’re just chatting with a few friends. The same goes for successful interviewees. A job interview is no time to be modest; it’s a time to stand assuredly in the fluorescent office lighting, with a beaming smile, a firm handshake and a generous dose of down-to-earth enthusiasm.
2. Test your performance.
A good stand-up comedian makes it look easy. You know why? Because they’re prepared. As conversational as their jokes may seem, the truth is they’ve been through those lines a million times and they know their audience.
For an interview, you do this by researching the company you’re interviewing to join. This guides you on what personal skills to highlight. Then you practise what you’re going to say. A lot. You can even get a friend to film a mock interview with you so you can analyse how you say it. A classic stand-up comic strategy.
3. Be your greatest self.
A comic that tells jokes he doesn’t find funny won’t make an audience laugh. And he’ll kill his soul in the process. The same goes for job interviews. Even though you might tailor your answers to suit the interview, you should still do it in a way that represents who you are as an individual. Don’t be afraid to be your quirky, funny, serious or outgoing self – if you get the job, it’ll be way better for both you and the company if you go in as you.
Job interviews are a performance. And a tricky one at that – especially if you’re not used to putting on a show. But if you take a few tips from the likes of comedians like Trevor Noah, you might get a little closer to getting the job of a lifetime too.