Is It OK To Take Notes During The Interview? | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

Ep 725 You want to remember what you are told but is it okay to take notes?  That’s what I answer in today’s show.

Is It OK To Take Notes During The Interview? | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

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This is a question that shows up from time to time that I have avoided answering but decided to take on today. To me, the answer is very simple.

"Is it okay to take notes during an interview?"

Let me ask you this. If the hiring manager constantly looked down at his desk to take notes, how would you feel about them? Would you think they were paying attention to you? Would you think they cared about you? Would you think that they were more focused on the note taking process and you?

Answer! Not number 1! Not number 2! The correct answer is number 3! They are more focused on taking notes than you.

The same questions would apply to you as well. If you're constantly looking at your pad, if you're constantly taking notes, there is a problem. If you don't ask if it is okay, that's rude.

If you are interested in taking notes, if you want to jot down a few things, the best thing to do is sit down, ask them what I call The Single Best Question. You Should Ask On Any Interview, and, as they were about to speak, ask, "would you mind if I took down a few notes?" Once they say, "Sure," you can't make it seem like you are taking dictation.

If you're working with an iPad or some other tablet, you can start to overtly whimper if you start to have typos. You just have to let it go and corrected later on.

Experience tells me that when I've been interviewing someone and they are taking notes, I really don't mind as long is not prevalent throughout our entire conversation. As long as they're not looking down and sending me the message (understand that everything you do or don't do communicate something) that the notes are more important than the conversation.

If you want to make sure your notes are accurate, that's terrific! However, if all you're doing is taking down notes, it suggests does this person have a memory problem? Are they even listening to what I'm saying? Worse than that, you're not connecting with the interviewer.

Interviewers want to FEEL like they like the human being they're going to interact with once they are on board. They want to like you, as well as believe that you are competent. Often, if what you are doing is staring at your pad, you are not paying attention to them. You're not smiling, and if you are smiling, you're not looking at them when you are smiling. You are looking down. That just takes away a lot of power.

So, if I were just looking down here to take notes during the entire time of this conversation, you might have the opinion of me that I'm kind of weird.… And that is the issue with note-taking.

Again, start by asking, The Single Best Question You Should Ask on Any Interview, then, ask for permission to take a few notes. Don't be fixated on the note taking process; not only do you need to pay attention to giving great answers to questions but on connecting with the interviewer.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes.

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