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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.


This is a question that shows up from time to time that I've avoided answering but I thought I would address it today because to me, it is very simple. The question is, "Is it okay to take notes during an interview?"

Let me ask you this, "If a hiring manager constantly looked down at his desk to take notes would you feel about them? Would you think that they are paying attention to you, care about you or were they focused on the note taking process?" Answer. Not number 1! Not number 2! Number 3!! Focused on the note taking process.

The same would be really true for you as well. If you are staring at your pad, if you're constantly looking down, taking notes, there is a problem. And if you don't ask if it is okay to do this, you are being rude. So, if you are interested in taking notes, if you want to jot down a few things, the best thing to do is as you sit down and ask them what I call The Single Best Question You Should Ask on Any Interview, as they are about to speak and respond to your question, asked them, "Would you mind if I took down a few notes? I promise I will be staring at my pad or iPad the entire time."

Once they say, "sure," you can't make it seem like you are taking dictation. If you are working with an iPad or some other tablet, you can't sit there and start to whimper if you start having typos in your note taking. You just have to let it go and corrected later on.

Experience tells me that when I'm interviewing someone in there taking notes, I find that I don't really mind as long as it is not the prevalent part of our conversation where they are looking down and sending me the message, either intended or unintended (remember, everything you do or don't do communicate something) that they may have a memory problem, are they really listening to what I am saying, and, worse than that, you are not connecting with me because your more focused on your notes.

You see, interviewers want to FEEL like they are dealing with a human being that 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 the pad/the iPad/stenographers pad/whatever it is you're taking notes on, you are not paying attention to them. You are not giving them eye contact. You're not smiling and, if you are smiling you are not looking at them when you're smiling. That takes away a lot of power.

So, if I were just looking down and taking notes during the entire time of this conversation, you might have the feel for me and I'm kind of weird. That's the issue with notetaking.

So, again, start by asking The Single Best Question You Should Ask on Any Interview, as they are starting to talk ask them, "Would be okay if I took them a few notes I want to make a mistakes. Certainly if it's a problem I will do it." Don't be fixated on the note taking process. You need to be fixated not just simply on giving great answers to questions but on connecting with the interviewer as a human being..

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.


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