Is It OK To Take Notes During The Interview? (VIDEO)


You want to remember what you told but is it okay to take notes? That’s what I answer in this video.

Summary

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.

 

Do you really think employers are trying to help you?

You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a leadership and career coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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4 thoughts on “Is It OK To Take Notes During The Interview? (VIDEO)

  1. I always make notes, I always carry a bottle of water with me and I never
    ask if “it’s ok”. I would rate the interviewer as a failure if they are not
    taking notes, and if they don’t have a copy of my portfolio in front of
    them then it’s been a waste of both our time. Any interview should follow
    the plot of past, present, and future, with the job they are selling you on
    as the future. That’s right – they are selling you on the job, not the
    other way around.

  2. I always make notes, I always carry a bottle of water with me and I never ask if “it’s ok”. I would rate the interviewer as a failure if they are not taking notes, and if they don’t have a copy of my portfolio in front of them then it’s been a waste of both our time. Any interview should follow the plot of past, present, and future, with the job they are selling you on as the future. That’s right – they are selling you on the job, not the other way around.

  3. Maurice, I think it depends on the interviewer. The president of a large Manpower franchise (Phil Blair, the author of the book “Job Won”)  has an interview on YouTube. From 14:50-15:39, he said that he likes it when job candidates take notes. He said that it is a sign of respect and it shows that the candidate is taking the situation seriously. Personally,   I’m in my mid 40’s and I’ve never taken notes during an interview until last week. The hiring manager was saying a lot of interesting things that I didn’t want to forget. I did NOT write down every word she said, just the highlights. She didn’t seem to mind, but perhaps she did, because I haven’t heard anything back yet. Like I said on one of Jeff’s other videos; there is sooooo much tip-toeing around in this process. I wish the hiring process would go back to being about our qualifications and not how good we are at being one of the cool kids.  When I’m being interrogated and judged during my job interviews, I feel like saying, … _”Your ad says that you need a receptionist. I’ve been one for 17 years. Do you want my help or not?!?!”_  LOL!!! Of course, I would not do that, but it would feel good to say it at least once. 🙂

  4. It would be an immediate walk off the lot if that was a commendable trait. I interview them as much as they do me. Limp handshakes are a huge red flag that conveys indifference, and in several cases was the antidote I needed.
    Nowadays the job interviews can be split by whether the hiring is done by job fit or cultural fit. I excel in job fit interviews but cultural fit until recently required massive investment of time and some companies with low turnover just didn’t have a visibility online.
    Last but not least, the not having your resume in hand interview is doomed from the start and I just cringe. You mailed it, you went through the ATS, HR has a copy and now you can’t be bothered? Epic fail

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