To take notes, or not to take notes: that is the question. Many job seekers might have been wondering about what to do about note-taking during job interviews. On the one hand, you want to write down important items that come up during the conversation. On the other hand, you don’t want to seem inattentive and distracted, or miss out on other important things your interviewer said while you’re busy writing down her last sentence.
The pros of taking notes during interviews include:
- Show that you’re paying attention.
- You won’t forget important details about this job. It doesn’t make a good impression if you have to ask the potential employer the same questions repeatedly.
- Your follow-up will be more powerful when you refer to discussion from your interview.
But note taking can be overdone. When that happens, here are the cons:
- Fail to make personal connection. If you’re absorbed in writing everything down, you look at your notebook more than the interviewer.
- You can’t fully listen when you’re writing. You might miss out more important things that are being said or a question the interviewer asks.
- You might seem too detail-oriented.
When you can reach a good balance, note taking during interviews can be a very good practice for job seekers. Keep the following suggestions in mind so you get all the benefits for your note taking and avoid the potential negatives:
- Prepare yourself before the interview. Check out the Jobfully blog posts on defining yourself and pre-interview preparation.
- Avoid seeming distracted by your notes by coming to the interview with possible questions already written down. This makes you appear more prepared and reduces the amount of items you need to take note of.
- If you’re writing everything down, it probably means you don’t know how to correctly take notes. Write down only important facts. Make sure you are actively listening, making eye contact, and contributing to the discussion.
- Finally, put those notes to good use! Make sure you follow up and reflect on your interview to really impress your interviewer.