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Thread: Taking notes during interview?

  1. #1
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    Default Taking notes during interview?

    I'm having a second (first sit down/face to face) interview tomorrow. It's ok to bring along a nice leather portfolio/padfolio to jot down notes/questions right? I won't be in it constantly of course. If it matters, the job is for a software developer position.

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    I think it is perfectly ok to jot down notes during an interview as long as it isn't excessive. I have also written down a few questions or notes to jog my memory when it came time for me to ask questions.
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iakona View Post
    I'm having a second (first sit down/face to face) interview tomorrow. It's ok to bring along a nice leather portfolio/padfolio to jot down notes/questions right? I won't be in it constantly of course. If it matters, the job is for a software developer position.
    As an HR Director, I can tell you this is perfectly acceptable. Just don't take notes to the point it looks like you're taking dictation and definitely do not cause the interview to pause while you write.

    As a tip, if you start to write a note after someone tells you something, nod in the affirmative as you start to write. It presents a positive image of what you are doing. It is a non-verbal positive acknowledgement.
    Tim G.

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    Never heard of anyone doing this, but as long as it is not excessive, I don't see why not.
    <Ray>Uncle of Chaos Gurl, Captain Excitement and Little Biscuit.

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    I've been in the personnel selection business a long time; my SO is an HR director - we agree that the candidate's note-taking is acceptable (and SO reminds me that she always takes notes when being interviewed). You don't want to miss any points that you are expected to respond to - jotting notes around any questions you are asked will help that (yes, definitely - you don't want to appear to be taking dictation!); also - you may be asking questions of the interview panel (might'n't you?) - you'll want to remember their responses.

    The panel had better be taking notes, too!

    Good luck!

    Be sure to tell them about your rockin' razor & soap collection...!


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    make sure you're a "shoe in" before gettin fancy..IMOO

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    I have always brought a portfolio into interviews. I have prewritten questions as well as extra resumes.
    -Kyle

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    I've always brought a leather padfolio to job interviews. I keep several extra copies of my resumé in the folder section in case anyone in the interview doesn't have one, and usually have a few questions written out (or at least a shorthand notation of something I want to ask). Some interviews I have actually taken notes, particularly when the interviewer is giving me very specific information I want to keep track of. Other interviews I have it there but don't actually write anything down. Another thing I have done is to write down the names of the interviewers if there are 4 or 5 of them and we don't exchange business cards first. I'm not great with names, and that lets me keep track for the purposes of the interview itself and so that I can send out thank you cards afterwards.

    I agree with the above advice about not looking like you are taking dictation and nodding and saying something like "Oh, okay," "Alright," or even "Uh huh." Make it clear that you are listening and find what the interviewer is saying important enough to write down.
    -Luke

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwk285 View Post
    I have always brought a portfolio into interviews. I have prewritten questions as well as extra resumes.
    good ideas, both.

    do you talk about wet-shaving?
    JON
    "It's not a game, but we know how to play it."

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    I have done this. I think it is OK as long as your quick notes or dot points don't become essays.
    Rocco

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tg16 View Post
    As a tip, if you start to write a note after someone tells you something, nod in the affirmative as you start to write. It presents a positive image of what you are doing. It is a non-verbal positive acknowledgement.
    Very good advice. I once interviewed a teacher who did not do this and it was really quite aggravating. He would sort of look at me suspiciously and then furiously scribble in his notebook. It sort of began to feel like somehow I was the one being interviewed. Not a good look at all. When you nod before you write it's basically saying to the interviewer, "What you have just said is important so I'm going to write it down." There is no mystery as to what you are writing that could possibly put an interviewer off.
    Last edited by thunderball; 01-06-2010 at 04:07 PM.
    - Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by bythbook View Post
    good ideas, both.

    do you talk about wet-shaving?
    Depends if you want the job.
    -Kyle

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    A word of advice of someone who hires and fires exec's. It is perfectly OK to write down notes but I've have new grads this last go around hiring another person for my team and she was writing down everything. I like the idea and I did take notes on my interview many moons ago but first: ask the interviewer if you may take notes. In some corporations everything is considered confidential and folks get a funny feeling. Second, only write information that you have to remember. Dates is about as much as I would tolerate.

    I interviewed our CFO and he was perfect and didn't pull out his Franklin Covey until the end when we went over the next phase to meet with CEO and HR. He then asked if he may write the information down and pulled it out of a "man bag" and wrote the pertinent information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by azmark View Post
    Ssk the interviewer if you may take notes. In some corporations everything is considered confidential and folks get a funny feeling.
    That's excellent advice. All along I thought my note-taking would be appreciated as a sign of interest in the person and the job; never thought of it as being thought as intelligence gathering.

    Jeff in Boston

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    Thanks for all the responses everyone, I really appreciate it. I don't think that anything will come up as intelligence gathering, but I'll definitely keep that in mind.

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    When I've interviewed during the past 20 years, I've taken a preprinted list of thoughtful questions that I want to ask them and taken copious notes in return, including the names and title of everyone that I've met with.

    Never fails to impress.

  17. #17
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    Whether interviewing or being interviewed I always take a few notes. I was interviewed by a 9 person panel at one job and the first thing I did was get all those names written down so I could remember who was who.

    I never write anything that might be considered sensitive. It is mostly so that if I don't know how to answer a technical question during a first interview that I'll be damn sure to have the correct answer if I'm invited in for a second go-round. This has served me very very well in the past.
    The winter boys... drinking heavy water from a stone.

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    I took notes in the last 2nd interview I had. Now I'm headed to South Carolina to start a new job!
    -Adam

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bythbook View Post
    good ideas, both.

    do you talk about wet-shaving?
    Yes, we do and along with that, we do a skills test and have the applicant build some lather with MWF.
    Tim G.

  20. #20
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    I have a mind like a steel sieve, so I bring a notebook just about everywhere I go. Heck, I take notes in casual conversations with my wife and it's saved my bacon more than once. Just kidding on that one, but I do take a notebook just about everywhere else.

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