Can you bring notes to an interview? The answer to this question is both yes and no.
What will I learn?
Notes can be beneficial in an interview. They provide you with a way to keep track of the conversation. However, notes can also distract, mainly if they are not used wisely.
Why Bring Notes To An Interview
Now let’s start with why it is okay to bring the notes into the interview.
1. Helps You Stay Focused:
If you are easily distracted, notes can help you stay focused on the conversation. This is especially true if you are nervous.
The last thing you want to do is forget what the interviewer asked you or misunderstand their question.
Therefore, it is wise to bring notes to the interview and keep jotting things down.
When you feel like you are not paying attention, take a glance at your notes to help you focus.
2. Avoid Awkward Pauses:
No one likes awkward pauses in conversation. If you need a minute to think about your answer, it is perfectly okay to take a glance at your notes.
This will help keep the flow of conversation going smoothly.
Moreover, when your interviewer takes a short break, you don’t want to look at the walls.
It will make it weirder when your interviewer thinks the interview is boring for you.
3. Help Remember Important Details:
After the interview, your brain may be concerned by all the talking (or nerves).
Notes can help you remember important details about the interview.
You might be able to recognize the main points, but the more minor details could easily slip your mind.
But remember to make bullet points to make the noting quick and effective. It will take a shorter time to take notes. Only mention the keywords.
4. You Come Off As A Focused Person:
Let’s face it. If you can organize your thoughts and take intelligent notes, you will come off as a focused person.
This is a good thing! Your interviewer wants to know that you can carry on a conversation and keep track of essential details.
Your interviewer might like this aspect of your personality. It can be a booster for you while competing with other candidates.
5. Use Them As A Resource:
Your notes can be a great resource to use after the interview.
If there are any questions you didn’t have time to ask, you can refer to your notes and shoot them an email.
This will show that you were paying attention actively.
It increases your chances of getting their attention while selecting candidates. A good option indeed.
Why Not Bring Notes To An Interview
While there are many good reasons for bringing notes to the interview, there are some cons.
Below are reasons why you might not want to get messages into the discussion:
1. It May Distract You:
If you are constantly looking at your notes, it will be distracting. Not just for you but the interviewer as well.
Instead of making eye contact and engaging in conversation, you will be looking down at your paper.
This is a surefire way to make a wrong impression. Moreover, it will also make it challenging to build a rapport with the interviewer.
2. You May Appear Nervous:
If you fidget with your paper and constantly refer to your notes, you will look nervous.
This is not the image you want to project in an interview. You want to appear confident, calm and collected.
Notes can give off the impression that you are not prepared or unsure of yourself.
Thus even when you are coming off as focused, you can look nervous. An important aspect to think of.
3. You May Appear Unprepared:
If you rely too heavily on your notes, you may be unready for the interview. After all, you should know the basics about the company and position.
Your interviewer will not be impressed if you have to refer to your notes to answer basic questions.
This will make it seem like you did not do your research or are not genuinely interested in it. Not good from any angle.
4. You May Miss Important Conversation:
If you are too focused on reading your notes, you may miss the meaningful conversation.
This is a waste of an opportunity to get to know your interviewer and learn more about the company.
You might hear something important that you would have missed if you were looking at your paper.
5. It May Be Awkward:
Taking notes during an interview can be awkward. You don’t want to sit there in silence, scribbling away while the interviewer talks.
This will make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and may even be rude.
The last thing you want is to make the interviewer feel like they are being interrogated.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to taking notes during an interview. It is up to you to decide whether or not it is something you want to do.
If you choose to take notes, be sure to do so discreetly and without disrupting the flow of conversation.
Ultimately, the decision is yours. You should do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Bringing Notes To A Zoom Interview
Now let’s get to online interviews and whether it is okay to bring notes to that:
1. Yes, But:
Yes, you can bring notes to a Zoom interview. But there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, the interviewer will be able to see your messages. So if you’re trying to hide something, it’s not going to work.
Second, it might be awkward to fumble through your notes during the interview. So it’s best to only refer to them if necessary.
Thirdly, a zoom interview is effective if you look into the camera, making eye contact.
Thus, if you’re looking down at your notes, you might seem disinterested.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of reading directly from your notes. This will make you seem unprepared.
2. It Depends:
As with most things in life, it depends. If you have a lot of experience in the field, you might not need notes.
But if you’re a recent graduate or don’t have a lot of experience, then notes might be helpful.
It depends on your comfort level and the situation.
3. Only If You Need Them:
If you’re unsure whether to bring notes, err on the side of caution and don’t bring them.
You can always ask for a break if you need to refer to something. But if you don’t need them, there’s no need to bring them.
It will save you from the awkwardness of fumbling through them during the interview.
Tips To Write Effective, Quick, And Short Notes
If you decide to take notes during the interview, here are some tips for writing quick, and short ones:
1. Use Keywords Or Phrases:
Instead of writing out complete sentences, use keywords or phrases.
This will help you save time and ensure that you capture essential information. For instance:
If the interviewer discusses the company’s history, write down “established in XYZ year.”
Don’t try to write everything down verbatim. This will only slow you down and make it difficult to focus on the conversation.
Instead, simplify and summarize what is being said. For instance:
If the interviewer discusses the job duties, you might write down “duties include XYZ.”
3. Be Selective:
You don’t have to write down everything. Be selective and choose only the most essential information.
This will help you stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed. For instance:
If the interviewer discusses the company’s culture, write down “friendly environment”.
Or “emphasis on teamwork.” Don’t write complete sentences to the interviewer.
4. Be Concise:
Keep your notes short and to the point. This will help you save time and ensure that you capture the most crucial information.
If the interviewer discusses the company’s benefits, write down “health insurance” or “401k.”
5. Organize Your Notes:
Once the interview is over, take a few minutes to organize your notes.
This will help you remember what they discussed and make it easier to review later.
For instance, you might want to create a list of the topics covered or put your notes in chronological order.
6. Review Your Notes:
After the interview, be sure to review your notes. This will help you remember what they discussed and give you a chance to reflect on the conversation.
If you have any questions, follow up with the interviewer.
What Other Things To Bring To The Interview?
In addition to your notes, you should bring a few other things to the interview. These include:
1. A Copy Of Your Resume:
Be sure to bring a copy of your resume to the interview. This will allow the interviewer to see your qualifications and work history.
It is also a good idea to have a copy for yourself if the interviewer asks you any questions about your experience.
2. A List Of Questions:
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. This will show that you are interested in the position and company.
It is also a good idea to write these questions down, so you don’t forget to ask them.
But do not ask questions that can be easily looked up online.
3. A Notepad And Pen:
You will need a notepad and pen to take notes during the interview. Be sure to bring these with you, so you are ready.
Do not bring an ink pen, though. It can leak and make a mess.
Try to get a small notepad, not a bigger one. A big one can be intrusive.
4. A Portfolio Or Samples:
If you are a creative professional, such as a writer or designer, bring a portfolio or samples of your work.
This will give the interviewer a chance to see your skills and experience.
It will be a great way to impress your interviewer and stand out from the other candidates.
5. Your ID And Social Security Card:
Be sure to bring your ID and social security card to the interview. The interviewer might need to see these for the job application.
Some interviewers are very keen to get these from you so they can do a background check. So don’t forget to bring them with you.
6. A Professional Attitude:
The most important thing to bring to the interview is a positive and professional attitude. Remember, first impressions matter.
So make sure you smile and exude confidence. Be friendly and engaging, but not overly so.
And be sure to show interest in the position and company.
7. A Well-Dressed Personality:
Your appearance also matters. So be sure to dress for the job you want.
This means dressing professionally and looking your best. Consider the company’s culture when deciding what to wear.
For instance, if it’s a more casual environment, you might not need to wear a suit.
But if it’s a formal environment, you’ll want to dress more conservatively.
8. Good Hygiene:
In addition to your clothes, be sure to practice good hygiene. This means showering, brushing your teeth, and doing your hair.
You want to make a good impression, so you don’t want to smell bad or look disheveled.
Otherwise, your interviewer might not take you seriously.
Finally, be sure to arrive on time for your interview. This means being there 10-15 minutes early.
This will show that you are punctual and interested in the position. It will also allow you to calm your nerves and review your notes.
Showing up late will make a wrong impression and might even cost you the job. So plan and give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Bringing notes to an interview is both good and bad. Now you get to decide if it is something you should do.
Remember, if you do choose to bring notes, make sure they are professional and concise.
You don’t want to overwhelm the interviewer or appear unprepared.
So use your best judgment, and follow up with any questions you might have. Good luck!
Last Updated on 12 months by Shahzaib Arshad
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