Each week, TopResume's career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions like the one below from Quora and the Ask Amanda form. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: Is it alright to bring notes with me to a job interview?
“Is it acceptable to bring notes into an interview?” — Mike S.
Yes and no. It is 100 percent acceptable to bring notes to a job interview if those notes contain a list of questions you've prepared in advance to ask your interviewers. In fact, bringing this type of information to an interview demonstrates to the recruiter your genuine interest in the job opportunity. Also, if you've done some research on the organization, I don't think it's wrong to have that information on hand, in case you'd like to reference it during your discussion.
However, it is not a good idea to bring notes on how you plan to respond to certain interview questions. For instance, if you've prepared short stories using the STAR method in anticipation of a behavioral-based interview, you can't bring your talking points with you. The same goes for any bullets you may have brainstormed to answer the interview questions that make nervous, such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why were you fired from your last job?” — while it's perfectly acceptable to write out talking points when you're practicing for an interview, it is not appropriate to bring those notes to the actual interview.
If you'd like to take notes during the interview, ask your interviewer if he or she minds before you break out the notebook or iPad. Again, jotting down a few notes during the interview will not only help you decide if the job opportunity is right for you, but it will also show the hiring manager that you care about the position and are taking the interview process seriously. Whatever you do, make sure you write down each interviewer's name and email address so you can send a proper thank-you note afterward.
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