Can you take notes into a job interview?

Can you take notes into a job interview?
Can you read from your notes in a job interview?

You’re afraid you are going to draw a blank in your job interview.  It would be great to have a few notes with you – just in case.  You probably won’t even look at them – but it would be nice to know they are there.

Our advice to taking notes into a job interview is NO in almost all cases.  Referring to notes in an interview will create a disconnect between you and the interviewer(s) as you shuffle through your papers looking for your answer. Bad idea.

Are there any exceptions?  Very few

Images of projects
You have worked on projects that can be easily explained and showcased by showing a photo or image  to the interviewers.  We have seen this work well for people working in the creative media industry and also for engineers, builders and architects who are describing projects they have worked on.  Be selective in what you show them.  Pick the best images  and present them professionally in a plastic folder or as a slideshow on an iPad or tablet.   When you are discussing the projects in the interview just mention that you have some images you can show the interviewers and invite them to view them.

Questions to ask the interviewer
You have prepared some questions you want to ask the at the end of the interview.  When they ask you “Do you have any questions for us?”  it is ok to say “Yes I have prepared a few questions I would like to ask – let me just refer to my notes”.  Then you can open your folder – which you have had on your lap on placed on the desk in front of you and read from a neatly typed sheet.  Pulling a bunched up piece of paper with the questions scribbled on it from your pocket or handbag is not a great way to end the interview.

I’ve been told I can bring a copy of my CV and Application Form to the interview
While they may have told you it is ok to bring these to the interview think about how it’s going to look when you have to refer to your CV when you’re asked to tell them about your career to date.  We would advise you not to do this.
Interviewers will expect you to have prepared thoroughly for the interview.  Relying on notes to get you through it will not impress them.

Contact us for advice on how to prepare for your next interview.

For more great advice on how to ace your job interview, check out our YouTube channel