The Importance of Note Taking in Interviewing

Category: Articles
Posted: 12-05-2010 03:57 AM
Views: 2620
Synopsis:

Note taking is absolutely paramount when conducting an interview. The notes you take will be the only way to verify the facts garnered in the interview. Relying solely on memory will lead to thinking only about impressions. This leads to biases and preconceptions. Whether we realize it or not, everyone has developed biases and even if they are subconscious they can affect the way we view a candidate. Interviewing is more than a gut feeling, it's about finding the best person who has the knowledge, ability and experience to do the job. Note taking is imperative for successful hiring.

Note taking is absolutely paramount when conducting an interview. The notes you take will be the only way to verify the facts garnered in the interview. Relying solely on memory will lead to thinking only about impressions. This leads to biases and preconceptions. Whether we realize it or not, everyone has developed biases and even if they are subconscious they can affect the way we view a candidate. Interviewing is more than a gut feeling, it's about finding the best person who has the knowledge, ability and experience to do the job. Note taking is imperative for successful hiring.

When you conduct an interview, let the candidate know up front that you will be taking notes. If you have planned properly, all of your questions have been prepared and you have a space underneath each question to fill in with notes. Give the candidate plenty of time to answer the questions and make sure that you redirect and clarify when necessary. Your notes will help you with this. Proper preparation and good note taking will help you collect more complete and accurate information.

As you take your notes, be very careful to stick to the facts. Making inferences or judgments will do you no good when you go to review your notes after the interview. Great interviewing is about facts. It's about finding out about past behaviors so that you can predict how the candidate will handle future situations. Objectivity is the key.

When the interview is finished, review your notes immediately. Never do interviews back to back. Allow at least 15-20 minutes between interviews for review. When an interview is finished, it is fresh in your mind and you will be able to effectively and objectively review the information - the more time that goes by, the better the chance that you will use impressions rather than facts in your decision. This review period is also a good time to make sure you received all the information you needed. If you missed something, it can be immediately set up for a future interview or by a phone follow-up.

When you sit down with colleagues later to give your input on the candidate, you will be able to present them with the objective facts. If they also interviewed the candidate or if you did a team interview, it will be easy to compare notes and make an objective decision.

Note taking is imperative in the interviewing process. We simply can't be expected to remember everything said in an interview and if we try our decisions will be at least partially based on gut feelings and biases. Note taking leads to successful and productive interviews and as a result to successful and productive employees.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of hiring and interviewing training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of behavioral interviewing video and DVD programs such as More Than a Gut Feeling.

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