Monday, February 14, 2011

The Benefits of Taking Notes in Interviews

Any job you apply for will involve good listening skills. You have the opportunity to demonstrate that skill in the interview process. Like most everything else, however, good listening skills just don't happen; they take work. Active listening requires that the listener receive both the speaker's spoken and unspoken message -- which can be a difficult task. Too often the listener is so busy preparing a mental response to what the speaker is saying that he or she ignores much of the speaker's message, resulting in a less-than-perfect response. If you want to be an effective communicator, especially in the job interview process, you need to develop your active listening skills, one of which is taking notes.

Taking notes while you listen is another strategy for becoming a better listener. Doing so when you are in an interview has several benefits:

  • Taking notes in an interview gives the interviewer a non-verbal message that you are serious and that you value what he or she is communicating.
  • Having these notes helps you raise significant questions when the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions?"
  • Having these notes helps you with your follow-up communications because you can refer to specific comments or topics covered in the interview. The more specific and customized your thank-you follow-up is, the greater the chance it will make a favorable impression on the interviewer.

For more tips on interviewing, see CliffsNotes Delivering A Winning Job Interview, by Mercedes Baily, published by Hungry Minds, Inc.

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