Is it OK to Bring Notes to an Interview?

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February 4, 2020
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min read

Being prepared for your job interview is key. Often times people will run through sample questions to have an idea of what they will say. Some might wonder, is it ok to bring notes to interview appointments?

The simple answer is yes. In addition to bringing copies of your resume, a list of questions or talking points is fine. Below is advice on what notes you can bring to an interview and what you should make sure to memorize before the interview.

What notes can you bring


One of the safest notes you can bring to your job interview is a checklist of prepared questions you want to ask. This shows you have done your homework on the company. Do a quick search on the corporate site for the organization's values and mission statement.

It's appropriate to ask the interviewer about the company's history and plans for the future.  If you have specific questions about the job description, these are also suitable to bring to your interview and refer to.

It's best to wait until later in the interview to bring these up though. Chances are some, if not all, will be addressed during your job interview. 

Copies of your resume

Your resume is something you should always bring to your job interviews. Most of the time the interviewer will have a copy but it's great to be prepared just in case. You can also use a copy of your resume as notes.

Throughout the interview, you will be asked questions about your experience and skill set. Referencing your resume is a great way to make sure you don't leave out a crucial fact or forget something that's worth bringing up.

Notes you should not bring to a job interview

Prepared answers

It's never good advice to bring pre-written answers to your interview questions. Interviewers want your meeting to be a conversation.  You should prepare answers before your interview but don't bring notes of written answers. Practice some common interview questions so that you will feel more prepared during your meeting.

Company information

Before your job interview, spend some time researching the company. You can also search the internet for recent news or press releases. It's great to have a solid understanding of the job and the people that work there. Interviewers might be turned off if you come in with notes or articles on the brand.

Advice on taking notes during a job interview

Bringing a notebook to a job interview is very acceptable.  You should ask the interviewer if its ok if you take notes. If you do take notes, make sure you stay engaged with the people conducting the interview.

You still want to answer each question with a strong response. Try to just take a few notes and keep your focus on the interviewer.

Follow-up interview dates and times are a good thing to write down.  You can also write down the names and titles of other people at the company you may meet.

Before leaving your interview, make sure you have the person's contact information to send a thank you note.  If they don't offer you a business card, write down their details.

The interviewer could ask you to complete a project as a follow-up. If you are applying for a creative job, you may be asked to do an assignment. People in these roles should always bring a notebook to their interviews to jot down answers and things to remember for the next meeting.

Salespeople, in particular, are often asked to give a presentation. If you are presenting it’s understood that you will bring notes to your interview. Otherwise, keep your notes limited to the situations above to make sure that the interviewing manager knows you're one of the best candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of notes are appropriate to bring to a job interview?

It's appropriate to bring notes that include questions for the interviewer, key points about your qualifications, and brief reminders of topics you want to discuss. Ensure your notes are concise and well-organized to avoid looking unprepared or overly reliant on them during the interview.

How should I reference my notes during an interview without seeming disengaged?

Use your notes sparingly and discreetly. Glance down briefly to jog your memory or to ensure you're covering all the points you intended to mention. Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer as much as possible to stay engaged in the conversation.

Can bringing notes to an interview leave a negative impression on the interviewer?

Not if done correctly. Bringing notes can actually show that you are prepared and serious about the position. However, relying too heavily on your notes or reading from them can be perceived negatively. Use them as a reference rather than a script to avoid giving the impression that you're not confident or capable of speaking about your experience and qualifications off the cuff.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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