Documenting the Interview
One benefit of active listening is that interviewers can take notes while the applicant is talking without losing track of what’s being said. Thanks to thought speed, you can write down key words and ideas during the interview, then, immediately after, develop your notes more fully. Doing this right away will ensure that you retain important facts.
Some interviewers believe that note taking will offend applicants or make them uneasy. If you feel this way, tell the applicant at the beginning of the interview that you’ll be taking some notes to make certain you have sufficient information upon which to base an effective evaluation. Most applicants actually prefer that you take notes. After all, there are usually a number of applicants competing for one job; how can the interviewer differentiate among all the applicants without notes? In fact, not taking notes could convey a lack of interest on the part of the interviewer.
Interview notes are a permanent record and should be written with care. Most interviewers favor a separate interview evaluation form over a blank piece of paper. There are numerous variations as to the categories that should appear on an evaluation form and the terminology used to evaluate competencies and the applicant overall. Appendix G represents a basic format that distinguishes between essential tangible requirements, job-related intangible requirements, and additional desirable qualities. Significantly, the form calls for comments about the applicant’s qualifications in relation to each requirement. In addition, interviewers are asked to support their overall evaluation of “strong,” “average,” or “weak” with specific examples drawn from the interview. The form also excludes numerical ratings for each qualification, as well as preset tangible and intangible competencies, recognizing that each job calls for a specific skill set. The form also steers clear of highly subjective terms such as “personality” and “appearance.” If these traits can be shown to be jobrelated, the interviewer can add them under the heading “Job-Related Intangible Requirements.”
Interviewers are cautioned against writing directly on the employment applica-