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interviewing

Balancing note taking during an interview

Documenting what is said and occurs during an interview is extremely important. You may need to take notes during the interview and ensure you can substantiate what was said and refer back to your notes when writing reports. Balancing the conversation and note taking can be a difficult task.

At times when you take a note or write something down, you might have an adverse reaction from the subject. Imagine sitting across from somebody, and after you said something, they immediately took a note or wrote something down. That might prevent you from saying anything further, or it might make you feel like you said something wrong.

If you are going to take notes during the interview it is best to allow the subject know ahead of time. Let them know that although you will be taking notes, that don’t mean they said anything wrong, and it doesn’t mean that they said anything of particular importance. The only reason you’re taking notes is to make sure you don’t misinterpret or misremember anything that was said during the conversation.

Notes are extremely important, but they can also be a reason and cause of resistance, non-cooperation or even denials. So if you plan to take notes, make sure you do it in the right way.

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