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Interview notes can be trouble
  • Employers should never write down something that could be construed as discriminatory.
  • Employers should use clothing as safe reminders.

While it is a good idea to take notes during an interview, interviewers should be careful about the type of notes taken. It is best not to write down anything that could be construed as discriminatory, including personal characteristics, such as:

  • Tall Black man
  • Short Asian female
  • Stutterer
  • Older female

These can easily be construed as evidence of discrimination if that individual is not hired or considered for the position. It is also a good idea to avoid any notes that may be construed as biased towards or against someone, such as:

  • Housewife
  • Student
  • Knows the owner

Although the intent in writing these notes may be completely innocent, employers don’t want to have to defend the notes taken, and describe what the thought process was, months or years down the road if the company is sued.

Instead, concentrate on other descriptions such as clothing (green dress, red-and-blue paisley tie), since these are an individual’s temporary features rather than personal characteristics. These types of memory-jogging notes are not only good reminders, but also not likely to get a company in trouble.

Finishing the interview

After the interview, employers should:

  • Thank the candidate and explain when a decision might be reached or, if there are further steps, what the next step will be;
  • Indicate when the applicant can expect to hear from the company;
    • Be sure to follow up as promised, otherwise the organization will lose credibility; and
  • Close each interview by walking applicants out and asking how they felt about the process;
    • Feedback is helpful for refining the interview process, and in turn, they will feel valued.