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16. The best note-taking system for an interview or client meeting

February 8, 2021

Taking notes during an interview or client meeting is essential. Today, I share my system for the best way to take notes that ensures you have the most important information readily available and that you minimize distractions, so you can focus on wowing the person in front of you. 

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First, you have to prepare your knowledge. Do your research on the person you’re meeting with, the company, and the industry. Then, reflect on your knowledge of yourself! What is important to you? What makes you unique? Your next step is to find the overlap. What of the company’s values, mission, etc. resonates with you? Why are you excited to join this team? How can you tailor the experiences you’d like to share to match with this company? 

Check out these exercises to discover your Core Values and create a Behavioral Interview Matrix

Next, prep your paper for notes. The majority of this should be done before you ever begin the meeting or interview!

Across the top, list the name of the person you’re meeting with, the company name, and the role name, if applicable. 

For the rest of the paper, split into two columns.

On the left column, write some specific information or topics about yourself, your experiences, etc. that you want to bring up. Use the rest of this column to take notes of important items during the discussion. 

On the right column, prepare some questions to ask based on your research. As the conversation progresses, you can add questions you’d like to ask in this column so that they are easily found (aka not buried in your other notes) when the person inevitably asks “So, what can I answer for you?” 

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