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Laptop Notes during interviews

case study Notes
New answer on Aug 29, 2023
9 Answers
549 Views
Anonymous A asked on Aug 24, 2023

Hi,

I prepared for case studies using my laptop and I find it faster than writing paper notes. Would you recommend switching to paper notes? Is writing laptop notes a red flag in interviews?

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 25, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

It's absolutely not a red flag. 

However, from my experience, I've noticed paper notes work better.

The advantage to paper notes is that you can be quickly schematic, drawing structures or any other conceptual things in a more visual way. 

This is particularly advantageous in live interviews (since you can show the interviewer your structure), but it's still advantageous in zoom interviews. 

However, at the end of the day, it's about what you GET USED TO and WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU. 

So if you prefer digital notes and you feel no limitations about using them, then go ahead with them during the interview.

Best,
Cristian

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Udayan
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replied on Aug 24, 2023
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Personally I would avoid taking notes on a laptop. Even though that's how we all work in real life, in an interview setting a pen and paper works a lot better

 

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Andi
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replied on Aug 26, 2023
BCG 1st & Final Round interviewer | Personalized prep with >95% success rate | 7yrs coaching | #1 for Experienced Hires

Hi there

interesting question - thanks for sharing.

Note-taking on a laptop in virtual interviews is a bit of a risky endeavour - while many interviewers might not care, some will and this can put your candidacy at risk, as using laptop COULD be interpreted as an attempt to chat. 

Suggest you play safe and use paper notes. No point in exposing yourself. Your interview performance, frankly speaking, should not depend on the medium to take notes.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Andi

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Francesco
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replied on Aug 26, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Would you recommend switching to paper notes? Is writing laptop notes a red flag in interviews?

It seems you are assuming you will have for sure a video interview.

Although it is not per se wrong to take notes on your laptop, I would recommend pen and paper for a few reasons:

  1. You might get some in-person interviews
  2. The interviewer might not understand what you are doing when you take notes on your device

Best,

Francesco

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Paul
Expert
replied on Aug 29, 2023
PL-level BCG experience (6 years)|Interviewer at BCG| 6/6 personal + 95%+ candidates offer success rate

Hi,

personally - I would advise you not with the main rationale that research has demonstrated we absorb more via writing/noting down stuff while listening.

Perhaps not fully relevant or applicable to you but you could “forego” some free additional brainpower.

Hope it helps

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Sophia
Expert
replied on Aug 27, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

I’d just go with what works best for you. But bear in mind that, depending on where you’re interviewing, it’s fairly likely that you’ll do an in-person interview at some point, where you’ll have to use pen and paper.

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Pedro
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replied on Aug 25, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Not sure how you manage multiple windows on screen at the same time - that would be the interviewer video-call + your multiple pages with notes.

I doubt that works that well…But the interviewer is not judging you on your method, but on your performance - you can chose what you want.

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 25, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Do what works best for you.

That said, I'm genuinely surprised if this does work better. Be honest to yourself about what truly works….but, if you genuinely perform better casing via laptop then ok! By the way, you shouldn't be the one judging this…have a peer give you a case and try both approaches/ versions….see what they say about your performance.

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Benjamin
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replied on Aug 24, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Pen and paper has always been the expectation offline pre-covid, and that expectation has been kept the same even in zoom interviews.

I would second what Udayan suggested - also because you never know if you will have to do an in-person interview, and that might throw you off if you are used to taking laptop notes versus paper notes.

All the best!

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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