Notes taking paper during an interview

Taking Notes
New answer on Jun 27, 2021
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 14, 2018

Do interviewers look at these sheets of paper with my notes, structure, etc. after the interview has ended?

I am asking to know if my notes should be clear only for my own understanding or also fot later skimming by the interviewer...

Thanks!

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Andrea
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 15, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

Notes are always collected at the end of the interview for confidentiality purposes. I usually review them in three moments:

  • During the interview itself I frequently glance at the organization of the sheets while the candidate is filling them out
  • Right after the interview when I write a first impression I look at them more closely to see what details were put in the framework that might not have been communicated or to remind myself how well developed the framework was
  • At the end of the day (I fold them together with the resume of the person) I review again to recall the interviewee

So I would say that while notes do not need to be super-clear or always legible, I definitely woudl recommend to have them very well organized so that you come across as professional, structured and disciplined.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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Anonymous replied on Jun 14, 2018

The sheets won't be reviewed by your interviewer - they are only for you.

Your interviewer may ask to keep the notes at the end, but this is just to try limit how much of the case you can share with other people, as firms like to keep the content of their cases confidential for obvious reasons.

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Anonymous B replied on Jun 15, 2018

Hey!

I just sat Round 1 and can give you some advice.

They 100% will collect the interview paper - Whether they look at it, im not too sure but I have a feeling they do glance at it all. It can help provide a reference for their data collection on you and help to clarify their own understanding of your approach.

Make your notes and structure clear - pretend they will read it so make it legible and easy to read -this will help you out ALOT. Personally i go through maybe 7 sheets of paper in a case because i write large and space it out. This means i dont lose numbers or mix things up.

Also try to logically write and draw up tables etc - when i set up my pages the interviewer actually said "where did you learn that? its a great way to do it".

Good luck!

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Danny on Jun 17, 2018

Care to share how you set up your pages?

(edited)

Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Your notes are just for you so the interviewer will not look at them after the interview. BUT

  1. A good habit is to guide the interviewer through your structure by showing the structure on paper. So at least the structure should look clean and clear for the interviewer. Literally, move your pen to the different elements of your structure while presenting. And very often you need to do more than one structure while solving the case.
  2. You need to have clarity with numbers to be successful at calculations.
  3. While providing the final recommendation you need to find all the key numbers quickly, in order to use them in the arguments. Thus you need clarity

All in all - having clear and organized notes have many pros while unclear notes can easily lead to failure.

Best!

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Anonymous replied on Aug 16, 2020

Dear A!

Yes, your notes will be gathered and watched through after the interview. That's important to understand your approach.

Below you can see some general recommendations on how to take notes:

  • Write down all the important information. You can use abbreviations

  • Client name

  • Industry

  • Geography

  • Current situation

  • Goal/objective:

And for your analysis put the name of the area you supposed to analyzed and it structure

  • Name of the first area analyzed

  • Structure for the first area

  • Name of the second area analyzed

  • Structure for the second area

P.S. Scratch paper is there for anything else you need to write out in interviews’ brainstorm ideas, calculations, etc. The purpose of this sheet is to make the other two clear and neat. So you don’t have to worry too much about what you write here on this scratch paper.

Hope it helps,

Best,

André

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Henning
Expert
replied on Jun 27, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

They are collected at the end for confidentiality, but not graded. So don't overthink this.

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Andrea gave the best answer

Andrea

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Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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