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I just got an interview request for a Cancer Charity next week. Since I’m ASD, my memory isn’t the greatest, and when I get anxious or nervous I often forget things I know I should know. I’m making notes on the latest updates the company has listed on their website and I know I’ll never remember everything.

I’m doing this because usually the interviewer asks what you know about the company and I don’t want to be sat there with my mind completely blank and failing miserably to remember anything...

I did say in my application that I had a disability, but I’m not sure if it would be acceptable to have notes on hand to refer to when I get stuck... Any and all advice welcome and appreciated!

  • Especially when interviewing for a charity, demonstrating practical coping skills for a known disability might be an advantage. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 8 '19 at 21:47
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Is it ok to read or refer to notes on the company during an interview?

I say it's fine.

When I go to interviews I always bring some notebook and pen, so I can write down relevant things I hear or see and be able to remember them after the interview. This also makes candidates "look better", as it shows that you are interested in what they say (compared to arrive empty handed to the interview).

I don't see how bringing some notebook to an interview can harm you in any way.

  • 3
    Showing that you know your limitations and have habits to work around them would even be a positive for some employers. – monocell Aug 8 '19 at 21:16
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    And also write down any questions beforehand so you don't forget to ask them at the "Any Questions?" part. You can cross them off the list if they come up organically during the interview. – Justin Aug 9 '19 at 6:42
  • Having notes on the company in a note book also shows you prepared for the interview. – Smock Aug 9 '19 at 14:00
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Many/most people bring a notebook to an interview with them so you can bring copies of resume with you, take notes on what they're saying, and come prepared with answers to common questions. They don't know what's in your notebook and don't need to. Just flip it open and refer to something real quick and then go back to conversation. It will indicate you are prepared and taking the interview seriously. I can't think of any reason at all why having notes would ever be perceived as a bad thing.

  • Just flip it open and refer to something - even better, leave it on the table, opened to a summary page with a few bullet points as reminders about "what you know about the company" and a few important questions jotted down. This way, you don't have to dig through a notebook when asked a question, you can just quickly glance at the page (and then return to making good eye contact). – dwizum Aug 9 '19 at 13:32
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I think it's perfectly fine to refer to notes when you're asked questions about the company or when you're asked if you have any questions. I was actually impressed by a candidate who pulled out prepared questions when I asked them if they had any questions for me. The prepared questions showed that they were motivated and interested in the position. Both big pluses in my book.

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Employers actually like to see that the person has done their research on the company, shows interest in their company and a start to great work ethic with them. They cannot pass you up because of your disability, that could be a law suit. If anything, use it in your favor:

"One of my weaknesses is memory-loss (not sure what your disability is...) so I have learned to write everything down. This not only helps turns my weakness into a positive but also helps for reference in the future if ever needed."

Don't be ashamed! Play with it in your own words and kill the interview ;)

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Yes, it's entirely okay. However, don't be surprised if a company collects your notes from you at the end of the interview, even if you wrote them beforehand.

When conducting interviews, my organization has a policy of collecting any notes used or written during the interview. They are immediately shredded (we don't read them) for the sake of ensuring fairness across interviewees - we don't want specific details of the interview being documented and disseminated.

  • How do you handle candidates with good memories? – Blrfl Aug 9 '19 at 19:15
  • @Blrfl, we ask individuals to not share information about the interview and trust them to do so. We collect paper to avoid accidental information sharing and to remove the temptation to share or sell detailed accounts of interviews. – Jay Aug 9 '19 at 19:53
  • That really doesn't show trust. I've executed lengthy NDAs with companies before interviewing and can't say I've encountered that practice. Without an agreement in place beforehand, an attempt to confiscate notes I brought with me or produced there would be met with my thanks for your time and a departure from your office with my notes in hand. – Blrfl Aug 12 '19 at 12:00

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