Monday, April 5, 2010

Can I record my job interview?

I’m looking for a job change and have been interviewing with select employers. I’ve noticed that most interview processes start with a phone-interview. The interviewer is either the hiring manager or a person from the technical panel. I want to know if I can record phone interviews. I’m interested in working on the questions asked in the interviews, since it will help me prepare for future interviews.


Well, must say, this is an interesting question. While you’ve got a valid reason to record phone interviews, to start with, you will need the consent of the interviewer.

Getting consent is very tricky since there are dependencies attached to it. First, the Company/interviewer will need to address the legalities involved in giving consent. Read: Potential lawsuits. Second, far too many interviewers aren’t trained at taking interviews and might end up saying or committing to things that aren’t in their control. They might fear you’ll hold them responsible for it at a later stage.

Let’s assume you do get consent, I suspect there’s a high possibility that the interviewer might show restraint in sharing information around confidential data, career growth, details around compensation, etc. On the other hand, nothing stops you from pressing the record button on the phone, as long as you are using it ONLY for your own purpose and you don’t hold the Company/interviewer responsible for anything committed in the discussion. I would suggest you don’t do that and instead take notes.

That prompts me to ask: What is stopping you from taking notes during an interview?

If you do take notes, you can write back to the interviewer, sharing your understanding of the role and responsibilities required for the job. If there really is a technical question that you need help with getting answers, here’s an approach that might work in your favor. Write down the question during the interview. Once you’re done with the interview, search for answers (online, books, peers, friends, etc.). Mail the interviewer with answers to the question that you weren’t to answer in the interview. In my experience, good interviewers for mighty impressed with candidates that follow this approach. It tells them three things. One, you are keen about the role. Two, you've demostrated your keenness by getting back to them with solutions. Three, you are receptive to feedback. It's a combination that interviewers look for and will help you stand out among many applicants.

Good luck!