Typing words per minute for consulting job? No notes taken on paper!!!
May 19, 2021 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I had a strange job interview yesterday. The position was for an organizational development and change consultant role. It's a fairly high-skilled job, requiring an advanced degree, working with the C-suite and companies larger than 1000 employees. The interviewer/owner wanted to know how many words per minute I typed. I have no idea. Why would I? I take meeting notes in my notebook by hand. She doesn't like that. It's too inefficient to later transfer handwritten notes to an electronic system. Is this a real thing for high-skilled professionals? No paper notes?

The interview was fine overall. I'm not complaining or anything. This just left me curious.

It's pretty well established that writing things down improves memory retention over typing. Typing is loud and distracting. Best practices are to write a follow-up email for the client summarizing the meeting and action items. I suppose you could copy and paste electronic notes into an email. I feel there are so many benefits from handwritten notes. A computer might crash or batteries might die when you need notes. In some contexts, it's just easier to refer to and work from a notebook.

This seems pretty quirky and awfully specific This is not an administrative role requiring large amounts of rapid and efficient typing. Has anybody heard of this before? No handwritten client meeting notes!

Other stories about weird job skills prerequisites stories like this are welcome.

* TANGENTIAL - There were a few other unusual things, but I found the typing particularly odd. I don't think it's a great fit in the end. She told me they didn't use psychometric assessments for hiring or promotion because they are not legal for that. That's incorrect, but when I asked about the next steps she said she would be sending me a psychometric assessment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Che boludo! to Work & Money (50 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In this world where so many methodologies are on computer, it doesn't seem that bizarre to me that your typing speed was asked after. It's not difficult to determine.

It may be also a situation where your interviewer was not fully understanding of the job position. People who work in Human Resources are not immune from being flaky or making mistakes.

If this was a pre-interview/first-of-many-interviews prior to you speaking to someone higher-up in the firm, they may have been going through a screening/general set of information-gathering prior to you talking to people higher on the food chain that would be more applicable to your specific occupation. And it's possible that said person worked off "the wrong list," so to speak, of prerequisites. The bit about psychometrics might reinforce that possibility.

That would be my guess. It's not a question that entirely is answerable, IMO.
posted by metabaroque at 1:51 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

I assume you would know if you were not being interviewed for the job to which you applied, and that you know how to google "online typing speed test", so I will just say: No, I have never heard of that, with the exception of meetings for which notes are not allowed. Which is a whole other thing.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:55 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

No this is weird and they're weird for caring about that
posted by windbox at 1:56 PM on May 19 [21 favorites]

Response by poster: She was the owner and not a recruiter or screener. It was her policy and she had some conviction behind her policy.
posted by Che boludo! at 1:57 PM on May 19

That's the sound of a micromanager if I ever heard one.
posted by bleep at 1:58 PM on May 19 [85 favorites]

To someone of a different generation, typing speed could be used as a very inaccurate/obsolete metric of computer ability.

It sounds like you've met an owner trying to defend a statement not really grounded in reality. When you hire a high-level professional, you generally don't give them directions on how to take notes or any day-to-day tasks.
posted by meowzilla at 1:58 PM on May 19 [8 favorites]

My whole career is in similar consulting companies, some that size or larger. I have never heard of this for a high-skill role that touches C-suite and similar stakeholders. A partner/owner/executive caring at all about your personal system for note-taking is, to me, a big red flag. I mean, I don't see how it's relevant for any position not centered on data entry to care about WPM typing, but for a supposedly strategic executive to take the time to form and express that opinion about a candidate screams "micro management" at the top of its lungs.

I have never heard of this and would bail in an instant. (I might feel otherwise if the person being odd was just some random interviewer not in my chain of command; from an owner, it would basically shred any confidence I'd have in the sound judgement of their leadership.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:59 PM on May 19 [20 favorites]

I worked at a job last summer where we were forbidden to have paper or writing implements on our desks, or bring our cell phones out before we were off premises or in the break room. Any notes we needed to make had to be made with a sticky note program loaded on our computers. This was due to the contract with our customers, to ensure that we could not take any notes home, and that they always knew exactly what we were writing down. Any notes we made were the legal property of the customer.

Actually nobody cared what we did or what we wrote. The requirement was so our customer could not be sued for breach of personal data by their customers.
posted by Jane the Brown at 2:06 PM on May 19 [5 favorites]

I could see someone of a certain age thinking that typing speed was an important metric. When I was temping in the 90s, that was one of the first questions I'd be asked about when I signed up with a new agency.

Banning handwritten notes however, is weird.
posted by Candleman at 2:12 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

My org doesn't forbid manual notetaking, but it would generally considered an inefficiency and a weak link. Whoever's taking notes is assumed to have raw notes they can share immediately after a meeting, maybe not to everyone but to the meeting-runner or similar, even if cleaned-up notes would be sent out a bit later. We're also super big on redundancy - I think this is the general culture but may have gotten stronger under covid - that anything one person works on should be shared to the team from the start and instantly hand-off-able to someone else in case you have to disappear for a while. (It should be noted we are a fully-remote company and always have been, hence some of this culture. Nobody can get to my laptop right away if I get hit by a bus, I don't have any other coworkers in this part of the state.) The general information-management and decision-making processes at this company are really swift, I can see that kind of notetaking culture happening in that environment.

We have also just really escalated our cybersecurity policies in a way that I suspect there will eventually be a policy statement about what kind of information can be in hand-written notes and possibly there might be a client-by-client policy in some cases where everything has to be electronic and on company property and nothing else is an option. More and more of our clients are asking for various nondisclosures and data privacy assurances (one of whom just asked us for documentation that ExtremelyLargeTechServicesCompany related to the project keeps secure backups and everyone was just like welp, who do we even ask about this) and I can see written notes being an uncomfortable gray area to some of those kinds of clients.

I think my employer would do a much better job of communicating that to prospective hires instead of being weird about it, I hope.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:13 PM on May 19 [15 favorites]

I have been asked my WPM for senior-level consultative jobs before. It's usually somebody really old school who still values that number on their own resume and wants their hires to measure up to them in some intangible way that you can never guess.

Any time I am asked about something that doesn't impact the high-level work I do but is more of a preference of how to do it and the discretion of the person doing the work, I tend to say something like, "I haven't really tested it since I've been working on computers my entire career, but I've never had an employer or client complain that my notes or the speed at which I take them were deficient in any way." Or, "I don't know XYZ specific software for data visualization, but I have never had any complaints about the way I communicate data sets, either from internal or external clients."
posted by juniperesque at 2:36 PM on May 19 [10 favorites]

Huh. I'm an old, and I type blazing fast without ever having to look at the keyboard. And also I prefer to take handwritten notes, which I'm very efficient at. This would annoy the hell out of me.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:46 PM on May 19 [8 favorites]

I am an electronic note taker but broke down sobbing yesterday because OneNote didn't sync meeting notes from a meeting I was in Monday and they were just completely gone, and I have shit memory (hence the notes!). The idea that someone would force me to type notes given how unreliable systems can be is crazy! Require that detailed client notes be kept/transferred into a central system? Sure. But my own PERSONAL notes? GTFO.
posted by misskaz at 2:47 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

This is weird, she is weird, next time lie and say 60 WPM. Full disclosure: I was asked this at my first office job and said, "It's been a while, but I used to be around 60." Got the job, spent a weekend with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (I'd never typed), have always typed fast/well enough to do the job in a timely fashion.
posted by cyndigo at 2:50 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

Is this a real thing for high-skilled professionals? No paper notes?

There are reasons to prefer paper notes sometimes, but I second all the things Lyn Never said. Also -- if a candidate told me what you said in your question, especially the part about a computer might crash or batteries might die when you need notes then, assuming we're talking about notes taken in the course of normal office work and not fieldwork in a remote location, as an employer I would worry that the interviewee might be afraid of technology and not interested in embracing present-day best practices. This would be a concern when hiring for many roles, but especially consulting on change management.
posted by phoenixy at 2:54 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

My org doesn't forbid manual notetaking, but it would generally considered an inefficiency and a weak link.

The company I work for is very similar. People certainly take a lot of notes on paper for their own reference, but a new hire responsible for meeting minutes who used paper would probably end up in a discussion with their manager asking why they're doing things twice. In this case, it's because minutes are going to be almost exclusively a recording of decisions made and next steps rather than a true log of discussion points. These things would be recorded for posterity and accountability, and not so much for someone to remember or things that need to be summarized like you mention. They just need to be sent out in an email or saved to a wiki, no real clean up or organizing needed.

(All that to say, tracking your own notes or responsibilities from a meeting would be totally fine on paper if people weren't waiting on that list)

We're also so technology driven that if someone didn't trust their computer or computer battery to work in a meeting, we'd be pulling out the credit card and purchasing something new that would be reliable. And probably heads would be rolling over why you were given an unreliable computer in the first place. We don't expect people to solve those sorts of problems on their own, but do expect people to raise concerns so that they have the tools and support they need.

On the other hand, I'm sure no one here knows their typing speed.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:54 PM on May 19 [9 favorites]

It should be noted we are a fully-remote company and always have been, hence some of this culture.

Rereading Lyn Never's comment, I should mention that this kind of applies to us as well. We're fully remote in spirit and even though we have a few office locations, there are often employees remote from these areas.

Because of this attitude we often work with clients without ever meeting them in person. Any chance that this is how the company you interview at functions?

We do try to communicate all that up front to people interviewing so that they know the contexts we're working from because it can really impact how we use technology.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:01 PM on May 19

FWIW, I changed jobs this spring. I work as a software developer at a pretty standard software-development job. Part of the interview process was a typing-speed test. I thought it was strange but shrugged and went with it. The job has had no special need for fast typing or rules against paper notes; it's an older company and I suspect it's just been part of their 'computer-aptitude' test forever.
posted by Hatashran at 3:09 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Not that weird if it's a company where multiple people access a shared notes doc that gets updated in real time. On my team, those notes are shared via Zoom while we discuss.
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:09 PM on May 19 [5 favorites]

Asking someone how many words per minute they type for this type of job is odd, unless it’s some sort of ageist thing where they might be wondering if an older candidate is familiar with keyboards?

But as for not writing meeting notes by hand, that is the expectation at many places I’ve worked. Meeting notes are taken as the meeting is taking place and are shared across all attendees so they can edit and add. This is expected behavior at all levels - from interns to C-suite, and at any time, anyone in the meeting could be asked to take notes. Side notes to yourself as reminders can be written by hand, however.
posted by umwhat at 3:30 PM on May 19

I work in a similar consulting role and second Lyn Never’s comment. We don’t ask about it in interviews, but meeting and workshop notes are important documents that must be shareable with out team, and it’s been challenging when people take hand-written notes, planning to eventually type them up. It’s never as fast and rarely as thorough.
posted by third word on a random page at 3:32 PM on May 19

There are reasons for a typing wpm requirement, there are reasons for no manual notes, but none of them really seem applicable to that position. Agree that it seems like micromanagement, especially since she’s the owner. That’s her way and she expects it to be your way.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:32 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Personally: Always electronic if shared with others, usually (but not always) paper if for my own reference.

Org-wide: From what I've noticed, electronic only.

No one has ever asked or specified a preference.
posted by sm1tten at 3:33 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

No this is weird. I've encountered it once before and it turned out to be a red flag. The CEO was a micromanager as well as erratic, punitive, and rigid. She didn't trust her high level staff to be competent at their jobs. She also believed in psychometric assessments, and gave me the silent treatment when she didn't like my results.

+ Transcription software and software that can transfer handwriting to text exists (i.e. OneNote). So.
posted by Stoof at 3:33 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

Depends on the expectations on the role you're being hired for. If I'm writing meeting minutes that are shared, then paper notes would be out of place. If I'm taking personal notes, it can be either paper or typed, should be up to me since I'm the only one who will be referencing them later.

I would not at first glance expect a high-level consultant to be hired to take the meeting minutes for sharing. However, if it made sense for the organization and the type of change it is hiring for then I can plausibly believe and accept it is part of some reasonable reporting requirement.
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 3:49 PM on May 19

Since I haven't seen it brought up here yet, I'll add: There are some highly-regulated industries where the practices they're required to adhere to (to comply with the law, with auditor expectations, or with general industry standards) do in fact forbid transcription of notes, or discourage writing things on paper.

Transcription of notes is forbidden in some clinical and laboratory settings, where accuracy is essential and transcribing written notes to electronic (or even notes written in your notebook to notes written in lab files) can lead to error.

Writing down Personally Identifiable Info (PII) and Protected Health Info (PHI) is strongly discouraged by HIPAA and other privacy laws, and many companies just discourage writing anything at all rather than relying on people to consistently leave PII & PHI out of their notes.

It doesn't sound like the job you interviewed for was in any industry where these would apply, but I wanted to share just in case it helps you think about future roles.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:14 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Extremely weird. This is one of those things that if you don't get hired over it, it's for the best. (Actually almost every reason you don't get hired somewhere is one of those things, but this one especially).
posted by so fucking future at 4:15 PM on May 19

This has got "red flag" written all over it, at 45WPM.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:40 PM on May 19

To elaborate on my first post that she sounds like a micromanager, I didn't think that until your update that it was her "policy" that she had "conviction about". For the reasons on this thread there were many ways for her to bring up that electronic notes are preferred as in "This is what we do to make our lives easier & promote a culture of accountability" but instead she chose "I don't like what you do" and "Here are all the reasons why you will do what I say". I know which one I would run far far away from.
posted by bleep at 4:54 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

I can say from experience that PHI/HIPAA concerns driving a requirement for typewritten notes is completely made up bullshit. Losing your encrypted computing device or thumb drive or whatever triggers a disclosure notice just as surely as losing your paper notes.

I'd be concerned that any company with such a policy was using it in an effort to evade compliance with disclosure rules.
posted by wierdo at 5:16 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

This seems pretty quirky and awfully specific This is not an administrative role requiring large amounts of rapid and efficient typing. Has anybody heard of this before? No handwritten client meeting notes!

I've worked in multiple consulting roles and never heard of this. It's asinine.

Response by poster:She was the owner and not a recruiter or screener. It was her policy and she had some conviction behind her policy.

Massive red flags.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:22 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Two relevant anecdotes: when I applied for my current role in 2007 (originally titled "Marketing Specialist") not only did they ask my words-per-minute typing speed, but I actually had to take a test on a computer in front of them to show my abilities. IIRC, they wanted 40+ words per minute and I hit 120 with zero errors. I always wondered why they cared. (I started typing classes in 3rd grade on an old-school typewriter, so the whole situation was pointless.)

Second anecdote: in university I had several different professors say "At the end of the semester you will receive a grade on the notes you took throughout the class." Sure enough, we were supposed to turn in all of our class notes to show we had paid attention. But I have the kind of brain that works *less well* if I try to write what I'm hearing, so I never took notes at all. This led to multiple classes where I would have gotten an A if I had taken notes, but I was penalized for not doing so... Stupid.

People learn and use information differently. It sounds like this owner/interviewer had their own ideas about the BEST way to process information and only wants to hire people who fit that mold. Their loss, I'd say.
posted by tacodave at 5:25 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Gotta go against the stream here... hand written notes would not have not been acceptable in most of the orgs I've worked in over the last decade, for many reasons. Those were big tech companies.

That said, if she's using psychometric tests, I think what we're dealing with here is a personal preference having to do with her own workflow optimization. And I also expect she's using wpm as an indicator of general comfort with computers.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:35 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

This would be a red flag to me, and I agree it smacks of someone who is likely to micromanage.

The last time I remember being given a typing test or being asked about my typing speed was in college in the '90s when I worked briefly as a secretary. Typing speed has never been touched upon in any interviews since then. I worked many years as a web developer or programmer, where typing speed obviously does matter, but it's just assumed that of course you type sufficiently fast to do your job. To waste interview time on that question would be sort of like asking a professional writer to say their ABC's.

Using wpm as a proxy for computer skills as some have suggested is a really silly idea. If an interviewer wants to know if a candidate has certain computer skills, they should test the actual skills in question. Someone could be a great typist but have no experience with XYZ applications.

I think the definition of a professional includes that they achieve their goals in the ways that they see fit. If it helps you to write notes longhand, then you should be able to do it. A manager who gets into the weeds about how you do your job minute by minute may be used to working with lower-level, unmotivated employees. The fact that she's the actual owner of the company doesn't bode well.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 5:51 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I should have explained to her that I'm wicked good with Excel pivot tables. Apparently hiring managers think that's magic. That's an inside joke with myself that I'm going to write a serious but fun question about here next week.
posted by Che boludo! at 6:05 PM on May 19 [8 favorites]

Your gender is not in your profile, but the first question that occurred to me is "does she ask everyone, or only women?"

Personally I associate WPM questions as "your role is partly administrative" and would be puzzled or even a little insulted to be asked that in a different situation. (I have been an admin, this isn't a slam on them, but women OFTEN get asked to do admin tasks that men at the same level don't so I personally am pretty sensitive to that). I don't see it as ageist in the "you probably don't know computers" way but in a "you young people need to appreciate real typing" way. But then I don't know your age either or hers. "Kids today" don't always do much typing on a keyboard, but on a phone, which is a different skill.

Also there are electronic tablets that can help you take electronic notes if that is a job requirement, but it would still be a weird job requirement.

If everything else about the job appealed to you, you might wave it off as "this manager has an outdated expectation that I can probably show them is unnecessary/they may not have really thought about" but otherwise I'd be put off by it.
posted by emjaybee at 6:23 PM on May 19

Paper is dead. Nobody is interested in your handwritten notes. They are interested in your observations and thoughts and they are impatient, the world moves fast. You could be the brightest of the lot that gets sent to meetings instead of your boss to make decisions and judgements and acquire information. Your boss wants most of that the moment the meeting is over. They don't want your handwritten notes, you can't share those, you can't search them, some people may not even be able to read your hen-scratching. You can be a great programmer/etc and still be hunt-n-peck one-finger typing, that's a lot of thinking and just some actual typing/information. If the job is sharing of information, the typing ability question is not entirely that weird. You'd be amazed at the difference between people who amongst other skills can touch type wile watching TV or taking notes and maybe come back and fix up the errors later. But and that's a big but... that's when the big important meeting that your boss has assigned to your care because that's your job duh where you basically just email your notes. Nobody wants your handwritten notes. Typing well is a valid skill.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:24 PM on May 19 [6 favorites]

WPM is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask about for someone who has as an important responsibility the creation of accurate and extensive meetings notes.

Notes directly to electronic is reasonable (if not common).

Abjuring paper notes and docs is never more important. The professional workplace for many people is going to be one where most people are simultaneously working from, working from the office, and business traveling nearly as much as pre-COVID. Any business process in which important data lingers on paper or non-synching C drives or mobile device flash storage is a real risk.
posted by MattD at 7:19 PM on May 19

Woman, boomer generation?

I'm old enough to remember a time when one of the standard measures of a woman's value was her typing speed. You know, along with hip and waist sizes.

May just be a leftover remnant of a way to size you up. If that's the case, beware of other standards from the 1970s you may be expected to uphold, like remembering how he likes his coffee.
posted by Dashy at 7:41 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I’m kind of surprised her by responses and I think it may actually go the other direction depending on the ages of the people involved here. I’m 33 and the other day my partner’s parent’s commented on how fast I type (I don’t type particularly fast as far as I know, but I definitely don’t look at the keyboard when I do. I would say I’m pretty average for people around my age). When I started grad school 4 years ago I was shocked to realize paper wasn’t used AT ALL anymore. Everything was online, everyone shared notes instantly and had them up live during a meeting. Asking about this may actually be a way to skew to a younger workforce with assumed skills and attitudes about document sharing or collaborative work.

And honestly, I’ve been shocked to find that some of the people I’ve worked with this past year have far fewer computer skills than I expected. One person had to be taught how to put things in bold.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:57 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I work in a senior role at a large consulting firm, and have spent most of my life in professional services. My work is primarily with C-level executives and board directors. I've done a ton of hiring. I have never asked how many WPM someone could type, but I have to admit: I'm almost always curious - and worried about it.

Right now, I have 70 pages of notes from recent discussions with board directors in front of me from a project. They were taken by my team members. I need to turn them into insights and guidance that I provide back to the company.

Do I care how they were taken (computer or hand or chiseled into a stone tablet)? No.

Do I care that they were as close to verbatim as possible, and were sent to me in a Word document as fast as possible after the discussion? Yes.

Do I care that my team spends as little time as possible on cleaning up the notes after the call? Yes.

In situations like these, I don't care that the research says taking notes by hand improves retention, etc. I care that the data is comprehensive and quickly available to me and other for use in our client work.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:27 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]

This also seems strange to me. It’s one thing if you’re expected/required to share notes with colleagues (perhaps in real-time) or take meeting minutes. Minutes and notes are very different, however. OP is correct that there is plenty of evidence that taking handwritten notes results in better retention and understanding of the material. This is for a lot of reasons but speed is definitely one of them. The fact that writing by hand is slower than keyboarding causes the note taker to analyze the information being presented, make decisions about what is or isn’t important and condense the important stuff. People using keyboards often aren’t taking notes but actually making a transcript (sometimes down to starting with, e.g., “Good morning, class”). In this case no analysis or extra mental processing is happening between hearing the material and slamming it down on the keyboard. It can be valuable to have that kind of record in certain circumstances, such as taking official meeting minutes, but unneeded or even counterproductive in others. Unless the employer envisioned your prospective job role to involve making a lot of transcripts, this seems like a weird question. I suppose it could be thought of as a proxy for computer skills but, as raccoon409 points out, there are plenty of people who type at blazing speed and barely know how to use one.
posted by slkinsey at 4:35 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

I can think of two reasons, based on my professional experiences : taking verbatim minutes of highly confidential meetings that need to be also available immediately available after the Meeting, evenbefore being condensed/edited into official minutes. The kind of meeting that cannot bei attended by admin staff. Sometimes such verbatim minutes replace recordings, when recordings cannot be done.
At another org they were part of a redundant system, mtg was recorded but also verbatim typed notes as this was legally required by the Orgs statutes (which dated to the 80s and could not easily be changed).
Secondly, i once worked for someone who preferred to dictate correspondence to me they did not wish their regular assistants to know about. They preferred me for this task precisely because i was not their assistant. This job btw turned out a bad fit, because of the opaque decision processes the sole owner preferred. Dictating to me after hours was a Red flag i did at first not see.
posted by 15L06 at 5:29 AM on May 20

We do not have a formal policy on either notes or typing, but there is an expectation that meeting notes (ie, the ones you share and perhaps edit/format into a formal record) would be digital because otherwise we are paying someone twice for the same work (first to take notes, then to type them up), plus the delays and imperfections that happen. And, we have an expectation that people know how to type fast enough to produce written documents quickly.

These are informal expectations only because we haven't accidentally hired a person who refuses to take electronic notes or can't type adequately fast. Once that happens and people have to deal with the aftermath, I would expect it to become a formal policy in one form or another.

Notes for personal use could be in any format, no one I work with would care about that, and there are definitely situations where taking paper notes (ie, a pad of paper on your knee) is less intrusive and more conducive to open discussion than an open laptop that you are partially hidden behind.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:42 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

The reasoning that your computer might crash (you can work on cloud docs or set your program to autosave) or run out of battery (plug it in, or bring a backup battery) as a justification seems just as weird and outdated to me as an interviewer asking about WPM in an era where literally everyone in the corporate world types stuff all day long.

My 60 person company is almost entirely remote workers. We have one 'scribe' each meeting who takes notes in a shared doc that others can add to later. No one else is prevented from taking notes by hand, but meeting minutes need to be accessible quickly to everyone and transcribing notes from a long meeting afterwards can really slow down the process of organizing needed actions.

But really, this may not be a culture fit. That's ok! I'm sure there are plenty of other companies who dont care how you do your job as long as you get results.
posted by ananci at 8:15 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

otherwise we are paying someone twice for the same work (first to take notes, then to type them up)

On the other hand, what I really want is well edited and condensed meeting notes. I attend a lot of meetings and most of them can be reduced to a few key points and when I need to go back and review the notes from one of the 20 meetings I attended in a given week a month ago, I appreciate brevity so I don't have to read through pages and pages of notes to find what I need. As Mark Twain said, "I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one." Unless there's a reason the meeting needs to be transcribed, I'm in favor of the person taking notes to reducing it down to the core and if writing notes by hand and then typing them up is the best way for that person's process, I'm fine with it.
posted by Candleman at 8:15 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Potentially relevant device. Not a Pepsi Blue, no connection.
posted by metabaroque at 8:17 AM on May 20

I'm a career Executive Assistant and most postings for jobs like mine don't even ask this question. Because guess what? Who cares.
posted by something something at 10:23 AM on May 20

Please update this if there's any interesting response.
posted by theora55 at 11:55 AM on May 20

Former HR here - this all sounds super weird.

One of the best lessons I learned as a recruiter is to focus on outcomes rather than methodology. There are so many ways to complete a task and being too rigid likely cuts out different populations that could get the job done perfectly via a different method.

Having a preference for electronic notes is one thing (clients might see the company as more efficient? portraying an image of being tech savy?) but requiring it seems rather short-sighted.
posted by Twicketface at 12:35 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]

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