Interviewing candidates using iPad Pro

Question on behalf of my wife who is an executive recruiter. She needs to improve her workflow and reduce the amount of papers she is traveling with to see new clients and interview candidates across the country.

What workflow / apps do you recommend for her to simultaneously read a document (resume) take notes on the resume while also have ample space to take more extensive handwritten notes.

It should be a very seamless workflow so she can focus on the interview and don’t have technology be a distracting factor.

My first thought was to use PDFPen Pro and insert blank pages between each page.

What are your workflows?

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It seems to me this would be a classic case for the use of split view. The resume in a PDF app or Microsoft Word on one side and a note taking app (either keyboard based like Bear or iA Writer or pen based like GoodNotes or Notability) on the other side.

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To small to read :frowning:

Apple Pencil with iPad Pro and GoodNotes 5
Searches handwritten text and PDF text concurrently in open document
Full text search across recent documents! as well as all titles and metdata
Allows for organization into nested folders (resumes for a client, nested into position)
Tabbed view to switch from annotating a resume to a note about the position or client or position description.
What would make it better? Side by side view of multiple docs.

Here’s the rub: this tech can absolutely be distracting!


I’d put the pdf on the screen and take notes on paper, then scan them immediately after if they’re really too copious to keep on paper.


I’d agree with @dfay – I’ve met with many executive recruiters, as a candidate and as a client, and none of them has a computer in these meetings. Few of them actually take notes in the conversation, except very discretely.


I agree with @Mikes. You can import the PDFs directly into a GoodNotes notebook, handwrite on the pages, and add additional blank pages. I especially, agree that a side-by-side view of multiple docs would be ideal.

Absent that, your wife could use PDFExpert or PDFPen on one side and Apple Notes on the other to make handwritten notes in. With the handwritten notes, she would not have as much of an issue with the size of the type and seeing all of the text she needs to see.

Having the 12.9" iPad Pro is like having two regular iPads side-by-side. It will be very small when using a 9.7" or even 10.5". I haven’t tried an 11" iPad Pro but maybe someone else can chirp in about using that size form.

Yep thats why she doen’t want to use a keyboard but a pen.

I think having the paper version of the resume and taking notes with a pen on the iPad would be the most practical solution.
Perhaps the work arround by adding a blank page between each page of the document could work.

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I would encourage you to try Microsoft OneNote - allows your wife to import the PDF, into an organized notebook structure; and then annotate it without limitations; and then you/she can email that annotated resume and notes “page” to anyone or just keep it filed.

This notebook structure provides a great work flow for all of her recruiting neeeds!!!


Good idea, I tend to avoid MS office products but know that one of my clients is very reliant on it. Will try it and have her have a go at it.


Whatever she tries, it’s going to take some practice, maybe outside a normal interview to allow her to get the technology out of the way by being proficient.

Maybe making notes before interviews on the iPad whilst reviewing CVs/resumes could be that practice.

My workflow involves a 12.9" iPad Pro with three windows:

  • Left split-pane: PDF Viewer (which uses “Open In” from Files; all documents for the candidate are open in tabs, then all are closed when the interview is completed)
  • Right split-pane: GoodNotes, with an Apple Pencil (a single document works best for me, with a separate page for each candidate.) If there is a schedule for the day, or notes on what to ask all candidates, etc. That can be in a separate tab, which I can then easily refer to.)
  • Slide over pane: This depends on the situation; in some situations (not one-on-one), it’s useful to be able to run a quick search in a browser, and I’ll have Safari here. Or, I may have a document that I’m referring to regularly (in another document reader). Or, I’ll have files here, to be able to look quickly at subfolders of other candidates.

My prep involves ensuring that the candidates’ materials are all in PDF (I hate messing with different file types in this kind of situation; but GoodReader might be a better option, if you have lots of different kinds of files) and putting the materials for each in a separate subfolder of a folder in iCloud).


Thanks! I will share it with her :smile:

As a recruiter myself, I like importing the resume PDF into Notability and then use my pen to either take handwritten notes on the resume itself, or scroll below it and just free write notes. I’ve taken to Notability because it easily syncs with the MacOS app, and then I can access my handwritten notes on my laptop.

As far as handwriting conversion goes - there are some apps that do a pretty good job of taking my deliberate, slowly-written handwriting and convert it to text. But there are NO apps that convert the scribbled mess I create during a candidate interview. If I’m writing so neatly that the writing can be converted, I’m not paying enough attention to the candidate. :slight_smile:


I am retired now, but during my career, I interviewed many candidates. For the last 4 years of my corporate career, I always imported the resumes into PDF Pen, and then recorded my comments into the pdf (right into the resume). I can see how this may be a problem for some, but it worked really well for me. When it became available, I use ‘split view’ and took notes in a separate document. You are right, it is smaller, but I use the 12.9” iPad, so it was not too bad.

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I agree with others here who recommend loading the PDF into GoodNotes, Notability, MarginNote. You can annotate the resume and create new pages if you need more room for notes.

I did this at all my in-person interviews as the interviewee. It worked really well.

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