Initial Assessments to Case Notes

When it comes to case noting how do you get initial information from your customers? Of course there are forms to complete and questions to ask, but are your assessments interrogations or conversations? Good assessments engage customers; interrogational questioning discourages valuable interaction. Conversational interviewing shares the responsibility for directions and outcomes with your customer. It is less structured and often helps to put your customer at ease.

Just how do you initiate conversational interviewing? Use your OARS!


  • O- Open ended questions – Ask open ended questions inviting your customers to share more information. This often provides a window into how they feel or think.
  • A-Affirmations – These are statements that you work into a conversation recognizing strengths. They encourage the flow of information, and build rapport with your customer.
  • R- Reflections -These statements really demonstrate that you are listening to and understand your customer. Try to reflect positive statement that the customer has communicated.
  • S- Summaries – This is a good way to make sure you and your customer are on the same page.  It is useful for transitions into other aspects of career services.

As Workforce Professionals, we rely on our case notes tremendously. The information is gleaned in your initial and subsequent assessments but just how we record that information can be a valuable resource with your case management and customers. So just how do you translate those conversational interviews into your case notes? That’s easy!

You can learn proven techniques and strategies in our upcoming 5-part webinar series. Our most popular series “We’re on the Case… A Master Class in Case Note Management” is BACK!  Watch for more information or send us a note to learn more!