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How not to jump to conclusions

Processes, scripts and scenarios to handle typical issues in the workplace.

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You meet Max for the first time when he comes to an interview. He is tall, thickset, wearing a black hoody, and with face tattoos.


Start by introducing yourself and explaining your role. Welcome Max and ask about him and his goals. Begin by asking open questions, such as “what has brought you here?” and “what are you hoping to get out of this job?”

We tend to jump to conclusions when we are rushing, so the main thing is to slow down and collect more information.

  • The more information you have, the more certainty you have.
  • The more certainty you have, the better decisions you can make.


Let Max talk without interruption. He explains that he has had difficulty getting work because of his surname which has a negative stigma in the small country town. He explains that he is willing to work anywhere but hates working in clubs and pubs because he doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs.

Max tells you he lives with his grandmother and looks after her, and that he really needs this job.

  • Listen, let them talk, and try to check the words you hear, against your first impressions.
  • Follow up answers to get more information, checking that you have understood, again just taking the extra time.


As you talk, Max acknowledges that his face tattoos can give a wrong impression, but says that that is who he is. He just wishes people would give him a chance.

If you are still unsure, try asking Max about other areas of his life. Together, you may find some local referees who will be able to talk to who Max really is. They may not be employers, but his contacts through sports or other local activities. If you find someone who knows Max well they are likely to have a more accurate referee assessment.

After hearing about Max’s motivation and experience, you know that there will be positions that he is suitable for.

  • Take the chance to verify your assumptions, before acting on them.
  • Gather your data. If you feel unsure about any aspects check in with your employee about any details.
  • Use the Workplace Decision Maker, if you need to make any decisions about the next steps.

4. ACT

You list some options and work through them together. You may discuss his work goals and provide some suggestions.


You agree to support Max, knowing he is a great candidate for the right job.

Make a time to check in with him and see how he is progressing.

Are you a

Supervisor or Manager?Young Employee?