Home > Uncategorized > Recruiters: mind your candidates’ Ps and Qs…

Recruiters: mind your candidates’ Ps and Qs…

…and I don’t just mean their manners!

One candidate assessment tool which, in India at least, is not as popular as it perhaps should be is graphology, or handwriting analysis.

The first time I experienced graphology was about four years ago on a personal level. A colleague of mine at that time (and now a close personal friend) called Vijendra, was eyeing the notes I was taking whilst talking to him in a strange way. He saw that I noticed this and explained that he was into graphology and that he could tell a lot about people by how they write. I was extremely sceptical and honestly quite amused by the whole idea and gave him a few pages of old notes of mine to look through, just to see what he would come up with. To cut a long story short I was stunned by the accuracy of what he told me about myself. He told me things there was no way he could have possibly known as I had only met him a couple of times before. Vijendra started with the earliest days of my life and talked me through to the present! He told me about character traits I knew I had and others which, until that time, I wasn’t even aware of myself but later proved to be accurate!

So how can graphology help in candidate assessment?

Graphology can accurately determine many character traits in an individual within a relatively short space of time (a couple of hours) which could otherwise only be determined after working with someone for a significant period of time.

Some of the characteristics which are revealed by handwriting analysis are: attention to detail, ability to work in a team, clarity of thinking, judgement, deductive thinking, leadership qualities, mental agility, honesty, integrity and reliability.

If we examine the alternative methods of trying to establish  these characteristics in candidates, these would be interviews including behavioural interview questions, psychometric testing and reference and background checks. Interview performance can be learnt and practised for – candidates very often know what interviewers are looking for and can deliver this well. The more psychometric tests one sits for, the better their results will get. In the case of reference checks, third parties are more likely to tell you the positives about a candidate rather than the negatives.

Graphology, on the other hand, is very difficult to work around or “get used to”. Your handwriting is what it is and each letter and word can tell a different story: by the way it is written (shape); the pressure used to write it; the steadiness of lines used; its size; space between words; slant and so on.

So, recruiters: do look at handwriting analysis as a viable candidate assessment tool. It is very easy to “test” – just ask some people you know well to give you samples of their writing, or use your own and have a graphologist look at these. Then compare his or her comments with what you already know about the person.

And candidates: the next time a company asks you to send a cover letter or CV in your own handwriting (a practice which is very popular in Germany, for example), beware! You will be opening your soul to the company!

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First appeared in Vashi Times Jobs and Career July 30, 2011

Categories: Uncategorized
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