Staffing Talk » Industry » Hiring On Handwriting?

Hiring On Handwriting?

Written by StaffingTalk

When was the last time you used a job candidate’s handwriting analysis when making a hiring decision? If your answer is never, you probably don’t live in France. While we typically make most hiring decisions based on resumes, applications, interviews, personality tests and so on, the practice of the use of graphology in recruitment is still widespread in France.Hiring On Handwriting?

The last independent study of the use of graphology was in 1991. It found at that time 91% of public and private companies and organizations in France were making use of handwriting analysis.

Many companies employing it today are reluctant to talk about it, but it is estimated that somewhere between 50% and 75% of French companies still make at least occasional use of handwriting analysis.

Catharine Bottiau, one of France’s best-known practitioners of graphology, tells the BBC News Magazine graphologists don’t actually make decisions about who gets what job.

Normally we are consulted once the client has already drawn up a shortlist of candidates,” says Bottiau. “Then the candidates will be asked to write a motivational letter, using their own handwriting. We will examine the letters, and offer our advice. Usually this will tend to confirm the impressions already gleaned from interviews, the CV, personality tests and so on…”We are an extra tool, a complement.”

The basic principle of graphology is that the act of writing reveals our true personalities, and that we can learn this by analyzing such things as the size of letters, angles, slopes, shapes, links, spaces, order, pen pressure and so on.

The basic principle of graphology is that the act of writing reveals our true personalities, and that we can learn this by analyzing such things as the size of letters, angles, slopes, shapes, links, spaces, order, pen pressure and so on.

Bertram Durand is the managing partner at CNPG Conseil HR, an executive search firm and HR consultancy based in Paris, with 40 years of experience in identifying and securing talent for clients.

He spent three years training as a graphologist in New York, and told the BBC he couldn’t possibly describe in a single interview how it works.

It is a highly specialized technique, based on Jungian psychology,” he says. ”And just because we cannot measure its success rate using mathematics or statistics – that doesn’t mean it is not a valid tool. In all our client studies, there is an extremely high satisfaction coefficient. People use it because it works.”

“And just because we cannot measure its success rate using mathematics or statistics – that doesn’t mean it is not a valid tool. In all our client studies, there is an extremely high satisfaction coefficient. People use it because it works.”

It may not surprise you to learn that the technique of studying handwriting originated in France. French Catholic priest, Jean-Hipployte Michon (1806-1881), is generally regarded as the “father” of graphology.

The BBC reports roughly a thousand graphologists are practicing today in France, and training courses run by three groups are reportedly “well attended.”

Not everyone is convinced of its efficacy however. Not even in France.

Lots of studies over the years have shown that it is all a load of rubbish, and not fit for use in any professional setting”, says University of Grenoble psychology professor Laurent Begue. ”If you ask a group of graphologists to study the same piece of handwriting, they all come out with different interpretations. It’s no different from astrology or numerology.”

Lots of studies over the years have shown that it is all a load of rubbish, and not fit for use in any professional setting.”

Monsieur Durand counters, saying companies that produce recruitment personality tests “have a big interest in undermining what we do.”

Catherine Bottiau says whenever she meets a “sceptic” she simply offers them a chance to have their own handwriting analyzed.

They don’t stay skeptical for long.”

Are you skeptical that an analysis of how someone crafts their letters and words could indicate more than 5,000 different personality traits? Have you ever heard of anyone using it in a hiring assessment? Would you?

{ 0 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment