Asking a Job Candidate for a Writing Sample
I often hear people who have been asked for a handwritten cover letter agonizing over the possibility that it was then sent for handwriting analysis.
It may well have been, of course, I canâ€™t possibly know.
However, the savvy employer would not be doing that.
Because if you ask Jane to send a handwritten cover letter and she thinks she doesnâ€™t have â€œniceâ€ writing, she may ask her best friend Sarah to write it for her which rather defeats the purpose of the exercise from your point of view.
Of course, â€œniceâ€ writing does not indicateÂ â€œniceâ€ person, or necessarily the employee you want, but it is a common misconception that if you can just write â€œnicelyâ€ the analysis will be favourable.
So back to you the employer wondering how you are going to get this sample of writing for analysis.
Itâ€™s really very easy.
In the interview, place a pad of paper and a pen in front of the job applicant and ask them to write down why they think they are well suited to this job.
Or you could ask them to write something else related to the job.Â If itâ€™s a marketing position, you could ask them to write down the six best marketing ideas theyâ€™ve ever had or heard of.
It really doesnâ€™t matter at all what they write. The point is you know itâ€™s the job applicantâ€™s own writing.
It is not necessary to tell them the writing will be analyzed but many employers choose to do so.
If you are using â€œHire the (Right) Write Person the FIRST Time – What you really want to know about your job applicants“, and analyzing as you go through the interview, it is probably best not to tell the candidate at least until afterwards.
The reason for this is that if you consistently glance at the writing the candidate gave you, they will probably just think you are reading the words they wrote and not worry.
However if they are aware that you are looking for specific personality traits in the writing and targeting your questions accordingly (as the book shows you how to do) the phrase â€œfreak them outâ€ would probably apply very well to how they will be feeling at that point.
Much kinder just to go on with the interview, and if you so choose, let them in on your little secret afterwards.
Personally if you are doing on the spot analysis, I see no reason to tell the candidate.
After all, handwriting is just body language, and you are not likely to feel any need to describe to the candidate after the interview what you picked up from all their other body language, are you?Â So why tell them about this?
All the writing does is show who this person is and how well they are suited to this job, and thatâ€™s what the interview is all about.Â So itâ€™s a perfect fit.
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