Low turnover is one trait shared by companies on CNNMoney's 100 Best Companies to Work For 2007, which is hardly surprising. Good companies not only appreciate the investment they make in you, but also the investment you make in them. Turnover is a lost return on these investments and a sign of failure. As a result, companies want more than ever to be sure of themselves when they recruit and are willing to try unconventional ways of evaluating candidates, like graphology.

What is Graphology?

Graphology is defined as the “study of handwriting especially for the purpose of character analysis” by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Many people tend to roll their eyes at the idea that their personalities can be deciphered from a few lines scribbled on paper and the fact is that there are numerous scientific studies both for and against the validity of graphology.

It can happen to you

Quick story. During my last job search, a recruiter arranged an interview for me with a top executive at a major hitech company in Israel. My qualifications seemed to fit the job description perfectly and the interview went well enough. Before a second interview could be scheduled, the company required that I write a letter in Hebrew for graphological analysis, which I did without hesitation. I did want the job after all, and I had never been asked to do this kind of thing in the past so I was intrigued albeit somewhat skeptical.

I failed the test and didn't get the job.

What happened?

I was a bit disappointed but not nearly as frustrated as my recruiter since I really did seem like a perfect match for the company. “Why would they do this to you?” she asked me. “You're not a native Israeli (my mother tongue is English and I was born in Montreal) so it doesn't make sense to test you in Hebrew. You couldn't have passed.”

Anna Koren is a world-renowned expert in graphology, having founded The Graphology Center in Haifa back in 1976. She also co-authored “The Secret Self: A Comprehensive Guide to Handwriting Analysis“. I asked Ms. Koren about the recruiter's reaction. She told me that the recruiter was”…absolutely right. It is very very important to write in the language you are used to.” So much for that.

The Test

My first brush with graphology could have gone better, but I was still curious about what my handwriting might reveal to a future company, government agency (they are among Anna Koren's clients), descendants, etc. I decided to see for myself by taking a test on handwritingwizard.com. You'll need to give an email address but the test only takes about 15 minutes. Here's some good sample text covering all the letters in the Latin alphabet to write out in cursive before you begin.

I was blown away. As an introspective person who knows himself pretty well, it would have been tough for me to write a description of my personality as well as the Wizard did. I laughed out loud a few times as I read things about my character that I knew but had never seen written.

Wrap up

Companies will try new filtering techniques and candidates need to anticipate them to be prepared. Although no longer new, graphology continues to gain popularity and you should test yourself first to avoid surprises later on. Try it, you may learn something.

Some food for thought- doing the test reminded me how long it had been since I had written any text longer than my signature. Will graphology die out as our children spend ever more time on computers? How long until children no longer learn to write cursive at all?

Don't be surprised! Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email to learn other unconventional methods that may be coming in your job search.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Sheila Lowe

    As a graphologist with 40 years experience (and a published author in the field), when I’m asked to analyze someone whose native language is not English, I require them to write in both languages for the purposes of the sample. In the same way, when someone only prints, I usually ask for a sample of both printing and cursive.
    Since there is no licensing of graphologists, everyone does it their own way, but I believe the writer should have the opportunity to use his or her natural style so as not to skew the analysis.

  2. JacobShare

    Thanks for stopping by. What if the person who only prints does so because they don’t know cursive? Also, can the same methodology be used when the native language has a non-Latin alphabet like Hebrew or Cyrillic?

    I imagine the lack of licensing is a big problem and that claims of illegitimacy are based on unqualified people who simply call themselves graphologists.

  3. Sheila Lowe

    You’re right, unfortunately, in the U.S. anyone can call themselves a graphologist, whether or not they are qualified. At some point, they should have been certified by American Handwriting Analysis Foundation or American Association of Handwriting Analysts. These are non-profit educational organizations not attached to any particular school.

    Using the gestalt method of graphology, printing can be analyzed in the same manner as cursive writing, and the same is true of non-Latin alphabets. In my own practice I analyze Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic, as well as French, German, etc., etc., none of which I speak. That’s because, rather than a this-means-that relationship to individual letters or strokes, the gestalt principles of spatial arrangement (how the writing is laid out on the page), writing form (how the writing looks), and writing movement (the way the writing “moves” across the page), are universal and the competent graphologist is able to view the writing in the context of the page and properly interpret it.

  4. Pingback: The Week In Recruiting (Reading the blogs so you won’t have to) « JimStroud.com

  5. Rakesh

    May be doing a short graphology course would be interesting and will let us know on how to change the negative traits in handwriting. I hope then we have an advantage of getting a positive score on the graphology report
    I just identified some institutes….International graphoanalysis society -www.igas.com, Handwriting Analysts India, ISHA – http://www.karohs.com

  6. arief

    I read the term graphology just a week ago …

  7. Kate

    I have never been taught anything about graphology, so I’m glad you wrote this post.

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