Your Applicants’ Handwriting — What Does it Say About Them?

Would you like to know-before you hire-that a job applicant is a dependable team player, willing to take direction, well-organized and a self-starter? Or, that one who looks like the perfect employee is actually lazy, aggressive, and quick-tempered?

With the upsurge of violence in the workplace, and a “play ethic” replacing the old-fashioned work ethic, employers are seeking effective ways to protect themselves from security risks. Handwriting analysis, when done by a competent professional, is a legal, cost-effective, reliable tool that increasingly is helping employers identify potential problems during the application process.

Consider this example: XYZ Medical Center is seeking an appointment secretary. The successful candidate will have a neat appearance, an exceptionally pleasant manner and a good telephone voice. She needs to be flexible and know how to deal with many types of people. Reliability, self-control, stress tolerance, good judgment and stamina are essential. Dr. Johnson, XYZ’s administrator, places ads and interviews Louise Brown. She makes a particularly good impression during the interview and has an excellent resume and references. Her attractive appearance will enhance the front office, too.

Louise passes the intelligence test with flying colors and is hired. All goes well for a few months. She arrives early and stays late. The appointment book is well-balanced and the patients like her. Then, one day, Dr. Johnson introduces a new office manager who starts making sweeping changes to existing policies and procedures.

Suddenly, Louise is showing up late for work, she snaps at patients and co-workers, and becomes moody and uncooperative. Dr. Johnson calls her into his office and asks what’s wrong, but she denies there is a problem. The situation deteriorates and Louise is finally terminated for a poor attitude and bad work habits. She files for unemployment benefits, claiming harassment, and XYZ loses additional time and money when required to appear at a hearing.

Unfortunately, this story is all-too common. What happened to Louise’s attitude? Could the situation have been avoided? What if Dr. Johnson had known in advance how Louise might react to sudden changes in her working environment?

Many interviewers have discovered the hard way that the good impression an applicant makes in the interview doesn’t always hold up under on-the-job stress. Changes may be subtle, bubbling under the surface for weeks or months, then explode abruptly, shocking everyone into awareness and creating a disastrous and expensive situation.

An analysis of her handwriting could have revealed that Louise Brown, who had good job skills, also had a rigid personality, was incapable of handling sudden changes; did not possess long-term stability, and could become volatile under pressure.

How can handwriting do all that?

Like body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, handwriting is an expressive behavior that reveals the person in the moment of writing. It also reveals past behavior-an indicator of future attitudes and behavior.

As with any other testing method, there are limits to what handwriting shows. It cannot conclusively reveal the writer’s age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion, all of which make it non-discriminatory. It cannot conclusively determine which hand the person writes with. And, while it can tell the effects of past experiences, it cannot foretell the future. Yet, handwriting supplies important information about the writer’s potentials and strengths, as well as areas that need improvement.

When the ACLU in Rhode Island, Iowa and Oregon made attempts to have handwriting analysis for personnel profiling outlawed in the early 1990s, they were unsuccessful precisely because it is a non-discriminatory method of screening-the handwriting analyst rarely meets the one whose handwriting is being analyzed, and no protected information is needed.

No professional handwriting analyst expects a client to rely solely on the analysis to hire or not to hire an applicant. The client is encouraged to use it in conjunction with whatever other assessment methods are available, including background checks, skill testing, education review, and interviews.

In the twenty-first century, handwriting analysis is a respectable method of assessing potential security risks and helping create cooperative teams in an even better working environment. Around the world, thousands of employers are finding handwriting analysis a valuable tool to help them successfully place people in jobs that are right for them.

Although many employers prefer to use the services of a handwriting professional who they can call with questions, there is software available for HR professionals to use themselves, even though they are not trained handwriting analysts. Try the software free at

Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert with forty years experience. She is approved by the State of California to provide continuing education to marriage and family therapists. Her books, The Complete IdiotÂ’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis and Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, are international best-sellers. The Sheila LoweÂ’s Handwriting Analyzer software is used by governments, police departments, human resource professionals and many others around the world.

Author: Sheila Lowe
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