How Important is Grammar as a Predictor of Future Job Performance?

Some have argued, “I won’t hire people who use poor grammar.” It signals laziness, disrespect, ignorance, or lack of intelligence, they say.

Others, though, say its not a big deal, and may even be a signal of creativity, or individuality that may be an asset in the work place.

How important is grammar in your hiring decisions?

Would you hire the guy that wrote the following?

“Hiring a knew employee is like. Predicing the future you need too make assumption’s from the small slivers of that persons work product that you sea. Insisting on an Oxford comma is perhap’s to far, butt as your reading this, would you, consider hiring me? What if I said too you that Im top’s in my company? Wood you buy it if I say that my righting show’s that Im an out-of-the-box thinker? Dew you think your current employee’s would take to me as a leader. WHat’r the chances that They’ll question you’re judgement in hiring me?”

(Thanks to Mark Boundy for the demonstrative paragraph above.)

Dr. Phil Bryant



Filed under Management Musings, Phil's Philosophy

9 responses to “How Important is Grammar as a Predictor of Future Job Performance?

  1. Adriana Jackson

    I think proper grammar is very important. I, as a business woman, would not hire someone that cannot speak in a professional manner. I work at a restaurant and I find myself constantly correcting myself. I speak to a large diversity of people everyday. It is always a thought that I have just served my next boss his/her meal, so I always make sure I am speaking with proper grammar.

  2. Mark

    Grammer is vital for anyone who plans to get any job that pays more than $20,000 a year. One thing I’ve heard time and time again is how some people send profesional emails like they are texting a friend. My sister had first hand experience with this while she worked as the gold bar recruiter for the Army. Her job was to get college students to join ROTC and so she spent a lot of time emailing students. Time after time she would get emails filled with text words like U, 2, and yea. Any time she would talk about them the only thing you would hear from her is how stupid these people must be. Now some of these peolpe could have been very inteligent but since they did not use proper grammer in an email they gave a bad impression. Think about it, if you were going to hire someone and you recieved emails or resumes with these kind of errors would you take them seriously? Grammer is the bedrock of education without it how could anyone today clearly and inteligently convey their ideas. That is why grammer is so important when it comes to getting a good job because it shows that you at least have some form of education in the past.

  3. Alexander Masoner

    It depends on the job. Does a professional athlete need a masterful command of the English language? If a physicist struggles with grammar and spelling, (Albert Einstein), does that mean he is incapable of making complex mathematical equations? Does it mean he lacks intelligence? Oddly enough, some of the most accomplished American authors (Ernest Hemingway, John Irving) were notorious for their poor spelling.

    I’ve noticed a trend among the grammatically elite. Motivated by a self-serving bias, they find validation via an assumption of intellectual superiority, over those with lesser grammatical skill. It would be interesting to see how capable some Grammar Nazis are at calculus.

    That being said, I do have a knee-jerk reaction to poor grammar, because even though poor grammar is not necessarily indicative of negative attributes, it doesn’t preclude them either, and may necessitate further investigation.

  4. Charles Rossi

    When deciding if someone that has this much trouble putting together a grammatically correct sentence is right for the job there is more than just the incorrect sentences you need to look at. You need to look at what kind of job position you will be filling. Is it one that will require writing that will be seen by others, or is it more of a job that will use this individual’s creativity and new ideas? If it is a job that involves writing then person should not even get an interview after reading this letter. If it is not a job that involves writing it is worth a interview to see what the individual can bring to the company.

  5. Jayson

    Dr. Bryant,
    If I were in an hiring position I would indubitably become extremely cautious if my applicant wrote a document similar to that above. An applicant is desiring to be part of the company that one works for. If they were to be hired on and then proceed to write professional documents, write-ups, proposals, etc. on the level of the paragraph above, I would be embarrassed and awe struck of the low quality of education and/or acumen the employee may have.
    Red Flags!
    An employee should perform at a high caliber level of excellence. They are a direct reflection of the company you work for or maybe even own. If they are “too lazy” that’s a problem, if they are “that ignorant” that’s a problem! These two problems not only effect other’s thoughts about the employee; they can also affect the credibility the employee has when making business decisions with future clients.
    Obviously, my personal opinion would be to shred the applicant’s resume and application immediately; however, this is just a blog and anyone can respond to such poor language as they so please.

  6. In all aspects I understand when the author mentions he will not hire anybody “who use poor grammar it signals laziness, disrespect, ignorance, or lack of intelligence, they say.” After reading the article I can understand why the author feels the way they do. But understand this human beings were not born perfect and it is nerve racking because a person is already under tremendous amount of pressure I would think, you know so much is expected of them and that just comes along with the territory. It is okay to make mistakes that is to be expected like I mentioned before nobody is perfect but if you are constantly making mistakes over and over at work than yes action needs to be taken. Regarding the paragraph at the top this is a sticky subject just because the person that wrote this made a lot of simple mistakes does not mean that this person is not intelligent. Have you ever heard of people who are book smart but have no common sense smart, meaning they will do anything they have no business doing. Will I hire a person that make this many errors part of me would say no, than another part me would say that they might have other strong areas that they are good at.

  7. It’s not a big deal

  8. “If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.” — Kyle Wiens

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