Grammar Testing: The New Application Process?

It is universally understood that mathematics skills are necessary in life regardless of the career path a student chooses. After all, taxes and tips need to be figured. Budgets need to be calculated and checkbooks balanced.

But it is becoming more and more understood that competent writing skills are equally important. With the internet becoming a greater life presence in both home and work, communication skills are appearing more and more in the forefront of business.

It is becoming apparent that writing matters.

All jobs require writing skills


An article in the Berkley, University of California Career Center shows us just how important writing skills are to businesses—and
how essential they are to student success.

In a study of 120 American corporations hiring for professional jobs, CEO’s disclosed that over 80% of salaried employees have some degree of writing responsibility. These CEOs said that “good writing equals good thinking.”

An even more important finding in this corporate study is the fact that when it comes to promotion within a company, writing skills are often a determining factor. One CEO stated the reason for this in simple terms: “If an employee is careless with his writing, then he’s likely to be careless with important company documents.”

Grammar Testing for jobs

Kyle Weins, CEO of iFixit and founder of Dozuki Software, goes one step further. In his article in the Harvard Business Review, Weins says, “I won’t hire people who use poor grammar.” Both of his companies have a zero tolerance for grammar and writing errors that make a person appear sloppy and intellectually unprepared for the workplace.

As part of the hiring process, applicants of iFixit and Dozuki are required to take a grammar test. It doesn’t matter if the application is for stocking shelves or writing programming code…a grammar test must be passed.

When confronted by those who say that grammar is not an indicator of performance or intelligence, Weins vehemently disagrees. If a person goes to 12 years of schooling (at a minimum) and still can’t properly use commas or choose the correct variation of there and their, then they are not a quick enough study to work for him. Carelessness with writing and grammar shows a carelessness in the way other matters are approached, Weins maintains.

Your writing skills are your reputation

Furthermore, in this world of internet communication where face to face contact and relationship building is not a factor, a person’s word is all he has to make a sale. Your written word is your reputation. Good grammar is your credibility.

Whether it is right or wrong, people will judge you based on your ability to write clearly and properly.  Weins unapologetically defends his practice of testing employees for grammar proficiency. “All applicants say that they’re detail oriented; I just make my employees prove it.”

While some of his fellow CEOs  are critical of Weins, others are beginning to consider similar steps. It appears to be inevitable that the future of employment and promotion will require a higher standard of writing and grammar proficiency no matter what the profession. It makes sense, then, that writing education needs to take a greater precedence in schools and curriculums nation wide. But until standards change, it may just be that the proficient writers among the current college graduates will be the ones that rise to the top most quickly.

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