Health & Fitness

Handwriting and what it says of you

handwriting

You write differently depending on your mood and the extent of your tiredness. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

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Summary

  • The requirement that you put your job application in a hand written application tells your employer something about you but most certainly not everything he might want to know about you in considering you for the job.

Question: Some employers still insist on hand-written job applications even in the age of computer technology. Does it make sense to judge one's job capability by the handwriting?

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On July 4, 1970, a group of young men and women were admitted to the University of Nairobi, to study medicine. I was in that class. One of the boys had exceptional handwriting in two ways. The first was that his handwriting resembles type print. The other was that he wrote very fast. He was clever, reserved and some said it was bordering on eccentric.

When President Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978, it was reported that he shaved his head and walked in tears from Nyeri to Nairobi to mourn the event. How much of this story is accurate in every detail does not matter for the purpose of the answer to your question. What matters is that the question of personality and handwriting has been raised.

The matter of handwriting and one’s personality goes back as far as Aristotle and is a matter that continues to generate much interest and controversy to date.

You would like to know if employers should continue to ask for hand-written applications. Sadly for all job seekers, the old adage rings true today as it has always done. He who pays the piper, calls the tune. If potential employers like old tune, then you must dance to them if you want the job.

What, however, does the subject of graphology tell us about personality and to what extent might one’s handwriting reveal about personality? There are some who rely heavily on handwriting to try to understand personality and many theories exist that link small handwriting with introversion and perfectionism.

Some studies have claimed to be able to decipher upwards of 5,000 traits from handwriting. In so doing, experts look at such things as the size, spacing and other features of the writing. Outgoing people are, for example, said to have big bold and spaced out writing.

Other things that you can tell even about yourself are that you write differently depending on your mood and the extent of your tiredness. Boring topic will make you write one way and some days are different from others.

I have often been asked if doctors go for special training on how to write badly. The answer is no. Some doctors, however, have excellent writing.

A famous neurologist who taught many of the most senior doctors had excellent handwriting while a neurosurgeon could hardly read his own writing.

What else does one writing style tell the doctor? A change in ones’ writing could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s’ disease and in some cases, it is the bank that notices that a customers’ signature has over time changed. In desperation, some banks keep asking for the customers to come to the bank in person.

Parkinson’s’ disease is another condition in which the writing becomes smaller and smaller as one writes.

There are some who claim to find changes in the writing of people with high blood pressure.

Others have wondered if intelligence is in any way linked with the way one writes. Some people generate ideas so quickly that the hand is unable to keep up with them.

So, simply being in a rush can significantly alter the way you write and a potential employer can tell that you are in a great hurry as you make the application and might, therefore, not be giving the application due attention.

Similarly, people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are said to have large, bold and often illegible handwriting on account of their rapid thought process. At the other extreme, people with a tendency to perfectionism have small neat way of writing. To this type of person one would expect time keeping, orderliness and tendency to stick to the rules.

If for example, the employer is seeking to hire a person in the accounts or audit department this might be an important consideration because attention to detail is most helpful in these departments.

These attributes may not be that important for a person that is to work in the creative section of the company where lateral thinking is most desired.

As you can see, the requirement that you put your job application in a hand written application tells your employer something about you but most certainly not everything he might want to know about you in considering you for the job.