Reading over CVs, conducting telephone and face to face interviews – these are just some of the ways that employers can get to know more about the candidates applying for their range of roles.

As the decades have passed more sophisticated measures of candidates suitability for a role have been thrown into the mix, including psychometric testing and competency tests to examine literacy and numeracy skills.

Now the science of graphology, or handwriting analysis, is gaining in popularity as a key stage in the recruitment process, according to an article in HR Magazine, with psychologists in Europe arguing that it can offer a more accurate picture of a candidates’ personality when compared to reading body language alone.

Commenting on the phenomenon, Erik Rees, a leading graphology expert and founding member and former chairman of the British Institute of Graphologists, said:
“The Société Francaise de Graphologie has a well-established reputation and around 80% of companies in France use graphologists for recruitment and screening purposes. In Germany, the figure is on the increases.”

In the UK Rees believes that just under a third (30%) of companies use handwriting analysis as part of the recruitment process.

The respect for insights offered by graphology is such, that in the US it is used by bodies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and in the UK by the Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS).

“I have helped not only in the SAS recruitment process but also in matching personality profiles. For example, if three guys are going on a mission together it is important to know the level of friction likely to occur between their different personalities as SAS soldiers often have high aggression levels and it is important they do not fall out when on active operations,” Rees added.

Viewing graphology as an ‘extra tool’

Commenting on the use of graphology in the recruitment process in a BBC News article last year, Catharine Bottiau, one of France’s best-known practitioners of graphology, argued that graphology should be viewed as an ‘extra tool’.

“Normally we are consulted once the client has already drawn up a shortlist of candidates, then the candidates will be asked to write a motivational letter, using their own handwriting.

“We will examine the letters, and offer our advice. Usually this will tend to confirm the impressions already gleaned from interviews, the CV, personality tests and so on.”

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