Don’t Trust The Spellchecker, or Why Grammar Matters


We live in a digital age, where most things are getting automated, even writing. When I am typing something on my iPad, it is always quick to suggest words to me. As soon as I type letter “h”, the device starts asking – “did you mean hello? Or home? Or him?”

We rely on the autofill and spellchecker a lot more than we should. The Internet is full of screenshots of embarrassing texts and emails caused by autofill, and there are so many words that a spellchecker would not pick up as wrong, however they are not appropriate given the context. The spellcheck sees no difference between “then” and “than”, “tick” or “trick”. It can not tell whether you meant to say “apprentice” or “appearance”.   I was so shocked when I recently saw an article in a major Canadian newspaper titled: “Brazilian’s are not happy…”. Clearly, the article was talking about more than one Brazilian who was not happy, but the spellchecker did not know, because it can’t read.

What does it have to do with recruitment? A lot. The employer can not afford to publish job descriptions or issue any communication with grammar mistakes, as it can be a deal breaker for a potential candidate or a prospective client. Hiring Managers sometimes can turn down candidates if they find spelling mistakes on a resume. Correct usage of grammar is often linked to education and upbringing, rather than high intelligence. John McWhorter has argued in this piece in New York Times that poor grammar skills do not indicate poor job performance in the future, and should not be a reason not to hire someone. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/13/is-our-children-learning-enough-grammar-to-get-hired/good-applicants-with-bad-grammar

I do agree with John on some points; however the Grammar Police in me is not entirely happy with his point of view. Most roles I source for require at least a Bachelor’s degree, and I do expect some level of writing finesse from the candidates I deal with. After all, I think that people who take time and effort to write a text and proofread it to make sure it is perfect, are very likely to have the same attention to detail when it comes to other work-related tasks. Oh, and by the way. I am not perfect. If you find any mistakes in this text, please let me know! I am sure there are a few that my own spellchecker has overlooked!



By |2018-08-24T13:06:35+00:00July 20th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|0 Comments

About the Author:

Olga has been in recruitment for over 16 years, and for the last 10 years she has worked in sourcing. Olga loves the challenge of finding candidates in rural areas of Canada, and sourcing for the financial industry certainly improved her knowledge of Canadian geography! Currently she mostly sources for corporate roles in Canada and the US. She is a mother of three wonderful children and loves traveling and exploring with them.

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