"I am a grammar "stickler."
I have a "zero tolerance approach" to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.
Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or
Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. If job hopefuls can't
distinguish between "to" and "too," their applications go into the bin.
Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn't make grammar
unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In
blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites,
your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your
physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can't tell the difference between their, there, and they're.
Good grammar makes good business sense — and not just when it comes
to hiring writers. Writing isn't in the official job description of most
people in our office. Still, we give our grammar test to everybody,
including our salespeople, our operations staff, and our programmers.
On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might
seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job
performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?
Wrong. 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. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.
Grammar signifies more than just a person's ability to remember high
school English. I've found that people who make fewer mistakes on a
grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something
completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling
I hire people who care about those details. Applicants who don't
think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important)
things also aren't important. And I guarantee that even if other
companies aren't issuing grammar tests, they pay attention to sloppy mistakes on résumés. After all, sloppy is as sloppy does.
That's why I grammar test people who walk in the door looking for a
job. Grammar is my litmus test. All applicants say they're
detail-oriented; I just make my employees prove it."
HT: Chris Matheson