Should Writing Ability Impact Who You’re Hiring?

by Trish Ryan

The ability to effectively communicate verbally with colleagues, superiors, and clients is essential for every workplace, regardless of its industry, but good communication skills go beyond conversations. In today’s digital business world, it’s equally as important for employees to be able to write well.

During a regular business day, we’re surrounded by instant emails and text messages where the use of emojis and abbreviated acronyms in our writing has become commonplace. The problem is that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are perpetuating informal means of communication. However, realizing that we live in an age of technology and speed, we should not dismiss the need for employees to have the ability to write clearly and succinctly.

As an employer, you should be looking for candidates who can effectively communicate both orally and in writing. The employee who can create a persuasive sales presentation, sound persuasive over the telephone, write a concise email or a lengthy business plan, and be able to clearly communicate its ideas is the one who will succeed in the 21st century workplace.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve read thank you notes from potential candidates and have been shocked to read a poorly crafted message. Lack of proper punctuation, incorrect word choices and sentences ending in prepositions are just a few of the infractions I’ve noticed. This is why I believe it is imperative to evaluate a candidate’s writing skills before hiring them.

The first place I tend to look at is an applicant’s resume. I also assess their writing skills by sending them an email with a question to which I expect a response. At times I’ve asked candidates to share writing samples of their work. I look for concise, appropriate word choices that clearly communicate their ideas and thoughts.

The importance of good verbal and written communication skills cannot be understated. An employee with good writing skills can help add to the credibility and image of your company.

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