Global Fastener News

2002 FIN – Perspective: Using Handwriting to Select Employees

October 21
00:00 2012

February 21, 2002 FIN – Since a friend “dragged” her to an adult education class 20 years ago, Kathryn K. Sackheim has used handwriting analysis to evaluate thousands of people for employers and written a book on using it in employee selection.

She first tested her skill at a fastener company – her husband, Ron Sackheim, is president of XL Screw Corporation.

Adding handwriting analysis to interviews and other personality tests “is a good additional tool,” Sackheim said.

She is confident she has identified the right and wrong people for specific jobs over the years.

When graphologists work with a human resources department they are likely to find indications that “this person is or isn’t a good fit” for the company’s corporate culture.

“If certain traits are important to the company, or certain types of personalities tend to fit within the corporate culture, the handwriting analyst must be informed,” she emphasized.

Has she spotted “dangerous” people? Sackheim describes it as finding “people with communication issues.”

In her recently reprinted book – which was originally published in 1990 – “Handwriting Analysis and the Employee Selection Process,” Sackheim wrote that graphology is nondiscriminatory. “It does not reveal sex, age, national origin or religion. This is one great advantage of handwriting analysis. It is a nondiscriminatory tool.”

In 1977 the U.S. Privacy Protection Commission told employers “to limit their collection of information to what is relevant to the job. The commission also said employers should inform employees about what they planned to do with the information they accumulated and employers should establish procedures for ensuring accuracy and confidentiality.

When applicants give permission, “their privacy is not being invaded,” Sackheim said.

The handwriting analyst has to “evaluate only the skills and personality traits required for a particular job. Any other information is superfluous and could be construed as unduly intrusive.”

Sackheim says she always suggests that if you are going to examine the handwriting of any salespeople, all sales applicants must be asked to submit a handwriting sample.


Personality Factors

Sackheim advises that before placing individuals on a job team human resources people should consider a number of personality factors. “Team members with drastic differences in temperament can either complement one another or their differences can lead to paralyzing friction. Understanding a candidate’s emotional structure ahead of time helps avoid personality clashes,” she wrote.

“If you are negotiating with a right-slanted writer, appealing to emotions is a good tactic. A recitation of facts and figures alone will never be convincing. Contact has to be made on an emotional level first. They are prime for sales, where the ability to quickly connect to people is an important criterion,” she observed.

The far rightward slanting writer is generally relationship oriented and warm, but at times they can be emotional storms.

The vertical writer is “ruled by the head,” Sackheim noted. “The vertical writer approaches life in a rational manner and needs to think about every ramification before making a decision. This style has both positive and negative aspects in the workplace.

Leftward slants indicate difficulty with relationships and the tendency to withdraw when the going gets rough. There are few left-slanting writers, and they are “not usually attracted to sales work.”

Sackheim traces handwriting analysis back to intellectuals in Greece and Rome. The first academic work published was by Italian physician and professor Camillo Bald in the 1620s.

She noted that Tranquillus “is said to have been disturbed by peculiarities in the writing of the Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar.” She also quotes Chinese philosopher Jo-Hau: “Handwriting infallibly shows us whether it comes from a vulgar or noble-minded person.”

“Handwriting is not as simple as it looks,” Sackheim wrote. “It is an impulse that starts in the brain. The message is then sent from the brain to the arm, then to the hand and then to the fingers. The pen merely acts as a recording device to reproduce the symbols that are in one’s head.”

Differences in handwriting show even in children. “Although every student in a class has the same model to copy during drills, variation in the execution of handwriting exercises is noted almost immediately.”

Moods, the paper, the pen, medication, temperature of the room, position of the writer “all influence the appearance of the writing,” Sackheim acknowledged. “Although the slight alteration in slant, size, rhythm or neatness produced by these factors may loom large to the lay person, they are not usually meaningful to the professional handwriting analyst. They are subtle changes in most cases.”

• The book gives examples of 29 handwritten t’s to show different indications of interest to employers: “weak willpower, shy, needs some direction, ability to delegate, wants to be in charge, domineering, demanding, enthusiasm, sarcastic, impatient, impulsive, temper, procrastination, self-control, no sense of purpose, persistence, need to feel guilty, fluidity, initiative, daydreamer, visionary, long-range goals, practical goals, poor self-esteem, pride, vanity, quick to feel picked on, empathy, stubbornness.

• Rightward-slanting writing is interpreted as future-oriented. Leftward strokes indicate the writer “is having much more difficulty separating from past relationships.”

It is a myth that left-handed people automatically write with a leftward slant,” Sackheim noted.

• Tall upper loops are found in the writing of many entrepreneurs. “This is typical of people who have great ideas in their heads but who need to surround themselves with down-to-earth associates who actually put their concepts into action,” she explains in the book.

Sackheim cited a writing sample of a president of a manufacturing company. He is creative and a marketing genius. “However, he has his limitations, and he knows it. He has a partner who handles the practical aspects of the business and runs it on a day-to-day basis. This leaves him free to be creative.”

If you see Sackheim at a fastener reception, don’t ask her for instant analysis. “When I announce my occupation at social gatherings, people sometimes offer to submit their signatures for an on-the-spot analysis,” she explained. “Aside from my aversion to handwriting analysis as theater, a signature by itself simply does not provide enough strokes for a meaningful analysis. Graphologists prefer two to three pages written at different times, but in corporate situations usually must work with a single one-page specimen.’

The book is about handwriting analysis, but her fastener connection shows. Though not named, she said a sample of Ron Sackheim’s handwriting is in the book. One case study is about a “Stronghold Screw Corporation.”

In an interview with FIN, Sackheim acknowledged that it is difficult to separate her professional side at times. Did you check out potential sons-in-law? Did your daughters ask you to? When someone writes you a note, do you notice handwriting? “I look, but I don’t say too much,” she confessed. “It is hard to resist.” ©2002/2014 Fastener Industry News.

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