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On Graphology …

Just as it is important to learn about the selection methods that have been proven to be effective at identifying talent, it is also important to note those that do not predict performance or turnover.  Among the most popular of these methods is Graphology, which is still commonly used in some places as a selection tool.


Defined, Graphology involves the examination of handwriting in order to make predictions about someone’s personality and behavior and describe their mental, emotional, and even physical state.  Many selection experts wonder at the persistence of this approach:  it has been supported by anecdotal evidence and testimonials for over a century.  However, whenever graphology has been examined scientifically, it has not been found to be an accurate, reliable, or valid way to either assess someone’s current state or predict their future performance or behavior.  In short, there is no empirical evidence suggesting that graphology ever be used to assess or hire anybody.

  • Pros:  There are no advantages to this approach (no matter how popular it is in France and other parts of Europe).
  • Cons:  Graphology is no better than using a coin-toss (and much more expensive!) to make a hiring decision.


Over the past few selection blogs, we have concluded by describing a selection tool that has zero validity.  Graphology has been around for a long time and remains popular in parts of America and beyond (it remains particularly widespread in France).  However it has only received anecdotal support.  Research on graphology indicates that using a coin-toss to decide whether or not to hire a job applicant would be equally as effective as using the results of a graphology report… and much less expensive!  If you would like to learn more about selection tools that do predict performance and turnover, follow this link.



Gatewood, R. D., Feild, H. S., & Barrick, M. (2011).  Human Resource Selection (7th ed.), South-Western Publishing.

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One Response to “On Graphology …”

  1. George Bomar August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    The validity that there is Zero reliabilty or accuracy is proven
    by the comment that it is used widespread in FRANCE.


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