Magazine article Management Today

Cant Spel, Dont Kare

Magazine article Management Today

Cant Spel, Dont Kare

Article excerpt

Paper qualifications don't guarantee literacy or numeracy

Much is being made of the alleged poverty of educational standards in the run up to the general election. While the politicians argue, the employer has to find a way to decide whether the job candidate in front of him or her has anything to offer other than academic knowledge bolted on to basic ignorance. Even if the applicant has a degree, can an employer take literacy and numeracy for granted? Or should some sort of pre-employment aptitude test be the norm?

Jeremy Langley sees about 350 CVs a week, as head of the Graduate Recruitment Company, and he is unimpressed by standards. 'The more technical the degree, the worse the basic skills. Trying to find an IT specialist who can write a competent report, let alone one who has any interpersonal skills, is extraordinarily difficult.' Hence screening through demonstrations of practical competence is a growth area for Langley's company.

In Ayrshire, however, Kenneth Ross finds that the standard of those applying for jobs at Digital Equipment is pretty good. Ross, the company's human resources consultant, concedes that 'they come to us as a clean slate - we give them the skills and attributes we need. We look for the basics of good spelling and handwriting, and they are fine.' Ross sees no need to put applicants through anything but a one-to-one interview, where the interviewer has ample opportunity to look for clear evidence of basic numeracy and literacy skills.

The recruitment process for long-haul travel specialist Trailfinders is not really centred at all around paper qualifications. …

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