Characters reveal character

     The human resources departments of law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to try and hire the best candidates. Oral interviews, background investigations, psychological testing and polygraphs are par for the course in the hiring process...


     The human resources departments of law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to try and hire the best candidates. Oral interviews, background investigations, psychological testing and polygraphs are par for the course in the hiring process. But Written Inc. of Temecula, California, is offering up another type of examination where a candidate's handwriting characters unwittingly reveal his character.

     Handwriting analysis works the same way as any other body language, and Written Inc. views an individual's handwriting as his Written Body Language. The lines, loops, placement and pressure of written words on the page can reveal just as much if not more about a person than his hand shake, use of eye contact and decorum in an interview setting.

     "We know how to read and interpret handwriting to tell if a person is going to be aggressive, angry, indifferent or enthusiastic," says Richard Vener, president of Written Inc. "We can find things that cannot be found any other way, for example moodiness, disorganization, deceit, aggressiveness and many more."

     Unknown to Written Inc., retired Cpl. Darryl Bolke, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Ontario (California) Police Department, tried to manipulate its Candidate Insight screening system, but it didn't work. He completed three samples -- one in block print; one in cursive, which has not been his chosen writing style for years; and one left-handed, although Bolke is right-handed.

     "Every one of the results came back almost the same, and all the important qualities were exactly the same," says Bolke. "That is when I instantly became a believer. I really tried to mess with the program, and it was right on the money on all three."

     Ryan Vener, vice president of this family-owned company, explains that despite a candidate's best efforts to manipulate the system, the identifiers Written Inc. examines do not change. "Even if the handwriting looks completely different, what we find in the handwriting doesn't change," says Vener. "Candidates can't get away from who they are, so the accuracy is maintained regardless of whether they are trying to fool us or not."

Finding meaning behind the words
     The Written Inc. screening and resultant Candidate Insight Report can be used for both pre- and post-employment purposes. In either case, the individual copies two short paragraphs of supplied text using a ballpoint pen and writing on a flat surface. "We developed these paragraphs to get the maximum amount of information and greatest accuracy," says Ryan.

     Shorter handwriting samples -- such as a sticky note, thank you or threatening piece of fan mail -- also could be used, but especially in a pre-employment setting, Written Inc. prefers the stock two-paragraph submission. "For us to be confident and have some consistency, we prefer to utilize the two paragraphs," says Ryan.

     Once completed by the candidate, the paragraphs are faxed to Written Inc. The handwriting analyst uses a computer program, developed by Richard, to increase the accuracy and speed at which the submissions are examined. "We can do hundreds a day just as accurately or more accurately than someone doing the work by hand," notes Ryan.

     Following analysis a Candidate Insight Report is completed and returned to the client. Listed at the top of the report is a summary of positive, caution, negative and warning traits. Positive traits are desirable regardless of the situation and include flexible, high-energy and innovative. Caution traits indicate a potentially negative trait depending on the circumstances. For example, the Insight Report may identify that a candidate prefers to work alone. This may be a positive or negative attribute given the situation. Negative traits are always undesirable and include poor team player, self-centered and inconsiderate. Warning traits should raise extreme caution for the interviewer. These traits include deception and extreme anger. A given candidate may have traits in each of these four categories or only a select few.

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