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Can a job application fail due to bad grammar or spelling errors?

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If I find typos in a letter or resume, I immediately disqualify the candidate from consideration. Is that too harsh?

If you can’t write a typo-free note for an important correspondence such as to a prospective employer, then they will likely disqualify you from consideration, assuming they caught the error. I would — unless you are someone I really want to hire and it was a debatable grammatical mistake or a minor spelling error. Sadly, poor writing and editing are common, forcing the bar lower. I would definitely bring it to the candidate’s attention to see their reaction and hope it would prevent him or her from making that mistake again.

Last week’s column about the merits of sending thank-you notes after an interview sparked a great e-mail debate. I want to thank you for such great feedback and your additional questions, which I will attempt to answer here.

Most of you seem to disagree with my position that you should be disqualified from consideration if you don’t send a thank-you note after an interview. One reader said that I am “a dinosaur.” Well, “Jurassic Park” is a great movie and if I were a dinosaur I’d like to be a T. Rex.


Another said that it was evidence of my “narcissism” that I disqualified applicants for not sending me a note. What are you trying to say? That it isn’t all about me? Puh-lease! Actually, it truly isn’t about me, but the character and emotional intelligence of the candidate, particularly if they are experienced. To those who asked if I am a “pretend HR executive,” no, but I do like to pretend that I am a really good singer.

As for answers to the less personal questions, yes, thank-you notes can be sent via e-mail. They should be used to amplify the strengths that you discussed in the interview as well as your interest in the position. I do agree that it is rude for employers to ghost applicants, as some of you pointed out, and courtesy does indeed go both ways. So thank you for writing and keep those opinions coming.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at



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