CEO Requires Good Grammar

At first glance, one CEO’s hiring requirement–excellent grammar, regardless of the job–may seem a bit extreme. But Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, the largest online repair community, and founder of Dozuki www.dozuki.com, a technical documentation company, makes a good case for his stance.

As one whose ears scream “Ouch!” when I hear or read all-too-common grammatical errors, I understand and sympathize with Wiens’ irritation at improper use of the English language. And after reading his rationale (for starters, he says people who regularly make grammar mistakes (and I would add spelling errors) “look stupid”), I have to agree with the points he makes.

In Wiens’ article on the HBR Blog Network, his reasons for the grammar-centric policy include the following:

  1. those who “write for a living” need to be grammar experts
  2. good grammar establishes credibility, especially in an age centered on online communications
  3. people who don’t pay attention to the details of grammar don’t pay attention to the details of their jobs, either–regardless of their specific responsibilities

He sums up his perspective by saying, “In fact, when it comes to my whole business, details are everything…. All applicants say they’re detail-oriented; I just make my employees prove it.”

 

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