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Grammar doesn’t matter (sigh)

It’s always wise to avoid embarrassing writing mistakes. But what’s the real impact of bad grammar on job post performance?

Kieran Snyder
May 15, 2017 · 3 min read

Not long ago I was showing Textio to someone for the first time, and they noticed a misspelling in the Amazon job post they’d asked me to demo.

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The other person was surprised that the overall Textio Score didn’t go up much when I fixed the error — in fact, Textio gave me more points for changing synergies and stakeholders than it did for fixing the obvious misspelling. “Oh well, I guess most engineers hate corporate speak more than they hate bad grammar!” he cheerfully concluded.

Much has been written about the impact of misspellings and bad grammar on your professional reputation. While it is always solid advice to make sure you’re writing job posts without embarrassing mistakes, this example inspired us to take a look at the question: What’s the real impact of bad grammar on job post performance?

To explore this question, we took a look at job posts published by Textio customers where Textio’s predictive engine knows the posts’ final outcomes:

Then we asked Textio to classify the posts according to their number of grammatical errors and their overall Textio Score.

Put another way, we wanted to know: Can a good grammar checker get you the same job post performance that domain-specific guidance based on real customer outcomes can?

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You should always use good grammar in your job postings, but it probably won’t impact your hiring outcomes.

Turns out, candidates don’t care that much about your grammar. Across industries and geographies, job posts with grammar mistakes do not perform any better or worse statistically than job posts without grammar mistakes. Both good-grammar and bad-grammar job posts attract the same number of applicants with the same qualifications, and the role takes the same amount of time to fill.

On the other hand, potential applicants are highly influenced by the specific language you use to describe your job opportunity. Job posts with a Textio Score of 70 or higher —the posts that follow Textio’s tailored guidance on language for their role type and location — fill over 20% faster than those with Textio Scores below 70.

Job posts with a Textio Score of 70+ fill over 20% faster than those that score below 70.

In other words, if you’re trying to hire engineers in Seattle, you can get away with a Lamda once in a while, but you’d better stop talking about synergy, stakeholders, and strategic planning.

Learn more about how language impacts your hiring at textio.com

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