How To Kill An Interview

Written by on August 11, 2013 in Blog, Grammar, Resumes with 6 Comments

There’s a Lot of Reasons…

…why I’m writing this post, and the heading of this sentence is one of the primary ones. To a growing number of people, the phrase, “There’s a lot of reasons,” and others like it are okay. They’re acceptable. But to other people, in particular, resume screeners and gatekeepers…let’s just say it will make them cringe. It might even kill an interview opportunity.

What’s Rong Wit Dat?

The correct way to write that phrase would be, “There are a lot of reasons…” We use are because reasons is plural. You wouldn’t say, “We is going to the store,” or “I has a reason for doing that.”

The misuse of there’s has grown to be one of the worst mistakes in language these days, followed closely by the misuse of here’s, as in “Here’s the reports you asked for.” And even, where’s, as in “Where’s the reports I asked for?”

In all of the above cases the plural form should have been used. “Here are the reports you asked for.” And “Where are the reports I asked for?”

I even saw this mistake on a big site in a post that was talking about—are you ready for this—grammar mistakes.

In case you’re wondering, “what’s it gonna’ hurt?” Let me give you a little insight from someone on the other side of the desk. I’m a headhunter. I know. A not-so-noble profession by many standards. But some of us take our work seriously. If a client gives me an assignment, and that assignment calls for a candidate with “excellent communication skills,” I take that requirement seriously as well.

So? You Might Ask

So when I see a cover letter that starts out with “There’s a lot of reasons why I fit this job…” There are two thoughts that cross my mind, and only two:
– The candidate doesn’t know they made a mistake using there’s instead of there are.
– The candidate doesn’t care they made a mistake.

The problem is that no matter which of those thoughts is correct, it doesn’t bode well for the candidate. If I think they don’t know the proper way to say it, I’m forced to wonder why I’d hire them. And if I think they don’t care, I definitely won’t hire them.

Bottom Line

This advice is not restricted to cover letters or resumes. Anything you write is subject to scrutiny and judgment, even your emails. And let’s face it, you never know who will see them.

I’m sure that the majority of you have heard the old maxim, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” And I’m sure you take that to heart in your job. But try to remember, that rule applies to language as well.

 

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About the Author

About the Author:

When I’m not headhunting, or writing, I help my wife take care of our animal sanctuary. At last count we had 45 animals—11 dogs, 1 horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar named Dennis who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.
For information on my mystery/suspense books, go to giacomog.com

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6 Reader Comments

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  1. avatar Joy says:

    Thanks Jim for all the good advice. Now if only they would properly train the “Hiring Managers”.

    • avatar giammatteo
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks, Joy. There are a lot of great hiring managers out there, but like anything else, there are some who aren’t as experienced in hiring. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. avatar Naomi B. says:

    Love this, Jim. On the flip side, I have to say how many times I have gone in for EXECUTIVE positions (usually where I would be interviewing with a director or higher exec) and the post is laden with misspellings and grammar errors. It drives me absolutely crazy.

  3. avatar Jack says:

    You are wrong,
    “There’s a lot of reasons”.
    We are not talking about “reasons” (plural).
    We are talking about “a lot”, and “a lot” is singular.
    “There ARE LOTS (pl) of reasons”, but
    “There IS A LOT (sing) of reasons.”
    Even wild boar named Dennis could see the difference…

    • avatar giammatteo
      Twitter:
      says:

      Jack, thanks so much for commenting, and even more for the kudos to Dennis. I’m pretty certain the post is correct, though. It’s because in a sentence that begins with THERE IS/ARE (and a couple of other situations), the real subject comes after the verb.

      So what you are really saying here is, “Reasons is…” And of course we wouldn’t say that, we’d say, “Reasons are.” In addition, “A lot…” can be both singular and plural depending on what noun follows it.

      See this article for clarification, as they explain it better than I would in a few sentences. http://www.redlinels.com/2014/05/06/is-a-lot-singular-or-plural/

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