Bad Grades

by Evil HR Lady on February 7, 2010

i found ur id on;line and found that u ans evil hr question. i am struck with a question in interview of “why my grades are so low”. and also cant find an ans where a positive mindset is going to be created in mind of the interviewer. i am a law graduate.

You know why you can’t come up with a positive answer? Because your grades are low because you don’t care one whit about them. Or at least you didn’t until now when you are in need of actual employment.

How do I know this? Because you did a Google search, found my blog and thought I could solve all your problems (and I could, if I wanted to!), and you didn’t even bother to capitalize the first letter of every sentence. Oy.

Your lack of caring is coming through loud and clear in your resume, your GPA, and your interviews. I guarantee it.

It’s not about coming up with some magic answer. It’s about who you are. Some people have low grades but will make fabulous employees. They have drive and determination and had some hardship that they needed to overcome, or had to work two jobs to get through school or something. You can’t even be bothered to use proper punctuation when you are asking someone you don’t know to do a favor for you for free.

You need to start caring. You need to vow to never (and I mean NEVER) write another e-mail like this to anyone. I don’t care if your friends all do it. You are now a grown up and grown ups don’t communicate like this. (I know, I’ll get comments about how someone is a super VP making $300,000 a year and writes like this, well bully to them, but it’s not the norm and don’t think for a minute that you can get away with this.)

If you write like this in your personal communications it will spill over into your job hunt. The attitude shows.

You need to be able to answer this question by stating the truth about why you got bad grades and what you are doing now to overcome that particular flaw. There’s a standard question about your weaknesses–well this is yours. Overcome it.

Honest. It’s a tough market out there and jobs are not readily available. If you want any chance at all, you have to prove yourself. Your transcript won’t do it for you. Now, go out and change your attitude, and learn to use the shift key.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob February 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm

EHRL, I think you've been suckered. There's no way a law graduate (heck, even someone who's *gotten in* to undergrad, let alone law school) would write like this. This is just a troll.

Reply

Evil HR Lady February 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Perhaps, but I used to teach upper divison under graduate courses and let me tell you, some of those students–well, let's just said that their grades weren't so good in my class.

Reply

soonerscotty February 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Perhaps I'm being suckered, but the writing in the question seems to be from someone who isn't fluent in English. Perhaps you know from whence the writer comes EHRL???

So, while I'm not arguing with anything you've said…as I agree that anyone who has a law degree (no matter where they're from) should be able to address a question about their grades…I wonder if too much import is being given to the person's grammar when English may not be their first language.

I sincerely hope this question doesn't come from someone whose first language is English…or else we may all be screwed!

Reply

human February 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm

It does read like it has been written by a person for whom English is a second language.

But most other languages do use capital letters, right? And they don't put semicolons in the middle of words, right? It's still carelessly written.

Also my word verification is "sucks."

Reply

Unemployed Gal February 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Wow. Just…wow. I sure hope this is a prank. My brain was hurting by the third word. I thought for sure that this was from some 15-year-old trying to get a part-time job. And then:

“i am a law graduate.”

OP, please tell us what law school gave you a diploma, so we never hire an alumnus as an attorney.

I doubt this is a foreign language issue, unless there’s a country out there with “tween txtspk” as the national language. Immigrants may mix up syntax or conjugation, but they can find the damn shift key.

Reply

Evil HR Lady February 7, 2010 at 10:01 pm

For the record, I have no problem with non-native English speakers who make grammatical errors when writing. I'm trying to learn German and heaven knows I made grammatical errors all day long.

But, no capitalization is a big indicator of laziness. No English as a second language class teaches you to only write in lower case.

I also suspect English isn't a first language, but if this person is this sloppy in English, he/she is probably sloppy in his/her native language as well.

Reply

The Gold Digger February 8, 2010 at 1:46 am

I have been emailing with the lawyer who is doing our will. I have addressed her as "Ms Doe" and used proper business English with her. She has not once used my name once, first or last. She starts her emails with "Hello," then proceeds. She has made at least one punctuation error ("cant" for "can't"). I have met her. She is a native English speaker.

Anyone can make a typo, but I am not pleased at all with her not using my name. Basic professionalism, people.

She also has the funny quirk of calling herself "Attorney Jane Doe." As in, when she introduced herself the first time she met, she said, "I'm attorney Jane Doe." Really? Like I was expecting someone else after I'd been kept waiting 20 minutes in the conference room?

She does the same thing leaving me voice messages. "This is attorney Jane Doe." Because I can't figure out who Jane Doe is otherwise calling about MY WILL.

I will be changing lawyers as soon as we are done with this issue.

Yes, we got her through my husband's group legal plan at work (the one we will be cancelling as soon as the will is done). Why do you ask?

Reply

The Gold Digger February 8, 2010 at 2:14 am

My point was that lawyers can write bad emails.

Reply

Elizabeth February 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

Gold Digger I think you've made the point that EHRL has been trying to make. You don't care for the unprofessional way this attorney communicates, so law degree or not, you will not hire them once this contract is up. Just as no one seems to want to hire the e mailer above.

Reply

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Looks like this was written by someone who texts all day long. The "u" & "ans" are dead give aways that they are too lazy to type out full words. The OP knew enough to use quotes, but doesn't look like they proofread their work.

Even when texting I use proper English but that's just me.

Reply

Erica February 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I wanted to stand up and applaud when I read this response.

Reply

Twitchh February 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I agree with EHRL: This is a "lack of caring" issue from a youngish person who text messages and/or games a lot but who is inexperienced with the adult world. They lack even the most fleeting, tenuous grasp on the concept of professionalism.

Or, in their terms: "++ erhl… wat a n00b!!" :-)

Reply

Unemployed Gal February 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

ehrl totaly pwnd teh n00b!!! lolz

I mean, well done, Madam. Excellent response.

I showed the OP’s message to my husband, and his jaw hit the floor.

Reply

Katherine February 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

My ex is a lawyer and writes at least casual emails/texts like this. He didn't get bad grades though. (I think it's ridiculous, even casually, I'm just saying that it happens).

Reply

Film Co. Lawyer February 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I am a lawyer & I also call shenanigans on this person. Even someone attending the lowest ranked school knows the basic rules of grammar & no foreigner I've ever dealt with wrote in 'net speak.

Knowing that grades & school attended are usually the "end all, be all" in that field (as in no law firm EVER bothers looking at anything else, including whether the person has any street smarts or rapport w/clients), I'd also suggest this person find a non-legal career that doesn't require business English ASAP. This type of person should be waiting tables.

Reply

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

If you don't mind, I'm going to show this to my high school seniors, who seem to be under the impression that I'm the only stick in the mud who cares about proper written communication!

Reply

Unemployed Gal February 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Thank you, Anonymous Teacher, for trying to reach these clueless pre-adults. Obviously, the OP’s high school (and grad school!) failed him.

For the students who think this net speak is at all appropriate, I recommend dropping out now and applying at McDonald’s. If you can push the Big Mac-shaped button, you’ll have a long, illiterate career. After five years, you might even make it up to fry duty.

Don’t waste your money on college unless you are willing to communicate like an adult.

Reply

Ben Eubanks February 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Smackdown. Boo-ya.

I received a similar request fairly recently. Probably the same lazy person who's looking for a magic bean to solve the problem.

Rock it, EHRL.

Reply

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I guess to answer the OP's question: Take your GPA off your resume if it is so bad.

Reply

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

If OP's personal presentation is anything like their writing, even McDonalds won't want them. McD's, like most other employers, wants people who can fluently speak the local language, dress smartly, be polite, turn up to work on time and work hard. Bad grades suggest OP can't or doesn't work hard, so my guess is that the interviewer wants to know if the grades are bad for a good reason or because they are a slacker.

So, OP, come up with a good answer that will show the interviewer you are going to work harder than the other candidates and make more money for them. You say you are a lawyer, which involves arguing a case. So you need to make your case better than all the other unemployed law graduates with better grades from better colleges who did more extra-curricular activities and volunteered in the homeless shelter while holding down two jobs to pay their school fees.

Reply

Rob February 9, 2010 at 6:59 am

I find it hard to believe anyone takes this seriously. As a college undergrad, I am almost insulted that people think that my generation (even law school grads) would ever write like this. I don't care what you've heard in the media, real people – at least of the caliber that complete undergraduate work and go on to law school – simply don't write like this. I am really almost offended that people would so readily accept this e-mail.

Reply

marion February 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Lucy
http://dataentryjob-s.com

Reply

kerouac February 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Whether or not a law school graduate would know better is not the point… it's whether this writer cares enough to use what knowledge he/she has. I interview people all the time with great experience who are too lazy to list more than one previous position on their applications. I have received follow-up e-mails – AFTER the interview they had with me – that address me as "Hiring Manager".

Some people are just born to be unemployable.

Reply

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

@Rob:

The media does exaggerate but unfortunately personal experience proves that there are people who write like this. It's not just your generation either. Plenty of older people think that 'net' or 'text' speak is appropriate regardless of the situation.

This is why people end up being Grammar Nazis.

@EHRL: You busted them up! I'm surprised you answered an e-mail written so poorly at all but it let you make a very good point.

Reply

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

@marion

I'm surprised you haven't been booted off of Blogger yet. Do you really have nothing better to do than to spam every blog on the Internet? Go away!

Reply

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Rob – Maybe most graduates don't write like this, but some do, and they give the rest of you/us a bad name.

I used to work for a recruitment firm. We would often get candidate CV's claiming to hold a "Batchelor" degree. Either they were lying, or they were too stupid to copy the word "Bachelor" off the degree certificate (they claimed to have graduated from the same university as me, and that's how mine is spelt).

We'd also have people applying for FMCG marketing roles who claimed they would love to work for such a well-known company.

P.S. in some countries, Batchelor's is a brand of soup. I could be wrong, but I don't know of any country were it is a qualification worth having.

Reply

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I find it hard to believe anyone takes this seriously. As a college undergrad, I am almost insulted that people think that my generation (even law school grads) would ever write like this. … I am really almost offended that people would so readily accept this e-mail.

I could accept it, because I've been emailed by former students asking for advice, references, etc. in exactly that style.

I have no idea what your generation is, but the folks I'm talking about are 18-30 years old, currently in competitive undergrad programs at major universities (Ivy League and others).

Reply

HR February 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

This is surprising, but not shocking. You should see some of the cover letters I read. There are all kinds of "basic" spelling and grammar mistakes. And, I don't mean from just recent grads.

Reply

Ms. R February 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I agree with you EHRL! Poorly written emails are my biggest peeve, especially in the workplace. You did this "recent law grad" a favor by responding to him/her the way that you did. I'm sure that this writer has displayed a lax attitude not only in writing, but in the way in which he has presented himself during the interview process. If he's interviewing in the judicial system, that will not be tolerated!

Reply

M. Deanna February 13, 2010 at 6:16 am

I agree with everyone that the email could have been prepared better. I had a law professor who used an entire class period, of one hour and fifteen minutes, to discuss the proper way for law students and attorneys to compose emails. Presumably he received an email similar to the one at issue and was very irritated. However, a poorly written email does not indicate this person is incapable of being a good attorney (assuming bar passage, notice he only said "law graduate"). Also, for those non-attorneys in the blogosphere, law school grades are NOTHING like undergraduate and graduate grades. You are not graded on your performance alone, but rather are graded against 100-200 other people. The performance required to earn an "A" grade is NOT significantly different from what is required to earn a "C" grade. Furthermore, most law professors are mandated to only give out so many superior grades, which forces students toward the median or below regardless of actual absorption of the material and performance in class. For those who have not endured law school and the extreme environment that it is, please keep that in mind before you accuse someone of being lazy for having low law school grades without having all the facts.

Reply

Helena Blakemore February 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I'm currently dealing with a grievance submitted by a deaf employee. Their written English is similar to this (it's very hard to read). The ends of words are missed off and there are some spelling mistakes you wouldn't tolerate with other formal written submissions.

Reply

Anonymous February 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm

M. Deanna, that's called a "curve," and it's actually quite common in grading outside of law school; nor do all law schools employ a curve.

And while it's possible that somebody with bad grades and unreadable emails could still be a good attorney in some ways, they're simply not as promising a candidate as somebody who managed to achieve better results in both categories, and against whom they're undoubtedly competing. Especially since the person already knows s/he has problematically low grades and still hasn't made the effort to pull the communication skills together, which suggests a level of self-indulgence and ignorance that's going to make the candidate a problem in their own right.

Reply

Tom Crane March 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Good advice, Not-so-Evil HR Lady.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: