Textual analysis is a method to describe and interpret the content, structure and functions of the messages contained in the text. Here, it can be used to differentiate between high and low performers by examining the candidates’ language style and grammar usage. The study is an analysis of high and low performers’ responses and comparison of how these responses vary. You can receive further information by doing textual analysis on five categories that are pronouns, tense, voice, emotions and qualifiers.
First Person Pronouns: The answers of high performers are about 60 percent more in first person pronouns (I, me, and we) than the answers of low performers.
Second Person Pronouns: Low performers’ answers contain about 400 percent more second person pronouns (you, your) than high performers’ answers.
Third Person Pronouns: Low performers use 90 percent more third person pronouns (he, she, and they) than high performers.
Neuter Pronouns: Low performers use 70 percent more neuter pronouns (it, itself) than high performers in their answers.
High performers talk about themselves, about what they did and how they used their attitudes as they have many good experiences to share. However, low performers do not have much of these great attitudinal experience and more like to give vague, hypothetical answers that do not show what and how the person handled the situation.
In addition, study shows that people use less first person pronouns and use more second, third person pronouns when they are lying.
Past Tense: High performers use 40 percent more past tense than low performers when they are answering.
Present Tense: Answers from low performers are 120 percent more present tense than answers from high performers.
Future Tense: Answers from low performers are 70 percent more future tense than answers from high performers.
When you ask a difficult situation that high performers experienced, these people will use past tense as they actually talk to you about the experience, however low performers will speak you in present tense or future tense as they don’t have past experiences to describe the situation and their success.
You can also notice that present and future tense are supported by second and third person pronouns.
Passive voice, in which the object of the sentence changes from the subject who is doing the action to the recipient of the subject, is used up to 50 percent more by people in warning sign category (low performers) than people in the positive signal category. Smarter people speak more directly, with the active voice and low performers try to sound smarter than they actually are.
Positive Emotions: High performers use 25 percent more positive emotions than low performers.
Negative Emotions: Low performers use 90 percent more negative emotions than high performers do.
High performers do not get easily angry or pessimistic compared to low performers. When they do, it is usually caused by low performers but high performers have more constructive channel for doing something about their negative emotions and they are in better control of their feelings.
This is a broad category that contain modifies, limits, hedges, or restrict the meaning of the answer. The list includes adverbs, negation, waffling and absolutes.
Adverbs: Low performers’ answers contain 40 percent more adverb (word ending in –ly, such as quickly, likely, completely…) than the high performers.
High performers’ answers are more direct, factual information, personal and in past tense whereas low performers are prone to qualify their answers. Low performers use adverbs to strengthen their answers, as they do not have real, great things to tell.
Negation: Low performers use 130 percent more negation (no, neither) than high performers.
It is not common to hear positive speech from low performers, partially as they have more negative predisposition and partially to qualify their statement.
Waffling: Low performers use 40 percent more waffling (maybe, perhaps), unnecessary lines than high performers.
Absolutes: Low performers’ answers contain 100 percent more absolutes (always, never, everybody, nobody) than high performers’ answers.
Even though it seems bizarre that waffling and absolutes go hand in hand, they both arise from insecurity.