A Brief History of the Job Interview

A Brief History of the Job Interview

24 May 2017

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Although the history of roles or jobs within in society date back all the way to the hunter gatherer in the stone age, the job interview and application process are slightly more recent than that.

As human beings progressed, and started to advance in cultural development, these roles and jobs began to be assigned to selected individuals and then passed down generation to generation. If your father was a black smith, you would study to be the succeeding blacksmith, and so on.

Over a millennium later “job opening” would emerge when there was no “heir” available to whom a tradesman could pass along his knowledge. An apprenticeship opening would arise and a youth would move in with an artisan and learn his craft. The practice of apprenticeship goes back all the way to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).

This was the case for many years to follow, mainly up until in the huge industrial revolution era that swept across America in which many large factory openings meant job opening became abundant. However, the only interview or job application process for these were turning up to the factory in mass and hopping you were picked for that days’ shift.

It wasn’t truly until the 1920’s that there were enough educated individuals entering the work-force that employers started to realise they could be a bit more selective. In tandem with new laws and regulations about worker treatment coming in to place, employers quickly realised they couldn’t have as many labourers, so therefore would get their money’s worth by picking the best and most qualified and experienced.

However, it was 1921 when none other than inventor Thomas Edison pioneered the recruitment world by creating a ‘test’ for all prospective employees after becoming increasingly frustrated that the college graduates who met with him seeking employment always seemed to lack knowledge comparable to his own. And since then the rest is history.

Now within the last decade the birth of advanced technology the interview and application process of a possible job has truly progressed to a new level. More and more organisations are replacing the previous traditional interview with a phone call or webcam interview, or at the very least implementing one or both in to their ever-growing length of hiring process.

One pub in Dublin took it to a new level by utilising the sudden popularisation of the phone app ‘Snapchat’, asking job candidates to video themselves for the max given time of 10 seconds on the app and sending to the pub explaining in the short time why they would be right for the job.

As for the future of interviews, technology is bringing several benefits to companies willing to use it rather than the traditional method. Unlike face-to-face interviews, video interviews and screenings don't have travel costs and allow for scheduling at everyone's convenience.  In fact, video interviews can save as much as 67% on travel costs for HR departments compared to more conventional interview and recruiting techniques.

Some companies have taken video interview technology even further by creating software platforms specifically for screening candidates. Platforms such as RIUS, KiraTalent, and Tazio which allows another benefit to companies of being able to record questions, review answers at any time, and share them with others. 

If you need help with preparing or carrying out your recruitment process get in touch with our team in the link below who are always happy to hear and help, they’ll talk you through any queries and set up an appointment if necessary. Click here to meet our recruiters. 




Written By Alex Hunt


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