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AtWork staffing has witnessed interview innovation over 25 years

What region of the world provides the most cork to the U.S.?

What about sulfuric acid – do you know how it’s made?

Who was Hannibal?

If you struck out on these interview questions, you wouldn’t go to work for Thomas Edison.

For eons, there really were no formal job interviews. Unskilled laborers could easily be replaced, and apprenticeships were used to mold professional craftsmen.

Edison – best known, of course, for inventing the light bulb – is widely credited with creating the first formal baseline interview, and it included the questions above. It was such a revolutionary step in the world of work the questions were leaked and published in the New York Times.

The evolution of the job interview only accelerated from there. The rise of the public Internet, social media and mobile communications devices are among the most noteworthy developments since AtWork staffing was formed 25 years ago and began its growth to its current status as a leading temporary or temp-to-hire staffing agency with offices across the country.

Email became ubiquitous beginning in the early 1990s, and international videoconferencing was perfected by the middle of the decade. This vastly expanded the job candidate pool and made initial screening interviews easier to conduct. Online job sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder appeared on the scene, enabling recruiters to post jobs and candidates to post resumes.

Then came LinkedIn, which actually predated Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn enabled recruiters and hiring manages to better target prospective employees, and continues to be a powerful way to winnow candidates. Facebook and other social media sites also provide a plethora of information used to target, and ultimately select, candidates for open jobs. Continued growth in artificial intelligence continues to refine the winnowing process, and LinkedIn and Facebook together can help recruiters identify – in some cases – most candidates in any given market.

So what’s next? Mobile devices continue to improve in form and function, and can essentially serve as portable personal computers, making the initial application and screening processes move even more quickly.

Artificial intelligence will continue its role in helping hiring managers recruit and make initial contact with candidates.

There will never be a suitable replacement for human interaction, but the rise of technology over the past 25 years and its continued evolution will accelerate the pace to a face-to-face. Holograms may even be utilized in the future, a far cry from the paper-and-pen skills assessment utilized by Thomas Edison.

By the way, here are the answers Edison was looking for:
• The Mediterranean Basin.
• Sulfur is burned and then oxidized with oxygen.
• A Carthaginian general best known for mounting an invasion of the Roman Empire via the Alps with herds of elephants in about 400 BCE.

Thank goodness for Google. We’ve come a long way.

Contact AtWork today for more information on our temporary and temp-to-hire staffing solutions.

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