Origins of Job Application Forms and Some Types of Job Interviews

by Ilana Gershon

Job Application Forms

The military introduced this as a widespread practice starting in 1917, when the Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army developed forms to standardizing practices for evaluating soldiers.  Initially these forms were called application blanks, and were intended to accompany a cover letter that was supposed to be tailored to that particular company. (Thelen 1998: 64)  Prior to the resume and application blank, cover letters could be more generic, but in the 1920s, authors offering job advice began encouraging applicants to write a letter addressed specifically to that company, and ideally, to a specific named potential employer.

Thelen, Erik. 1998. “The Evolution of the Application Letter in America: 1880-1960.”  Phd Thesis. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 

Informational Interviews

The first mention of informational interviews that I can find is in 1975 – the first volume of Women’s Work suggests that women conduct informational interviews about the jobs in which they might be interested.

Behavioral Interview Questions

Tom Janz introduces this approach at a conference in 1977, but only addresses it in print in his 1982 article “Initial Comparisons of Patterned Behavior Description Interviews versus Unstructured Interviews.” in the Journal of Applied Psychology 67(5): 577-580.

Structured Interview Responses

In 1986, Tom Janz had published his book, Behavior Description Interviewing in which he recommended that people deploy the SHARE Model to structure their answers when responding to a behavioral interview.   Over time, this has morphed into at least two other acronyms that I have come across during my fieldwork – the STAR model and the PSR model.

The SHARE model:

S Describe a specific Situation.

H Identify Hindrances or challenges.

A Explain the Action that you took

R Discuss the Results or outcome

E Evaluate or summarize what you learned.

 

PSR Model – I found this more on the West Coast

Problem

Solution

Result

 

STAR Model – I found this more in the Mid-West and on college campuses

Situation

Task

Action

Result

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