job interviews
"Who would be invited to your ideal dinner party?" (Image: Unsplash/Tim Gouw)


The purpose of a job interview is to allow an employer to evaluate the personal and professional qualities of a potential employee.


The purpose of the job interview today is as it was at the time of its creation: largely for the amusement of the employer. Originally, Thomas Edison. Although notoriously devout in the creation of his own myth as an inventor, it does seem likely that Edison introduced a crucial nuisance to 20th-century recruitment: the psychometric test.

In 1921, The New York Times reported on the letters of complaint received from “victims” of the employment test, one of whom decried the ordeal not as a “Tom Edison test” but a test of Tom Foolery. “What is the first line in The Aeneid?” he wanted to know. Of cabinet makers, the polymath would ask, “Who was the Roman emperor when Jesus Christ was born?”