Does Emphasizing Different Types of Person–Environment Fit in Online Job Ads Influence Application Behavior and Applicant Quality? Evidence from a Field Experiment
- 1.8k Downloads
Grounded in person–environment fit theory, this field experiment was designed to test the effects of job advertisements emphasizing information about demands–abilities (D–A) or needs–supplies (N–S) fit on the size and quality of the applicant pool. The wording used in 56 actual job ads was manipulated to emphasize D–A or N–S fit, and data were collected about application behavior and applicant quality based on ratings of the resumes submitted by 991 applicants. Other study hypotheses were tested using survey data collected from a subsample (n = 91).
Job ads emphasizing N–S fit, rather than D–A fit, elicited more applications (relative to job ad views) and a higher quality applicant pool. Analyses of survey data provided support for mediated and moderated effects that provide insight into how and for whom N–S fit information in job ads is ultimately linked to greater attraction.
The findings indicate that recruiting organizations can craft job ads to emphasize specific types of fit and favorably affect applicants’ perceived fit, attraction, and application behavior, as well as the quality of the applicant pool.
This study is one of only a few field experiments containing manipulations of the content of job ads in the recruitment literature. The distinction between two important fit constructs that have received surprisingly little empirical attention in recruitment contexts was found to have effects on application behavior and applicant quality—two critically important, yet rarely examined outcomes.
KeywordsRecruitment Internet Job advertisement Person–environment fit Person–job fit
- Athey, R. (2004). It’s 2008: Do you know where your talent is? New York, NY: Deloitte & Touche.Google Scholar
- Barber, A. E. (1998). Recruiting employees: Individual and organizational perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Beach, L. R., & Mitchell, T. R. (1996). Image theory, the unifying perspective. In L. R. Beach (Ed.), Decision making in the workplace: A unified perspective (pp. 1–20). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.Google Scholar
- Chapman, D. S., & Borodenko, N. (2006). Targeting recruiting efforts at the individual, occupational and universal level. In C. Harold (Chair), The rules of attraction: What, when and why applicants choose. Symposium conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Dallas, TX.Google Scholar
- Edwards, J. R. (1991). Person–job fit: A conceptual integration, literature review, and methodological critique. In C. L. Cooper & I. T Robertson (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (vol. 6, pp. 283–357). Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Highhouse, S., & Hoffman, J. R. (2001). Organizational attraction and job choice. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 16, 37–64.Google Scholar
- Holland, J. L. (1985). Making vocational choices: A theory of careers (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Kristof-Brown, A., & Guay, R. P. (2011). Person–environment fit. APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Vol 3: Maintaining, expanding, and contracting the organization (pp. 3–50). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, US.Google Scholar
- Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 123–205). New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Rynes, S. L. (1991). Recruitment, job choice, and post-hire consequences: A call for new research directions. In M. D. Dunnette & L. M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 399–444). Paolo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
- Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown, L. Brooks, et al. (Eds.), Career choice and development (pp. 197–261). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar