Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 267–282 | Cite as

Does Emphasizing Different Types of Person–Environment Fit in Online Job Ads Influence Application Behavior and Applicant Quality? Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Joseph A. SchmidtEmail author
  • Derek S. Chapman
  • David A. Jones



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.


Recruitment Internet Job advertisement Person–environment fit Person–job fit 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph A. Schmidt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Derek S. Chapman
    • 2
  • David A. Jones
    • 3
  1. 1.Edwards School of BusinessUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.School of Business AdministrationUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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