Effects of recruiter friendliness and job attribute information on recruitment outcomes

Date02 September 2019
Pages1491-1506
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/PR-01-2018-0037
Publication Date02 September 2019
AuthorCristina M. Giannantonio,Amy E. Hurley-Hanson,Sharon L. Segrest,Pamela L. Perrewé,Gerald R. Ferris
SubjectHr & organizational behaviour,Global hrm
Effects of recruiter friendliness
and job attribute information on
recruitment outcomes
Cristina M. Giannantonio and Amy E. Hurley-Hanson
Chapman University, Orange, California, USA
Sharon L. Segrest
University of South Florida St Petersburg,
St Petersburg, Florida, USA, and
Pamela L. Perrewé and Gerald R. Ferris
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the effects of recruiter friendliness
and both verifiable and non-verifiable job attributes in the recruitment process.
Design/methodology/approach In total, 498 participants watched a videoed simulation of a recruitment
interview and completed a questionnaire. Three-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the
interaction and main effect hypotheses.
Findings Applicant reactions were more favorable with a friendly recruiter. The more favorable the
verifiable job attribute information (JAI), the more favorable the applicant reactions were to the employment
opportunity. Compared to applicants who received negative or no non-verifiable JAI, applicants who received
positive or mixed non-verifiable JAI were more attracted to the recruiter, perceived the employment
opportunity as more desirable, and were more willing to pursue the employment opportunity. Reactions were
most favorable in the positive non-verifiable JAI condition, less favorable in the mixed condition, and least
favorable in the negative condition. Surprisingly, the no informationmean was above the negative
information condition.
Originality/value This fully crossed 2 ×3×4 experiment simultaneously examined 2 levels of recruiter
friendliness, 3 levels of verifiable job attributes and 4 levels of non-verifiable job attributes. The five
dependent variables were attraction to the recruiter, attraction to the employment opportunity, willingness to
pursue the employment opportunity, the perceived probability of receiving a job offer and the number of
positive inferences made about unknown organizational characteristics. Previous research examining the
effects of employment inducements and job attributes were conducted in field settings where it is difficult to
control the amount and favorability of JAI applicants receive.
Keywords Quantitative, Recruitment, Signaling theory, Inducements, Recruiter friendliness,
Verifiable and non-verifiable job attributes
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Organizations often use recruitment activities and employment inducements to increase
organizational attractiveness and attract qualified talent (Ferris et al., 2002; Bolander et al.,
2017; Gomes and Neves, 2011; Swider et al., 2015; Thunnissen and Van Arensbergen, 2015).
Research on the effects of recruitment activities and employment inducements on applicant
reactions have been mixed. Whereas some research suggests that recruitment activities
influence applicant reactions (Breaugh, 2013; Chapman and Webster, 2006; Uggerslev et al.,
2012), other studies have found that recruitment effects are usually overshadowed by
employment inducements which can be deal-breakers(Osborn, 1990). Some researchers
posit that applicants use rational economic models and only apply to jobs that meet
minimum requirements or a reservation wage(Chapman et al., 2005). This suggests a need
to simultaneously study the effects of recruitment activities and employment inducements
on applicant reactions.
Personnel Review
Vol. 48 No. 6, 2019
pp. 1491-1506
© Emerald PublishingLimited
0048-3486
DOI 10.1108/PR-01-2018-0037
Received 29 January 2018
Revised 22 August 2018
Accepted 15 October 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0048-3486.htm
1491
Effects of
recruiter
friendliness
and JAI
Previous research examining the effects of employment inducements and job attributes
was conducted in field settings where it is difficult to control the amount and favorability of
job attribute information ( JAI) applicants receive. Furthermore, previous research often has
failed to differentiate among the different types of job and organizational attributes that
comprise employment inducements (Low and Bordia, 2011). In the past, job attributes were
often treated as equal when their influence on applicant reactions was examined. Although
recruitment effects may disappear when applicants are provided with salary information, it
is unknown whether the effects of other kinds of attribute information (e.g. friendliness of
coworkers, organizational climate) are also short-lived.
In addition, the personableness or friendliness (empathy, warmth) of the recruiter has
been found to affect applicantsreaction to the interview, and their attitude toward the
organization (Chapman and Webster, 2006; Larsen and Phillips, 2002; Rynes and Miller,
1983). This aligns with signaling theory, where applicants use the recruiters behavior as a
signal of their likelihood of receiving a job offer, the likelihood of accepting a job offer and
their attraction to the job (Breaugh 2013; Goltz and Giannantonio, 1995; Rynes, 1991; Singh,
2011). As an organizational representative, the recruiter is often symbolic of what other
organizational members are like, what the organization is like and the degree of perceived
person-organization fit (Breaugh, 2017). Research suggests that applicants are more
attracted to recruiters with pleasant personalities (Ryan and Ployhart, 2000; Wiles and
Spiro, 2004), and recruiter personality in general has been shown to influence applicants
perceptions of organizational attractiveness, willingness to pursue or accept a job offer, and
perceptions of receiving a job offer (Chapman et al., 2005; Turban et al., 1995).
The purpose of the present study was to simultaneously examine the effect of recruiter
friendliness and employment inducements on applicant reactions to the recruitment
interview. A laboratory experiment was conducted using a 2 (recruiter friendliness) ×3
(verifiable JAI)×4 (non-verifiable JAI) design. Five reactions to a videoed recruitment
interview were assessed: attraction to the recruiter, attraction to the employment
opportunity, willingness to pursue the employment opportunity, the perceived probability
of receiving a job offer and the number of positive inferences made about unknown
organizational characteristics.
Theoretical foundations and hypothesis development
Signaling theory and recruitment processes
Spence (1974, 1973) developed signaling theory in economics to focus on situations where
incomplete or ambiguous information exists, and intentional efforts are made to persuade
others. Signaling theory refers to signals as specific behaviors that transmit information
about individualsabilities and intentions to the marketplace. Characteristics of
individuals, organizations and/or jobs can serve as signals transmitted to the
marketplace, which serve to reduce the uncertainty of stakeholders, and attract talented
job candidates (in the case of the recruitment process). As noted above, signaling theory
has been used in recruitment research where applicants use recruitersbehaviors as
signals of favorable prospective job outcomes (i.e. their likelihood of receiving a job offer,
the likelihood of accepting a job offer and the applicantsattraction to the job (Goltz and
Giannantonio, 1995; Rynes, 1991; Singh, 2011).
Signaling promotes attentional focus by increasing the salience of stimuli, or
informational signals, in the work environment (Tayl or and Fiske, 1978), which
distinguishes those informational signals in observerseyes as characteristics of jobs for
which applicants might be applying and the favorableness of the work environments in
those organizations (Ferris and Judge, 1991). Demonstrating a pleasantly favorable
interpersonal style, friendly recruiters can make salient and transmit critical contextual
qualities and information to others (Fiske and Taylor, 1984). The effective presentation of
1492
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48,6

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