Recruitment Information Source, Content and Organisational Attractiveness: The Role of Jobseekers Decision-Making Style

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Yu-Lun Liu


Recruitment is a mission-critical process for human resources management. Due to the high turnover rate and lack of specific skill requirements, the retail sector has an acute need to hire new employees to fill vacancies. Therefore, recruiting a relatively large number of new employees in a limited period of time is crucial for companies in the retail industry. Existing studies have suggested that by designing recruitment activities and utilising appropriate recruitment sources to promote and announce a job, employers are able to attract jobseekers to apply for jobs and join the organisation. The social communication theory highlights four major elements involved in any information communication: the information communicator (source), the information receiver (audience/jobseeker), the response (the receiver's attitude towards the information received and the decision taken to apply or not) and the stimulus (the message/information content that is transmitted by the communicator). An individual's 'attitude' towards the recruitment information can significantly affect their 'intention' of making a job application decision, and this intention can significantly influence their actual decision-making 'behaviour', such as accepting a job offer. Consequently, most of these studies focus on the effectiveness of the stimulus (e.g., how the design of the recruitment information content can attract more jobseekers).However, there are divergent results in the literature. For instance, numerous researchers have attempted to investigate how different recruitment information sources can impact jobseekers' application and recruitment decisions. Some researchers claim that the formal, company-controlled, recruitment information sources, such as advertising and corporate websites, are less effective than informal. By contrast, other researchers indicate that formal sources are used and accepted more often by jobseekers because this information is regarded as considered to be more objective and reliable than the experience-based route (e.g., word-of-mouth). Some researchers suggest that employers should provide objective, hard information (confirmable information such as salary and location) and provide the message in the employer's tone' using company-controlled sources; thereby not to convey too much soft, experience-based information from employees. Only very limited research has considered the influences of receiver's differences (individual differences) on the stimulus (content) and communications (source) as a moderator. The receivers' differences could be the essential information that can be used to interpret the divergent findings in the literature. Psychologists have demonstrated that individual differences will influence personal values and will be translated into personal preferences. Decision-making research suggests that every decision-making process involves individuals' decision habits and preferences. People tend to keep their decision habits and preferences throughout different decisions. Therefore, individual traits should be considered when seeking to understand how jobseekers evaluate information to make decisions. A well-known classification of individual differences that has been shown to affect decision-making preference is an individual's decision-making style: maximisers (those who always try to find the best possible result and carefully evaluate all types of information from different sources) and satisficers (who aim for good-enough results and tend to save time resources). The present study aims to address the gap in the existing literature by exploring the possible reactions of different decision-making styles (maximiser vs. satisficer) in response to recruitment messages with different lengths, valences, forms and provider backgrounds that are provided from various sources.Study 1 and Study 2 are employed as groundwork studies to provide a deeper understanding of maximiser-style and satisficer-style retail-trade jobseekers' traits. The results illustrate retail trade jobseekers' job-information-seeking preferences and the relationship between an individual's maximising tendency and other cognitive-based individual characteristics. The results suggest that employers should not exclude either maximiser-style or satisficer-style jobseekers because the current maximiser-style and satisficer-style employees demonstrated the same levels of job satisfaction with no particular group showed a higher or lower turnover intention. Based on the findings of Study 1 and Study 2, Chapter 5 starts with a scenario-based experiment (Study 3). This experiment assesses whether, when presented with a realistic job-information-searching scenario of receiving basic job information from a typical formal short job advertisement, maximisers and satisficers differ in their need for further information. It also explores whether further evaluation is required from informal information sources in relation to valence and tie strength. Study 3 leads to the reflection that staff 'word-of-mouth' (SWOM) messages were influential but could not be controlled by organisations. Study 4 expands the findings of Study 3 and tests whether employers can satisfy more maximiser-style and satisficer-style jobseekers' information needs to encourage their perceived organisational attractiveness (OA) by providing more detailed formal job advertisement messages. The findings highlight that more details of hard information could effectively satisfy jobseekers' information needs, even though a group of jobseekers still wanted to search for more experience-based information. However, the findings also show that more detailed messages only slightly increase maximisers' perceived OA and do not increase satisficers' perceived OA.By extending the findings of Study 3 and Study 4, three scenario-based experiments (Study 5.1, Study 5.2 and Study 5.3) are designed to test how employers can attract more maximiser-style and satisficer-style jobseekers by tailoring their recruitment messages. The results demonstrate that the SWOM-formed realistic job preview (RJP) messages with some negative information could best increase jobseekers' perception of source credibility and OA. Furthermore, when maximisers and satisficers looked for different job positions they would perceive the source credibility differently if the background information of the information provider as different.A qualitative-based supplementary study (Study 6) is further conducted to delineate three issues that are not directly measured or not sufficiently clarified in the above-mentioned five studies. This complements Studies 3, 4 and 5 and theoretically enhances the understanding of how jobseekers refer to job recruitment messages and how they evaluate the job information.The results contribute to decision-making theory and social communication theory by demonstrating that the notion of maximisers and satisficers represents a significant and central individual trait in job-application information searching and decision-making in the retail trade. Furthermore, the findings suggest that an individual's decision-making style is an influential moderator for the effectiveness of communication elements. This research also provides a fundamental basis for further studies to apply individual-differences in human resource management field.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2016