EAWOP, May 2009
Santiago de Compostela/Spain
contact details: Christian Bosau phone: +49 221 470-4120
Herbert-Lewin-Str. 2 mail: email@example.com
50931 Cologne/Germany web: http://wisopsy.uni-koeln.de
Organizational image: measured by 17 items that were developed according to
the literature on organizational image, loading on 4 factors (a) standing of the
organization in the market, b) production quality, c) organizational climate,
d) general attractiveness and sympathy)
Employer image: measured by 3 items, e.g. “I could imagine to work for that
Product image: measured by cognitive items (e.g. “I know the products of this
organization”) and affective items (e.g. “I think, the products of the organization are
of high quality”).
Sample & Method:
Scenario-based experiments with repeated measurements (with-in-subject):
a) pre-test: 2 (before & after) x 2 (brand & no-brand organizations) ANOVA with
270 students from the university of Cologne
b) 2 (before & after) x 3 (recruitment database & rejection & invitation to job
interview) ANOVA with 452 students from the university of Cologne
The scenario described that applicants sent their application to an organization,
which took some effort, and after that received an invitation to a job interview, a
rejection or the opportunity to join the recruitment database, respectively.
Results of the main study:
Cable, D.M., & Turban, D.B. (2001). Establishing the dimensions, sources and value of job seekers’ employer knowledge during recruitment. In G.R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel and
human resources management (pp. 115-163). New York: Elsevier Science.
Chambers, B.A. (2002). Applicant reactions and their consequences: review, advice, and recommendations for future research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 4(4), 317-333.
Gilliland, S.W., Groth, M., Baker IV, R.C., Dew, A.F., Polly, L.M., & Langdon, J.C. (2001). Improving applicants’ reactions to rejection letters: An application of fairness theory. Personnel
Psychology, 54, 669-703.
Hausknecht, J.P., Day, D.V., & Thomas, S.C. (2004). Applicant reactions to selection procedures: An updated model and meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 57, 639-683.
Ryan, A.M., & Ployhart, R.E. (2000). Applicants’ perception of selection procedures and decisions: A critical review and agenda for the future. Journal of Management, 26(3), 565-606.
Smither, J.W., Reilly, R.R., Millsap, R.E., Pearlman, K., & Stoffey, R.W. (1993). Applicant reactions to selection procedures. Personnel Psychology, 46, 49-76.
generally: responses in the recruitment process influence how applicants think about the organization. The organizational image, the employer image as well as
the product image is changed after applicants get a response from the organization to their application.
specifically: different responses are responsible for different changes in the images. Invitations to a job interview (i.e. reaching the next step in the recruitment
process) have a positive/neutral effect on the images whereas rejection letters and invitations for putting the CV in the recruitment database have a negative effect.
interestingly: the product image, that was not supposed to be influenced by recruitment processes, is devalued as well. Thus, the way of dealing with applicants
also influences whether those people become future customers or not.
MOST IMPORTANT: invitations for joining the recruitment database are almost as bad as rejection letters. If applicants get the opportunity to join the recruitment
database they devalue the three images in the same way as if they receive a rejection. Therefore, from the applicant’s perspective a recruitment database invitation almost
feels like a rejection, since applicants are looking for a job and not for a membership in a recruitment database.
In competitive labor markets characterized by a ‘war of talent’ organizations try to attract the best talents, often using so-called ‘recruitment databases’ in order to not loose
any good talent. Thus, organizations try to avoid sending out any rejection notices but instead try to keep the applicants’ CVs in a recruitment database to use them for
staffing of future open posts. Instead of a rejection letter applicants receive an invitation (also called ice-letter) to put their CV in the ‘recruitment database’. The applicants
are told that this will be the first step in entering the organization and getting a job.
However, what do applicants think about this recruitment practice? Will the image of the organization actually raise – as organizations often expect – since applicants are
not rejected anymore? The consequences of such a recruitment strategy were not fully explored yet, neither in the research nor in the professional area.
Scholars have suggested that it is very important to look at reactions of applicants (Hausknecht, Day, & Thomas, 2004). Organizations with a good reputation and a good
image are supposed to be able to attract better applicants (Cable & Turban, 2001). If applicants perceive the selection procedure to be not acceptable, however, several
important aspects might be negatively influenced (Chambers, 2002): besides their behavioral intentions, their actual behavior, their test-performance in the selection
procedure, their later job-performance, most importantly their overall organizational impressions could change. Applicants get those impressions about an organization
when they experience its recruitment and selection practices (Smither, Reilly, Millsap, Pearlman, & Stoffey, 1993). Whether applicants are rejected or accepted clearly
influences their perceptions of the organization (Ryan & Ployhart, 2000). Therefore, the question that has to be answered is, whether using recruitment databases is
perceived from the applicants as being accepted or rejected, since this in turn influences the perceived images of the organization.
However, it can be assumed that recruitment databases will not have a very positive effect on the applicants’ impressions since applicants are normally looking for a job
and not for a ‘membership’ in a recruitment database.
Exploring recruitment databases from the applicantExploring recruitment databases from the applicant’’s perspectives perspective
ChristianChristian Bosau, NicoleBosau, Nicole MoiserMoiser--BeekBeek & Henrik& Henrik WichelmannWichelmann
University of Cologne, GermanyUniversity of Cologne, Germany