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Recent literature reviews have called into question the impact of recruitment activities on applicants' job choices. However, most previous findings have been based on cross-sectional ratings obtained immediately after initial screening interviews, thus raising questions about the degree to which prior conclusions are bound to that particuJar methodology. In contrast, the present study used longitudinal structured interviews to let job seekers explain, in their own words, how they made critical job search and choice decisions. Interview transcripts revealed that recruitment practices played a variety of roles in job seeker decisions. For example, consistent with signalling theory, subjects interpreted a wide variety of recruitment experiences (recruiter competence, sex composition of interview panels, recruitment delays) as symbolic of broader organizational characteristics. In addition, a number of "contingency" variables emerged that seemed to affect the perceived signalling value of recruitment experiences (e.g., prior knowledge of the company, functional area of the recruiter). Also notable were the strongly negative effects of recruitment delays, particularly among male students with higher grade point averages and greater job search success. Finally, our results suggest that certain applicant reactions may be systematically related to sex, work experience, grade point average, and search success. The article concludes with practical and research implications.


Suggested Citation
Rynes, S., Bretz, B., & Gerhart, B. (1990). The importance of recruitment in job choice: A different way of looking (CAHRS Working Paper #90-24). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.