Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

The Relative Influence of Interview Communication Satisfaction on Applicants' Recruitment Interview Decisions

Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

The Relative Influence of Interview Communication Satisfaction on Applicants' Recruitment Interview Decisions

Article excerpt

Working under the assumption that the primary goal of most employment interviews is the selection of employees, business and communication scholars continue to apply their research and teaching expertise toward helping applicants perform well in employment interviews (for example, Ralston, 1989; Ugbah & Majors, 1992; Williams, Radefeld, & Binning, 1993). However, with predicted labor shortages brought on by the leveling off of the baby boom generation and the female labor force (Greller & Nee, 1989; Johnston & Packer, 1987), scholars and practitioners concerned with business communication and organizational staffing have increasingly focused attention on the attraction of qualified job applicants (Bernstein, 1987; Feldman, 1988; Finney, 1989; Rynes & Barber, 1990). In particular, the college screening interview has been the target of considerable interest. Research (Lindquist & Endicott, 1984; Rynes & Boudreau, 1986) indicates that most large and medium size organizations use it to attract and screen new employees; 50 percent of all managers and professionals with less than three years of work experience are selected through it; and a conservative estimate of the average cost of attracting and selecting one new employee is now well over $2,000. Concomitant with the increasing focus on the attraction function of campus screening interviews has come a plethora of research which has addressed the variables that influence applicants' employment intentions (see Dipboye, 1992; Harris, 1989).

Initial scholarship and articles in the popular press report that students' employment decisions are significantly affected by their on-campus interviewing experiences, and in particular, by the interaction with recruiters (Arvey & Campion, 1982; Dipboye, 1992). For instance, Turban and Dougherty (1992) recently reported on their study in which, among numerous other variables, applicants' postinterview evaluations of recruiters' behavior were compared to other predictors of job attraction. Commenting on the results, the researchers posited that "applicant perceptions of recruiter behaviors are the strongest predictors of attraction to firms". Despite such findings, however, doubts have been voiced recently about the influence of recruiters on applicants' decisions. Some research, such as Powell (1991), suggests that applicants' perceptions of vacancy characteristics prior to and after interviews are the most significant predictors of employment intentions. The present study serves to clarify the issue by advancing research on the effect of interview communication satisfaction upon applicants' attraction to vacancies and postinterview intent to pursue employment. Implications for both research and employment practices are discussed in the concluding section.


Among the three strategies of attracting applicants to organizations (recruitment practices, employment inducements, and targeting specific applicant pools), recruitment has garnered the most attention from scholars and practitioners (Dipboye, 1992; Harris, 1989). The interest in recruitment is not surprising since many believe that it affects immediate selection outcomes by influencing applicants' perception of company reputation, and, hence, attitudes about interviewing; and by potentially affecting future consumption decisions, that is, applicants will or will not purchase or use company products and services (Rynes, 1990; Rynes & Barber, 1990). Of the three recruitment dimensions, including organizational representatives (interviewer characteristics), recruitment messages (vacancy information), and recruitment timing (the time between recruitment stages), limited research has addressed the latter, whereas the majority of investigative effort has concentrated on organization representatives and recruitment messages (Rynes, 1990; Rynes & Barber, 1990; Wanous & Colella, 1989).

Prevailing Theories

The emphasis on organization representatives and recruitment messages vis-a-vis campus screening interviews would appear directly related to the two prevailing theories of recruitment. …

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