Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Attraction to Employment Advertisements: Advertisement Wording and Personality Characteristics

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Attraction to Employment Advertisements: Advertisement Wording and Personality Characteristics

Article excerpt

"... seeking outgoing individual ..." (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 2007).

"... established stable firm seeks conscientious general shop person ..." (Denver Post, 2007).

"... demonstrated assertive and outgoing personality...." (Hotjobs. com, 2008).

"... the perfect fit for our Sheetz team would be someone that is people oriented, self motivated, dependable ..." (Careerbuilder.com, 2008).

"... adaptable and comfortable to changing dynamics ..." (Monster. com, 2008)

A recruitment source that is frequently utilized to attract prospective employees is the employment advertisement. The quotes above are indicative of employment advertisements that seek applicants possessing certain personality characteristics. Through recruitment, organizations hope to build an applicant pool from which they can select one or more employees who best fit their organization. Recruitment sources that attract individuals who are more likely to fit with the organization and screen out those that do not will reduce the time and expense involved in the selection process. There is a developing literature in regard to this notion of person-organization fit (Kristof, 1996; Ravlin and Ritchie, 2006). The idea is that, when hiring people, it is to the organization's advantage to select individuals that fit with the organization's culture. The advantages of successful person-organization fit (P-O fit) include increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment, feelings of work group cohesion, organizational tenure, individual performance (Boxx et al., 1991; Bretz and Judge, 1994; Cable and Judge, 1996; Chatman, 1991; Downey et al., 1974; O'Reilly et al., 1991; Tziner, 1987) and decreased turnover and intentions to quit (Cable and Judge, 1996; Chatman, 1991; O'Reilly et al., 1991).

One way of viewing the notion of P-O fit is through Schneider's Attraction-Selection-Attrition (ASA) framework (Schneider, 1987; Schneider et al., 1995). According to this model, employees within an organization tend to be homogenous because they were attracted to, selected by, and chose to remain with the particular organization. According to the model, the key factor that influences the relationship between the person and the organization "is the fit of the individual's personality with that of the modal personality of the organization" (Schneider et al., 1998: 463). Research pertaining to the attraction-selection-attrition model has been supportive. For example, research on the attraction piece of the attraction-selection-attrition model has shown that people are attracted to organizations that fit their personality (Judge and Cable, 1997) and that fit their needs (Cable and Judge, 1994; Turban and Keon, 1993). Other research has provided support for the homogeneity aspect of the attraction-selection-attrition model (Ployhart et al., 2006; Schneider et al., 1998).

Given the advantages of successful P-O fit, it would seem to be advantageous for employers to attempt to recruit individuals who will fit their particular cultures. Ployhart et al. suggest that during recruitment, firms with high levels of particular personality traits should "emphasize this information as part of the organization's 'personality' because doing so will attract and retain individuals with similar personalities" (2006: 674). Previous recruitment research based on signaling theory (Spence, 1973) has shown that individuals use information obtained from the recruitment process as signals of organizational characteristics (Highhouse et al., 1999; Goldberg and Allen, 2008; Goltz and Giannantonio, 1995; Rynes et al., 1991). For example, in a laboratory study, Goltz and Giannantonio (1995) found that the perceived friendliness of interviewers was related to participants' positive inferences regarding unrevealed organizational characteristics.

One way of accomplishing Ployhart et al.'s suggestion would be to include personality-related information in employment advertisements as a way of sending organizational personality signals to prospective applicants. …

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