Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

In order to check on the possibility that giving a clear picture of the job to prospective agents might make it more difficult to hire a man, the proportion of open debit weeks (how long it takes to fill a vacancy) was determined for the experimental and control groups. You might expect that if it were more difficult to hire a man who was given a clear picture of the job, the experimental group would have a higher proportion of open debit weeks. This was not the case. The experimental group had 7.8% open debit weeks while the control group had 8.9% open debit weeks for the six-month period of the study. While this difference is not significant, it is opposed to the expected direction. We can conclude that the booklet certainly did not slow up the hiring procedure.

If we examine the termination rate in the two groups of agents unaffected by the booklet, that is, those hired before the start of the study, we find that there is no significant difference. There were 796 agents on the job in the experimental districts and 706 in the control districts as of the end of April. We determined the termination rate of these "on-the-job" agents during the six months of the study and found that in the experimental group 27% terminated, and 28% terminated in the control group. This would lend more weight to any differences we find in the groups of agents involved in the study since apparently our earlier matches held up. All in all it appeared that something was effective.


DISCUSSION

The reason we say it appeared that something was effective, rather than the job description booklet, is this. The home office contact, via the letter accompanying the booklet, may have been part of the reason the system worked. This procedure perhaps created a favorable impression and resulted in higher survival in the experimental group.

This variable could be controlled in further studies by issuing the booklet at the point of application (but would the manager issue the booklet?), or by having the home office send out a "public relations" letter to applicants without mentioning the job description.

There are always many things you would like to do to "purify" your findings. One must not, however, in industrial work, purify to the point of sterilization.


CONCLUSION

We feel that this study shows that giving prospective agents a realistic concept of the job and having this description come from an "executive" source will reduce termination. We further found that this procedure will not make it more difficult to hire new agents.

-29-

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