The job-search model as a framework for explaining individual differences in applicant reactions

Date of Completion

January 2002


Psychology, Industrial




Over the last decade, there has been a growing body of research regarding how applicants perceive and respond to selection systems. This research can be divided into two streams. The stream focusing on job choice and applicant reactions has typically used an organizational framework to understand how perceived fairness is related to acceptance intentions. The other stream has investigated how test reactions, test-taking motivation, and test performance are interrelated. ^ The primary goal of this study was to use the job-search model as a framework for understanding individual differences in these applicants' responses to selection systems. Two sets of job-search variables were investigated: job-search competencies and job-search motives. Job-search competencies consisted of job-search self-efficacy and motivational control. Job-search self-efficacy was hypothesized to have a direct effect on test-taking motivation. No prediction was made regarding the relationship between job-search self-efficacy and acceptance intentions. It was proposed that motivational control directly affects test-taking motivation and acceptance intentions. In addition, motivational control has an indirect effect on acceptance intentions by moderating the procedural justice-fairness relationship. The job-search motive investigated was employment commitment. It was thought to directly influence test-taking motivation and acceptance intentions. ^ Participants were applicants (N = 423) for an entry-level clerical job with a large federal agency. Of the 423, 276 (65%) completed usable pretest and posttest surveys, and could be linked to test scores. Results suggested that applicants with greater levels of job-search self-efficacy perceived that they performed well on the test. Motivational control had direct effects on test-taking motivation and acceptance intentions: Applicants who were able to sustain effort by focusing on obtaining the end goal were more likely to express an intent to accept the job. Motivational control also had an indirect effect on acceptance intentions by moderating the relationship between job-relatedness and process fairness perceptions. The relationship was stronger for applicants with low levels of motivational control. No relationships were found for employment commitment. ^