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What Do Consistency and Personableness in the Interview Signal to Applicants? Investigating Indirect Effects on Organizational Attractiveness Through Symbolic Organizational Attributes


Wilhelmy, Annika; Kleinmann, Martin; Melchers, Klaus G; Lievens, Filip (2019). What Do Consistency and Personableness in the Interview Signal to Applicants? Investigating Indirect Effects on Organizational Attractiveness Through Symbolic Organizational Attributes. Journal of Business & Psychology, 34(5):671-684.

Abstract

Personnel selection research has recognized the importance of providing applicants with both standardized (i.e., “consistent”) and individualized (i.e., “personable”) treatment during interviews. However, research has yet to examine the mechanisms underlying the effects of perceived consistency and personableness in the interview on applicants’ attraction to organizations. Drawing from signaling theory, we investigate how interview consistency and personableness impact organizational attractiveness. To this end, we developed a conceptual model that proposes that applicants interpret perceived interview consistency and personableness as signals about what the organization is like in terms of symbolic organizational attributes (organizational competence and benevolence, Lievens and Highhouse 2003), which in turn influence perceptions of organizational attractiveness. A longitudinal three-wave field study with 129 applicants showed that applicants’ perceptions of both consistency and personableness positively impacted organizational attractiveness. Additionally, these effects were mediated by organizational competence perceptions, but not by organizational benevolence perceptions. Furthermore, consistency and personableness perceptions differed in their relative influence on organizational competence, benevolence, and attractiveness, with personableness perceptions being a more influential predictor. This study contributes to a nuanced theoretical understanding of how applicants interpret interviews as signals about how organizations treat their members.

Abstract

Personnel selection research has recognized the importance of providing applicants with both standardized (i.e., “consistent”) and individualized (i.e., “personable”) treatment during interviews. However, research has yet to examine the mechanisms underlying the effects of perceived consistency and personableness in the interview on applicants’ attraction to organizations. Drawing from signaling theory, we investigate how interview consistency and personableness impact organizational attractiveness. To this end, we developed a conceptual model that proposes that applicants interpret perceived interview consistency and personableness as signals about what the organization is like in terms of symbolic organizational attributes (organizational competence and benevolence, Lievens and Highhouse 2003), which in turn influence perceptions of organizational attractiveness. A longitudinal three-wave field study with 129 applicants showed that applicants’ perceptions of both consistency and personableness positively impacted organizational attractiveness. Additionally, these effects were mediated by organizational competence perceptions, but not by organizational benevolence perceptions. Furthermore, consistency and personableness perceptions differed in their relative influence on organizational competence, benevolence, and attractiveness, with personableness perceptions being a more influential predictor. This study contributes to a nuanced theoretical understanding of how applicants interpret interviews as signals about how organizations treat their members.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Business and International Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Business, Management and Accounting
Social Sciences & Humanities > Applied Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Applied Psychology, General Business, Management and Accounting, Business and International Management, General Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:05 Nov 2019 12:08
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:36
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1573-353X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-018-9600-7

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