New lab publication in Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

Mind the ad: How personality requirements affect older and younger job seekers’ job attraction

Age discrimination may explain lower labor market chances of older and younger job seekers. What remains underresearched, however, is how older/younger job seekers might self-select out from early recruitment procedures due to stigmatizing information in job ads. Building on theories of metastereotypes and the linguistic category model, two experimental studies investigated how personality requirements that older/younger job seekers hold negative metastereotypes about and the way in which these requirements are worded (behavioral vs. dispositional) affected their job attraction. Within-participant mediation analyses showed that, as expected, job attraction was higher for older (N = 123, aged 50y or more) and younger (N = 151, 30y or less) job seekers when requirements were worded in a behavioral way (e.g. “You can be flexible”), as compared to a dispositional way (e.g., “You are flexible”). This relation was mediated by perceptions of challenge among younger but not older job seekers. Contrary to expectations, perceptions of threat did not explain effects of negatively metastereotyped personality requirements on job attraction. Understanding how job seekers perceive information in job ads might help recruiters to design age-sensitive recruitment policies.

Koçak, A., Rooman, C., Duyck, W., & Derous, E. (in press). Mind the ad: How personality requirements affect older and younger job seekers’ job attraction. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. Impact Factor: 4.561. Ranking Q1. PDF available here

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