New lab publication in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment

What (not) to add in your ad: when jobs ads discourage older or younger job seekers to apply

Both older and younger job seekers face difficulties when entering the workforce. Qualification-based targeted recruitment (QBTR) might be used to attract older/younger job seekers, yet how this strategy is perceived by older/younger job seekers has not been considered before. The present study fills this gap and investigated effects of negatively metastereotyped information in job ads (i.e. personality requirements or traits) on application intention and self-efficacy of both older and younger job seekers. An experimental study (Ntotal = 556; 44.6% aged 50 or older, 55.4% aged 30 or younger) showed that negatively metastereotyped traits in job ads (e.g., “flexible”) lowered older job seekers’ application intention and that this effect was mediated by older job seekers’ self-efficacy regarding that trait. No such effects were found among younger job seekers. Results showed that organizations can fail to attract older candidates because of the traits mentioned in job ads, which is particularly alarming when aiming to target age-diverse applicants. Suggestions for practitioners and future research are formulated.

Keywords: recruitment, metastereotypes, age, diversity

Practitioner Points

• Research largely overlooked how older and younger-aged job seekers experience personality requirements in ads.

• Instead of attracting older job seekers, negatively metastereotyped personality requirements in ads lowered their application intention through lower self-efficacy.

• Hence, talented job seekers from underrepresented groups (like older-aged job seekers) may self-select out

• Organizations should therefore avoid metastereotyped personality requirements in job ads.

Koçak, A., Derous, E., Born, M.P., & Duyck, W. (in press). What (not) to add in your ad: when jobs ads discourage older or younger job seekers to apply. International Journal of Selection and Assessment. Impact Factor: 1.840. Ranking Q3. PDF available here

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