Effects of Mixed Signals on Employer Attractiveness: A Mixed-Method Study Based on Signalling and Convention Theory

Katharina Pernkopf, Markus Latzke, Wolfgang Mayrhofer

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Traditional recruiting activities are marked by information asymmetry and organisational information control, leading to uncertainty among applicants about employer attractiveness. New technologies profoundly change the picture. Recruiting websites provide more thorough, yet controlled information; online employer reviews offer employee‐generated information mostly out of organisational control. While this diminishes information asymmetry, applicants have to handle incongruent information. It remains largely unclear how so‐called ‘mixed signals’ affect employer attractiveness and how applicants interpret them. To address the issue, we developed an integrated theoretical framework based on signalling and convention theory to better understand how applicants interpret and evaluate signals about employers. We then conducted a mixed‐method study to examine how congruent and mixed signals influence perceived employer attractiveness. Our results show that while congruent signals increase employer attractiveness and mixed‐signal situations reduce it, distinct evaluative patterns emerge when potential applicants reflect and judge employers. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392 - 413
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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