The Irony of Choice in Recruitment: When Similarity Turns Recruiters to Other Candidates
Across two experimental studies, we examine the influence of similarity perceptions on recruiters’ job fit perceptions of job applicants. In addition, a robustness study extends the effect of similarity by introducing work-related sources of similarity and tests the relationship between workrelated similarities on similarity perceptions. Moreover, we explore the emotional and cognitive mechanisms behind the effects of similarity perceptions on job fit. We also propose and test a boundary condition, such that, when job desirability is low, the effect of demographic similarity on perceived similarity is reversed. The sample for the three studies consist of specialized master’s students with work experience in human resources management who acted as recruiters in a resume screening situation. The results show that the effects of similarity are not always positive for job fit perceptions. The studies provide evidence that when recruiters perceive applicants as similar to themselves, biased evaluations occur. Finally, we provide results that show the effects of mediation and moderation analysis whereby liking mediates the relationship between similarity perceptions and job fit perceptions through emotional, cognitive and motivational sequential mediators. Additionally, job desirability moderates the relationship between demographic similarity and similarity perceptions so that when job desirability is low, the effect of demographic similarity on perceived similarity is reversed.
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