Breaugh & Starke (2000)

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Journal of Management
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Research on Employee Recruitment: So Many Studies, So Many Remaining Questions
James A. Breaugh and Mary Starke
Journal of Management 2000; 26; 405
DOI: 10.1177/014920630002600303
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Journal of Management
2000, Vol. 26, No. 3, 405– 434

Research on Employee Recruitment: So
Many Studies, So Many Remaining
Questions
James A. Breaugh and Mary Starke
University of Missouri–St. Louis

Over the last thirty years, the amount of research on recruitment topics has increased dramatically. Despite this increase, recent reviews of the recruitment literature often have had a somewhat pessimistic tone. Reviewers have concluded that we still do not know a great deal about why recruitment activities have the effects they do. In particular, recent reviews have criticized many of the studies conducted for being poorly designed, narrow in focus, and not grounded in theory. We believe that many of these criticisms are legitimate. We also believe that, in order for future studies to result in a better understanding of the recruitment process, such studies need to be designed with an appreciation of the complexity of the recruitment process (i.e., the number of variables involved and the nature of their relationships). In this regard, we offer an organizing framework of the recruitment process. In introducing this framework, we draw upon theories from a variety of research domains and give considerable attention to process variables (e.g., applicant attention, message credibility, applicant self-insight) that mediate the relationships between recruitment activities (e.g., recruiter behavior) and recruitment outcomes (e.g., the number of applications generated). Having introduced an organizing framework, we selectively review recruitment research, giving particular attention to the topics of recruitment sources, recruiters, and realistic job previews. This review makes apparent a number of important issues that recruitment research has yet to address. © 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Research interest in the topic of employee recruitment has increased substantially over the last thirty years. As an example of this increasing interest, consider that in the first edition of the Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, less than one page of coverage was given to the topic of recruitment (Guion, 1976). By the time the second edition of this handbook was published,

Direct all correspondence to: James A. Breaugh, School of Business Administration, University of Missouri–St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121; Phone: 314-516-6287; Fax: 314-516-6420. Copyright © 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc. 0149-2063

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Downloaded from http://jom.sagepub.com at Universiteit van Amsterdam SAGE on November 9, 2009

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J.A. BREAUGH AND M. STARKE

research on recruitment was seen as meriting an entire chapter (Rynes, 1991). Even though numerous recruitment studies had been published since the 1976 Handbook chapter appeared, Rynes perceived this body of research to be lacking in several ways. For example, she found most of the research that she reviewed focused on one of only three topics (i.e., recruitment sources, recruiters, and realistic job previews) and that the research on each of these topics was “developed in...
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