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What most attracts potential candidates? Innovative perks, training, or ethics?

Stéphane Renaud (École de relations industrielles, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Lucie Morin (École des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Anne Marie Fray (School of Business and Management, ESCEM, Tours, France)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 10 October 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of two instrumental organizational attributes (innovative perks and training) and one symbolic organizational attribute (ethics) on applicant attraction.


Using a sample of business undergraduates in their final year (n=339) and a policy-capturing approach, the authors tested a 2 (absence/presence of innovative perks) ×2 (few/many training opportunities) ×2 (ethics is not very important/is important) quasi-experimental design using ANCOVA.


In regard to main effects, results show that all attributes have a significant effect on applicant attraction, the “ethics” organizational attribute having the strongest direct effect followed by “training” and then “innovative perks.” In regard to all interaction effects, findings are only significant for two two-way interaction effects: “innovative perks×training” and “innovative perks×ethics.” Specifically, results indicate that offering innovative perks only had a positive and significant effect on applicant attraction when: a firm offered few training opportunities and ethics was important for the firm.


This study compared three key organizational attributes where most studies only tested one. Understanding which organizational attributes have the greatest influence on potential candidates’ attraction can help organizations optimize recruiting. The results suggest that developing an organizational brand that focuses particularly on ethics and training constitutes a winning recruitment strategy. This experiment is the first to provide causal conclusions on the relationship between innovative perks and attraction.



Renaud, S., Morin, L. and Fray, A.M. (2016), "What most attracts potential candidates? Innovative perks, training, or ethics?", Career Development International, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 634-655.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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