Public organisations face increasing challenges to attract young and highly qualified staff. Previous studies have shown that public service motivation (PSM) is associated with a higher propensity to apply for public sector jobs, but the implications from these findings for the design of the recruitment process are still unclear. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how differently framed recruitment messages (i.e. inspirational and rational) affect perceptions of person-job (PJ) and person-organisation (PO) fit, how these associations are moderated by PSM and how they translate into application intentions.
The authors conducted a survey experiment and tested the hypotheses in a sample of 600 students in Germany. The experimental stimuli were hypothetical job advertisements in which inspirational and rational messages on organisational missions and job tasks were varied.
Results show that recruitment messaging, as mediated by perceived PJ and PO fit, can increase application intentions depending on the framing of the messages. Inspirational framings are more effective in attracting personnel than rational framings, especially when such messages convey specific and extensive information about job tasks. The extent to which recruitment messages translate into perceptions of fit depends, in part, on the level of the applicant’s PSM.
By focusing on recruitment messages and their framings, this study is among the few that explore how human resource management can capitalise on previous findings of research on PSM. The findings have implications for the selection and presentation of information on organisational missions and job tasks in the recruitment process. In a more theoretical vein, results contribute to the emerging consensus on the role of perceived PJ and PO fit in the attraction to public sector jobs. The authors deepen this reasoning by introducing self-discrepancy theory to the field of public management.
Asseburg, J., Homberg, F. and Vogel, R. (2018), "Recruitment messaging, environmental fit and public service motivation: Experimental evidence on intentions to apply for public sector jobs", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 689-709. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-08-2017-0217Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited