Rich, interactive media are becoming extremely common in internet recruitment systems. The paper investigates the role of media richness in applicants’ ability to learn information relevant to making an application decision. The authors examine these relationships in the context of two competing theories, namely media richness theory and cognitive load theory, which predict opposite relationships with information acquisition. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Participants (n=471) either viewed a traditional web site or visited an interactive virtual world that contained information about an organization's culture, benefits, location, and job openings. Culture information was manipulated to either portray a highly teams-oriented culture or a highly individual-oriented culture.
Participants who viewed the low-richness site recalled more factual information about the organization; this effect was mediated by subjective mental workload. Richness was not related to differences in culture-related information acquisition.
These findings suggest that richer media (such as interactive virtual environments) may not be as effective as less rich media in conveying information. Specifically, the interactive elements may detract focus away from the information an organization wishes to portray. This may lead to wasted time on the part of applicants and organizations in the form of under- or over-qualified applications or a failure to follow instructions.
This study is among the first to use a cognitive load theory framework to suggest that richer media may not always achieve their desired effect.
The authors wish to thank Dianna Stone and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on this manuscript. Phillip Braddy, David Costanza, Adam Kanar, and Kyle Emich provided comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors also wish to thank Garett Howardson, Joshua Hock, and Joshua Symonette for their invaluable assistance in design and data collection.
M. Badger, J., E. Kaminsky, S. and S. Behrend, T. (2014), "Media richness and information acquisition in internet recruitment", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 866-883. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-05-2012-0155Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited