The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether communicating recent changes in the sales profession, shifting from a performance-focused model to a customer need-focused model, to job candidates by re-labeling job descriptions can increase job candidates’ interest in pursuing sales jobs.
Two experiments using job candidates (undergraduate business students) were conducted at two public US universities to examine: whether job candidates use job title or job description to determine their interest in pursuing jobs and whether terminology used in the job description affects job candidates’ interest in pursuing sales jobs.
Results show that job candidates’ interest in pursuing jobs are affected by job titles more than the actual job responsibilities. Further, job candidates’ interest in pursuing sales jobs is affected by terminology used in the job descriptions, where customer need-focused (selling-focused) terminology increases (decreases) interest in pursuing a sales job.
Sales jobs have been recognized as one of the hardest job positions to fill. Results from this paper can help recruiters develop effective strategies to improve job candidates’ interest in pursuing sales jobs, especially the emerging social selling jobs.
Contrary to most extant research that investigates resistance toward sales jobs by examining job candidates’ idiosyncratic characteristics, this paper adopts a branding and consumer learning perspective and examines how job candidates’ interest in pursuing a job is influenced by their ability or willingness to process job information.
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