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Flexible working and applicant attraction: a person–job fit approach

Jean-François Stich (CEREFIGE, ICN Business School, Nancy, France)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 10 July 2020

Issue publication date: 13 January 2021



The ability to work anytime from anywhere is attractive to job seekers, who respond by developing needs regarding flexible working. Flexibility needs are compared to the flexibility perceived in job advertisements to form an overall perception of flexibility fit. The purpose of this paper is to examine both the impact of flexibility fit (on applicant attraction) and its antecedents.


The impact of flexibility fit on applicant attraction and its antecedents are examined using person–job (PJ) fit theory. 92 job seekers analyzed a total of 391 job advertisements. The hypotheses are tested using multilevel structural equation modeling.


The results show that perceived flexibility fit is positively related to job pursuit and job acceptance intentions. They further show that perceived flexibility fit is driven by perceived job advertisements' flexibility exceeding applicants' needed flexibility, which in turn is driven by the flexibility actually present in job advertisements exceeding applicants' flexibility needs.


This study contributes to literature on new ways of working by highlighting the desirable nature of flexibility and its impact on fit perceptions. It further contributes to literature on job search and PJ fit by investigating a full model of fit, examining both outcomes and antecedents of perceived fit. For practitioners, this study highlights the importance of advertising flexibility to attract applicants.



Stich, J.-F. (2021), "Flexible working and applicant attraction: a person–job fit approach", Personnel Review, Vol. 50 No. 1, pp. 358-378.



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