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Skills and the graduate recruitment process: Evidence from two discrete choice experiments

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  • Humburg, Martin
  • van der Velden, Rolf

Abstract

In this study we elicit employers’ preferences for a variety of CV attributes and types of skills when recruiting university graduates. Using two discrete choice experiments, we simulate the two common steps of the graduate recruitment process: (1) the selection of suitable candidates for job interviews based on CVs, and (2) the hiring of graduates based on observed skills. We show that in the first step, employers attach most value to CV attributes which signal a high stock of occupation-specific human capital indicating low training costs and short adjustment periods; attributes such as relevant work experience and a good match between the field of study and the job tasks. In line with the preferences in the first step, employers’ actual hiring decision is mostly influenced by graduates’ level of professional expertise and interpersonal skills. Other types of skills also play a role in the hiring decision but are less important, and can therefore not easily compensate for a lack of occupation-specific human capital and interpersonal skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Humburg, Martin & van der Velden, Rolf, 2015. "Skills and the graduate recruitment process: Evidence from two discrete choice experiments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 24-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:49:y:2015:i:c:p:24-41
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.07.001
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    2. Wehner, Caroline & de Grip, Andries & Pfeifer, Harald, 2020. "Do recruiters select workers with different personality traits for different tasks? A discrete choice experiment," Research Memorandum 035, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    3. Peter Hoeschler & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2017. "The Relative Importance of Personal Characteristics for the Hiring of Young Workers," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0142, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Jan 2018.
    4. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Simon, Lisa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Skills, signals, and employability: An experimental investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    5. Aarts, Bas & Künn, Annemarie, 2019. "Employability: the employers’ perspective," ROA Report 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    6. Czibor, Eszter & Onderstal, Sander & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2020. "Does relative grading help male students? Evidence from a field experiment in the classroom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    7. Lulu P. Shi & Christian Imdorf & Robin Samuel & Stefan Sacchi, 2018. "How unemployment scarring affects skilled young workers: evidence from a factorial survey of Swiss recruiters," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 52(1), pages 1-15, December.
    8. Aleksandr Yu. Kokovikhin, 2020. "Skills management in regional economic policy of the OECD and the EU member countries," Upravlenets, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 11(5), pages 81-96, November.
    9. Betina Lopes & Patrícia Silva & Ana I. Melo & Elisabeth Brito & Gonçalo Paiva Dias & Marco Costa, 2019. "The ‘Lunar Side’ of the Story: Exploring the Sustainability of Curricular Internships in Higher Education," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(21), pages 1-22, October.
    10. Tamara Gutfleisch & Robin Samuel & Stefan Sacchi, 2021. "The application of factorial surveys to study recruiters’ hiring intentions: comparing designs based on hypothetical and real vacancies," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 775-804, June.
    11. SATO Kaori & NAKAMURO Makiko & OWAN Hideo, 2019. "The Effect of Interpersonal Skills on Worker Performance," Discussion papers 19045, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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    13. Verhaest, Dieter & Bogaert, Elene & Dereymaeker, Jeroen & Mestdagh, Laura & Baert, Stijn, 2016. "Crowding Out in the Labour Market: Do Employers Lend a Hand?," IZA Discussion Papers 9654, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Lisa Simon, 2019. "Mikroökonometrische Analysen der Determinanten von Individuellem Arbeitsmarkterfolg," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 83.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; Graduate recruitment; Discrete choice experiment; Employability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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