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To fit or not to fit: insights in the search for a job


  • De Winter, C.
  • Dewilde, T.


  • Buyens, D.

    () (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)


The objective of this study is to gain insight in which organisation-specific information job seekers attach importance to, in order to determine whether they fit in an organisation. Our labour market is facing difficulties with inflow of labour forces. On the one hand our tight labour market situation causes that companies are unable to fill in their vacancies. On the other hand a high percentage of unemployed job seekers do not manage to find a job. In his selection-attraction-attrition theory Schneider (1995) states that people do not randomly come and work in an organisation, but that they select themselves in or out of an organisation. A good person-organisation fit can be considered as one of the critical success factors for attracting and retaining employees in a competitive and tight labour market (Kristof, 1997). Building on the above mentioned theories we propose that if organisations clearly communicate about their organisation-specific characteristics in beforehand, job seekers can form a better image of organisations. For organisations this can result in more effective selection processes, whereas for job seekers it can result in more effective application processes. Research until now has not covered this issue. To gain insight into the organisation-specific aspects job seekers attach importance to, a qualitative research was conducted consisting of 27 homogeneously composed focus groups. In a first stage unemployed job seekers were addressed, with special attention for those individuals who are unable or less able to search for a job independently. Next also employees and employment officers were involved in this research. Applying the Delphi-method and other discussion group moderating techniques, we found that clear communication of organisation-specific information plays an important role in the job search process of individuals. Based on the qualitative input throughout the different focus groups, we developed a typology of organisation-specific information items job seekers attach importance to in their search for a job.

Suggested Citation

  • De Winter, C. & Dewilde, T. & Buyens, D., 2008. "To fit or not to fit: insights in the search for a job," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2008-01, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
  • Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2008-01

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    job search; labour market;

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