Realistic Job Previews: A Test of the Adverse Self-Selection Hypothesis

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The realistic job preview (RJP) literature has focused more on posthire outcomes such as employee retention than on prehire outcomes such as applicant attraction and job choice behavior. This study extends the RJP literature by focusing on 2 important issues related to applicant attraction: (a) the weight applicants place on negative information in relation to other variables such as pay level and promotional opportunity and (b) whether the “best” applicants react differently to negative information than do other applicants (adverse self-selection). Results indicate that applicants place a fairly high negative weight on negative job information, relative to other vacancy characteristics. The results regarding adverse self-selection are less clear but suggest that the highest quality applicants may be less willing to pursue jobs for which negative information has been presented, especially when doing so imposes opportunity costs.

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