Prediction of Job Search Intentions and Behaviors: Testing the Social Cognitive Model of Career Self-Management

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We present 2 studies testing the recently developed social–cognitive model of career self-management (Lent & Brown, 2013) in the context of the job search process. In the first study, a sample of 243 unemployed job seekers completed measures of job search self-efficacy, outcome expectations, social support, search intentions, conscientiousness, and perceived control (or volition) over the outcomes of the job search. The latter variable was added to the social–cognitive model to examine the possibility, derived from the psychology of working perspective, that perceived volition might moderate the relation of self-efficacy to job search intentions. The second study included 240 graduating college seniors and focused on the utility of the social–cognitive, personality, and perceived outcome control variables in predicting active engagement in the job search process. Path analyses indicated that the model generally fit the data well in both studies. In Study 1, self-efficacy and outcome expectations mediated the relations of the other predictors to job search intentions. In Study 2, job search intentions produced the primary direct path to subsequent job search behaviors; conscientiousness, support, and outcome control related to job search behavior indirectly through self-efficacy and its linkage to intentions. Outcome control moderated self-efficacy/intention relations only in Study 2, and the pattern of moderation was contrary to expectations. Implications for further inquiry and practice with job seekers are discussed.

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