Using Recruitment Source Timing and Diagnosticity to Enhance Applicants’ Occupation-Specific Human Capital

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Abstract

This study proposes that reaching applicants through more diagnostic recruitment sources earlier in their educational development (e.g., in high school) can lead them to invest more in their occupation-specific human capital (OSHC), thereby making them higher quality candidates. Using a sample of 78,157 applicants applying for jobs within a desirable professional occupation in the public sector, results indicate that applicants who report hearing about the occupation earlier, and applicants who report hearing about the occupation through more diagnostic sources, have higher levels of OSHC upon application. Additionally, source timing and diagnosticity affect the likelihood of candidates applying for jobs symbolic of the occupation, selecting relevant majors, and attending educational institutions with top programs related to the occupation. These findings suggest a firm’s recruiting efforts may influence applicants’ OSHC investment strategies.

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