Social identity and applicant attraction: Exploring the role of multiple levels of self

George C. Banks, Sven Kepes, Mahendra Joshi, Anson Seers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Applicant attraction is a critical objective of recruitment. Common predictor variables of applicant attraction are limited in that they do not provide a comprehensive understanding of the process that shapes the perceptions and beliefs of job applicants about the firms for which they aspire to work for. Because individuals have the inherent desire to expand and enhance their social identities (e.g., personal, relational, and collective identities), they are likely to be attracted to organizations that allow them to do so. Building on recent work on levels of self, our paper suggests that social identities mediate the relation between currently established predictor variables of applicant attraction (e.g., compensation, type of work, and organizational image) and important applicant attraction outcomes. Common predictor variables of applicant attraction can lead to the activation, evaluation, and identification processes described by social identity theory. A theoretical framework is presented that illustrates the mediating influence of social identity on the relations between common predictor variables and applicant attraction outcomes. This framework may lead to more effective recruitment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-345
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Identification processes
  • Identity activation
  • Identity evaluations
  • Identity strength
  • Predictors of applicant attraction
  • Recruitment strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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