Tapping the grapevine: a closer look at word-of-mouth as a recruitment source.

Research paper by Greet G Van Hoye, Filip F Lievens

Indexed on: 11 Mar '09Published on: 11 Mar '09Published in: The Journal of applied psychology


To advance knowledge of word-of-mouth as a company-independent recruitment source, this study draws on conceptualizations of word-of-mouth in the marketing literature. The sample consisted of 612 potential applicants targeted by the Belgian Defense. Consistent with the recipient-source framework, time spent receiving positive word-of-mouth was determined by the traits of the recipient (extraversion and conscientiousness), the characteristics of the source (perceived expertise), and their mutual relationship (tie strength). Only conscientiousness and source expertise were determinants of receiving negative word-of-mouth. In line with the accessibility-diagnosticity model, receiving positive employment information through word-of-mouth early in the recruitment process was positively associated with perceptual (organizational attractiveness) and behavioral outcomes (actual application decisions), beyond potential applicants' exposure to other recruitment sources.