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Employee Testimonials on Recruitment Websites: Inferences Made About Organizations, Credibility Perceptions, Organizational Attraction, and Website Viewer Behavior




Walker, Harvell

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The current study examined job seekers’ responses to organizations including employee testimonials on their recruitment websites. Using a persuasive communication framework, I tested how the message source (i.e., race of individual giving employee testimonial), the medium used for message communication (i.e., video with audio or picture with text), and job seeker characteristics (i.e., job seeker race) affected important job seeker reactions. Study participants (756 upper-level, undergraduate students; 55% White and 45% Black) were randomly directed to the recruitment website (manipulated according to a 4 × 2 experimental design) of a hypothetical organization. Results indicated that the inclusion of employee testimonials on recruitment websites influenced job seekers’ organizational personality attributions, credibility perceptions concerning the information on the recruitment website, and attraction to organizations. More specifically, Black job seekers responded more favorably to organizations as the proportion of minorities giving testimonials increased. White job seekers’ reactions, on the other hand, responded less favorably when viewing the primarily Black employee testimonial condition as compared to the all White, primarily White, and balanced manipulations. The medium used to communicate employee testimonials was also found to influence job seekers’ reactions. Organizations communicating employee testimonials via video with audio were rated higher in terms of innovativeness, style, credibility, and general attractiveness as compared to organizations including picture with text testimonials or no employee testimonials on recruitment websites. Study results also indicated that moderators mediators should be considered when evaluating the influence of racial composition of employee testimonials on job seekers’ general attraction toward organizations. Finally, results suggested that communication media may reduce the effect of congruence between job seekers’ race and racial composition of employee testimonials on perceptions of general attractiveness. Job seekers appear to be less influenced by the racial composition of employee testimonials when video with audio is used as the communication medium versus picture with text. Implications of these findings on organizational recruitment practices are discussed.