Social Influences on Organizational Attractiveness: Investigating If and When Word of Mouth Matters1


  • 1

    A previous version of this manuscript was presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Chicago, IL, April 2004.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Greet Van Hoye, Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. E-mail:


Previous recruitment studies have treated potential applicants as individual decision makers, neglecting informational social influences on organizational attractiveness. The present study investigated if and under what conditions word-of-mouth communication matters as a recruitment source. Results (N = 171) indicated that word of mouth had a strong impact on organizational attractiveness, and negative word of mouth interfered with recruitment advertising effects. Word of mouth from a strong tie was perceived as more credible and had a more positive effect on organizational attractiveness. For potential applicants high in self-monitoring, word of mouth had a stronger effect when presented after recruitment advertising. Finally, the effect of word of mouth on organizational attractiveness was partially mediated by the perceived credibility of recruitment advertising.