Job search and employment: a personality-motivational analysis and meta-analytic review

J Appl Psychol. 2001 Oct;86(5):837-55. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.5.837.


A motivational, self-regulatory conceptualization of job search was used to organize and investigate the relationships between personality, expectancies, self, social, motive, and biographical variables and individual differences in job search behavior and employment outcomes. Meta-analytic results indicated that all antecedent variables, except optimism, were significantly related to job search behavior, with estimated population correlations ranging from -.15 to .46. As expected, job search behavior was significantly and positively related to finding employment. Several antecedents of job search were also significantly related to employment success, although the size of these relationships was consistently smaller than those obtained for job search. Moderator analyses showed significant differences in the size of variable relationships for type of job search measure (effort vs. intensity) and sample type (job loser vs. employed job seeker vs. new entrant).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Job Application*
  • Motivation*
  • Personality*
  • Personnel Selection
  • Self Concept