Do Applicants’ Perceptions Matter? Investigating Reapplication Behavior Using Fairness Theory

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This study used a fairness theory approach to examine a link between applicants' perceptions and their actual reapplication behavior. We suggested that applicants who do not receive job offers form ‘Would’ counterfactuals based on perceived performance and ‘Should’ counterfactuals based on two procedural justice rules (job relatedness and opportunity to perform). Participants ( N=542) were applicants for a United States federal government position. After not being hired in the initial selection process, 9% of the applicants reapplied for the job the following year. We found some support for the hypothesized interactions. The job relatedness–perceived performance interaction was not significant, but the opportunity to perform–perceived performance interaction was. Opportunity to perform had a stronger influence when perceived performance was higher.



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