Job Search: From Setting the Goal to Obtaining the Job
Moon, Nicholas Aaron
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Job searching is a nearly universal experience with important consequences. Although research on the job search process is extensive, few studies have examined the goals that individuals have during their job search (i.e., employment and job search goals) and the factors that influence these goals over time. However, these goal-related processes are likely to be key in this area given that job searching fundamentally involves goal pursuit and how these processes unfold may have important implications for job seekers. This research begins to fill this gap by examining self-efficacy as an antecedent of job search and employment goals; perceived progress as an antecedent of self-efficacy; locus of control, conscientiousness, and personal job demands as moderators of these relationships; and reemployment speed as a consequence. More specifically, this research involved two studies with job seekers in the healthcare field. In Study 1, participants reported and rank ordered specific job search and employment goals. In Study 2, participants reported perceived progress in job search, job search self-efficacy, employment self-efficacy, job search goals, and employment goals throughout the job search process over the course of three weeks. Findings (a) identified several common job search and employment goals in this context, (b) supported self-efficacy as a predictor of job search goals but not employment goals, (c) supported perceived progress as a predictor of both job search self-efficacy and employment self-efficacy, (d) indicated locus of control moderated the relationship between perceived progress and employment self-efficacy, and (e) did not support goal level as a predictor of reemployment speed. These findings provide new insights regarding the process of job searching and may provide a foundation for future research on goal-related processes in this context.