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Making sense of multiple rejections after face-to-face interviews: The significance of feedback on applicant identities

Abrams, R and Russell, E (2017) Making sense of multiple rejections after face-to-face interviews: The significance of feedback on applicant identities In: 18th European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Congress: Enabling Change through Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP 2017), 17-20 May 2017, Dublin, Ireland.

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Extant selection and assessment literature predominantly utilises quantitative methodology and hypothetical job rejection scenarios to assess candidate rejection experiences following face-to-face interviews. This often overlooks more nuanced, lived experiences of real job seekers facing multiple rejections, reflective of current labour market turbulence. Informed by Karl Weick’s (1995) organisational sense-making approach, the present study sought to explore the subjective feelings and sense-making processes of actual job applicants. Using semi-structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the experiences of 10 active job seekers (rejected on 2-5 consecutive occasions following face-to-face interviews) were investigated. The effects of cumulative rejections on job seekers’ sense of identity and how they manage to make sense of these rejections was examined. Findings suggest that cumulative job rejections negatively affect social identity and feelings of self-worth, especially when sensemaking is hindered by a lack of, or inappropriate, feedback. Where constructive and job relevant feedback is delivered by an interview panel member, the rejected applicant is better able to make sense of the rejection in a way that supports self-efficacy and personal identity. IPA as a methodology is limited by its small sample size and therefore findings are not generalizable. Extending the preliminary findings from the present study to a range of assessment domains, with larger sample sizes, is now recommended. The importance of applying findings from across research fields to inform best practice in assessment and selection (e.g. to avoid undermining individual identity and esteem) is emphasised.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Paper)
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Authors :
Russell, E
Date : 17 May 2017
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 04 May 2020 17:21
Last Modified : 04 May 2020 17:24

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