Job search and employment success: A quantitative review and future research agenda.

Edwin A.J. van Hooft, John D. Kammeyer-Mueller, Connie R. Wanberg, Ruth Kanfer, Gokce Basbug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Job search is an important activity that people engage in during various phases across the life span (e.g., school-to-work transition, job loss, job change, career transition). Based on our definition of job search as a goal-directed, motivational, and self-regulatory process, we present a framework to organize the multitude of variables examined in the literature on job seeking and employment success. We conducted a quantitative synthesis of the literature to test relationships between job-search self-regulation, job-search behavior, and employment success outcomes. We also quantitatively review key antecedents (i.e., personality, attitudinal factors, and contextual variables) of job-search self-regulation, job-search behavior, and employment success. We included studies that examined relationships with job-search or employment success variables among job seekers (e.g., new labor market entrants, unemployed individuals, employed individuals), resulting in 378 independent samples (N = 165,933). Most samples (74.3%, k = 281) came from articles published in 2001 or later. Findings from our meta-analyses support the role of job-search intensity in predicting quantitative employment success outcomes (i.e., rc = .23 for number of interviews, rc = .14 for number of job offers, and rc = .19 for employment status). Overall job-search intensity failed to predict employment quality. Our findings identify job-search self-regulation and job-search quality as promising constructs for future research, as these predicted both quantitative employment success outcomes and employment quality. Based on the results of the theoretical and quantitative synthesis, we map out an agenda for future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-713
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number5
Early online dateJul 13 2020
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association


  • job search
  • meta-analysis
  • self-regulation
  • turnover
  • unemployment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review


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