Are organisations what they wear?
Abstract: The world of recruiting has in the past decades undergone major, irreversible, changes. The effects of these changes crystallize out into expanded demands of worker knowledge, skills, capabilities and a great number of other characteristics that organisations now require of their applicants and current employees. However, these changes are not only affecting organisation's demands of its employees, but also the demands placed upon the organisation itself. Within this new environment organisations and employers need to understand the importance of attracting, but also keeping, employees to preserve their competitive advantage. Within this new professional environment competition between organisations, in terms of attracting a qualified workforce, is fierce, forcing organisations to develop a better understanding of what actually attracts employees, and specifically the right employees. Recruitment advertising is a vital aspect within the early stages of recruitment and organisations need to understand the implications of their advertising activities and the signals it conveys. This paper aims to shed some light on the complex area of recruitment advertising in terms of explaining the signals that individuals within recruitment advertising convey. Specifically this research investigates the effects of nonconformity - the disregard of social norms and rules - in clothing and what it signals through recruitment advertising. An experiment with 4 advertisements; two portraying a nonconforming dressed individual (one male/one female) and two portraying a conforming dressed individuals, was undertaken and the effect in terms of signals and brand attitude and application intent was measured in order to gain an understanding of the implications for organisations. Evidence was found suggesting that a nonconforming advertisement was favoured among the respondents, and the results also confirmed that a nonconforming advertisement heightened brand/employer attitude and increased application intent.
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