The Fundamental Recruitment Error: Candidate-Recruiter Discrepancy in Their Relative Valuation of Innate Talent versus Hard Work

Prof. Kao Si, Assistant Professor in Marketing, University of Macau

Date: 23 March 2023 (Thursday)
Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Venue: E22-G015
Host: Prof. Fangyuan CHEN, Associate Professor in Marketing


Innate talent and orientation toward hard work are highly important personal attributes with respect to workers’ productive capabilities. In this research, we identify a discrepancy between job candidates and recruiters in their relative valuation of these two attributes. While innate talent is valued relatively more by job candidates than recruiters, the opposite is true for orientation toward hard work. We propose that the discrepancy is rooted in a misalignment of the fundamental motivations of the two parties in the job market. In seven studies (four pre-registered), which include randomized trial experiments and quasi-experiments and use real life recruiters and job seekers (across a total of 112 industries) as participants, we provide evidence of the current effect and its underlying mechanism. Studies 1A—1C demonstrate the negative consequence of the discrepancy on job market efficiency, showing that it can lead candidates to adopt impression management strategies that lower their chance of getting the job. Studies 2A and 2B show that full-time workers consider career potential to be associated with both innate talent and hard work but position performance to be more strongly associated with hard work than innate talent. Finally, Studies 3A and 3B indicate that candidates are relatively more career-focused while recruiters are relatively more position-focused, and that this difference in their relative focus mediates the current discrepancy. Implications of the present research for both job candidates and recruiters are discussed.


Prof. Kao Si is an Assistant Professor in Marketing in University of Macau and received his PhD in Marketing from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interest in judgment and decision-making, behavioral economics, consumer behavior. His work has been published in Organization Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and etc.


All are welcome!