The Influence of Economic and Social Factors on the Choice of Search Procedures Used by Third Party Recruiters


  • Ute-Christine Klehe Justus Liebig Universität Gießen, Germany
  • Marije de Goede Rathenau Instituut, Netherlands


recruitment, recruitment tools, headhunter, search agent, institutional theory, job advertisement


Many organizations employ the services of third party recruiters in order to find suitable candidates for their free positions. Yet, we still know little about what drives search agents to use the specific recruitment tools they use. Based on institutional theory, we predicted three economic (costs and time investment, speed and longevity) and three social factors (reactions by client organizations and by candidates, diffusion in the field) to influence search agents' choice of recruitment procedures. Additionally, institutional theory suggested several moderators such as the contract structure between the search agent and their clients, the likelihood of follow-up work, the availability of suitable candidates and the economic uncertainty in the field. Assumptions were tested via an online-survey distributed to 149 search agents working in the Netherlands. Hierarchical linear modelling generally supported the relevance of the economic and social predictors proposed as well as the working of several, albeit not all, moderators proposed.