JOB SEARCH EXPERIENCES: A WITHIN-PERSON EXAMINATION OF JOB SEARCH SELF-EFFICACY, BEHAVIORS, AND OUTCOME
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A dynamic self-regulatory perspective is useful to explain within- and between-person variations in job search behaviors (e.g., Barber, Daly, Giannantonio, & Phillips, 1994; Kanfer, Wanberg, Kantrowitz, 2001). However, few studies have incorporated models and designs appropriate for addressing when and why individuals are persistent in their job search activities. In addition, although goal orientation and attribution are highly relevant to self-regulation, previous studies on job search have not integrated these important constructs into the dynamic model of job search. Using data from college seniors in China, the current study advanced the understanding of the dynamic pathways leading to job search behaviors and number of job offers. Specifically, conceptualizing job search behaviors as guided by the employment goal and its sub-goal job search behavior goal, the current study differentiates employment self-efficacy from job search behavior self-efficacy. The data showed that at the within-person level, higher levels of perceived job search progress lead to more job search behaviors through enhanced levels of job search behavior self-efficacy. At the same time, higher levels of perceived job search progress could also lead to less job search behaviors through elevated employment self-efficacy. Finally, active job search behaviors were positively related to the number of job offers received by job seekers. The data also suggest that performance goal orientation and attribution moderated the within-person relationship between perceived job search progress and self-efficacy believes. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications to multiple goal theories regarding dynamic self-regulation processes and practical implications to employment interventions.