Does Resume Presentation Medium and Reference Group Affect Perceptions about a Job Applicant?
Elgin, Peter D.
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Businesses and corporations receive many resumes that are used in the initial stages of the selection process. However, the two basic resume forms (paper and electronic) may not be perceived similarly. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions associated with applicants who submit either a paper resume or an electronic resume. This study also investigated the effect that a reference group had upon the resume reader's perceptions about the job applicant. One-hundred undergraduates viewed either a paper resume or an electronic resume of a journalist applying for a vacant position at a newspaper. Respondents were then given a job description that either required internet research experience (technical reference group) or not (non-technical reference group). Then the respondents rated the applicant on seven attributes (intelligence, technical skills, interpersonal skills, leadership ability, motivation, resourcefulness, and overall qualifications). A MANOVA, with resume medium and reference group as independent variables and the seven attributes as the dependent variables, was conducted. The results showed a significant effect of resume medium, E(1,96)= 9.77, g=.000. Univariate ANOVAs revealed the paper resume applicant was perceived as more friendly while the electronic resume applicant was viewed as more intelligent, technologically advanced, and possessing better overall qualifications. The results also indicated a significant effect of reference group, E(l,96)=4 .03, g=.001. The applicant in the non-technical reference group was perceived as more intelligent, technologically advanced, and possessing better overall qualifications than the applicant in the technical reference group. Implications of resume medium and reference group as well as limitations of the study are discussed.
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