Firm Recruitment Behaviour: Sequential or Non-Sequential Search?

39 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2009

See all articles by Jos van Ommeren

Jos van Ommeren

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB); Tinbergen Institute

Giovanni Russo

VU University Amsterdam; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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In the extensive job search literature, studies assume either sequential or non-sequential search. Which assumption is more reasonable? This paper introduces a novel method to test the hypothesis that firms search sequentially based on the relationship between the number of (rejected) job applicants and the number of employees hired. We use data compiled from filled vacancies for the Netherlands. Different types of search methods are distinguished. Our results imply that when firms use advertising, private or public employment agencies, which together cover about 45 percent of filled vacancies, sequential search is rejected. For about 55 percent of filled vacancies however, sequential search cannot be rejected. In line with theoretical considerations, when firms use search methods that rely on social networks, sequential search cannot be rejected.

Keywords: sequential search, recruitment

JEL Classification: J63

Suggested Citation

van Ommeren, Jos and van Ommeren, Jos and Russo, Giovanni, Firm Recruitment Behaviour: Sequential or Non-Sequential Search?. Available at SSRN: or

Jos Van Ommeren (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, 1050

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS

Giovanni Russo

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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