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PhD position-KU Leuven


The Human Relations Research Group, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven is looking for a doctoral researcher starting October 1st, 2013:

Topic ‘Breaking stereotypical perceptions of job seekers: Increasing attractiveness through person-organization fit’

Contract: Full-time
Period: Fixed-term
Place: Brussels
Apply before: August 15th, 2013

The Human Relations Research Group (HRRG) is part of the Center for Business Management Research (CBMR) of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the KU Leuven, located in the city center of Brussels. The HRRG is an interdisciplinary research team (management, economics, psychology, sociology,…) and investigates several aspects of human relations within organizations and societies.


The PhD project will be part of a larger-scale research program, which aims to advance academic understanding of job search and organizational recruitment. Despite the current economic recession, organizations are absorbed in a ‘war for talent’ to attract good candidates. To be effective, organizations would like to select from a rich pool of applicants. A neglected aspect forestalling the creation of such a diverse pool is stereotyping in the eyes of job seekers. Because job seekers have little information on particular organizations, they likely tend to judge organizations based on the sector values. For example, male economists may prefer to work in a private company while females economists may opt for teaching jobs in the public sector based on the (mis)perception that this context better fits their values of status and community contribution, respectively. If the organizations’ values do not match the stereotyped sector values, this however leads to perceptions of misfit among the job seekers, and hence the loss of eligible candidates. Not all private companies for example attach high importance to status.

The purpose of this project is to examine manifestations of stereotyping in the eyes of the job seekers and its relationship with person-organization (PO) fit and organizational attractiveness. The research program builds on ideas, assumptions, and contributions from different streams of the academic literature including the recruitment literature, the motivation literature (i.e., Self-Determination Theory), the cognitive psychological literature (i.e., Construal Level Theory) and the stereotyping literature. It is furthermore multimethod, in that a mix of surveys and experiments are proposed.

Your job as a  doctoral researcher includes the following activities:

• Design and analysis of a series of quantitative studies;
• Development of an implicit association test to measure organizational stereotyping;
• Writing scientific articles with the aim of including them in your PhD dissertation;
• Active participation in (international) seminars and conferences;
• Completion of the PhD program of the Faculty of Business and Economics (see:;


• You are interested in studying job seeking behavior, motivation and recruitment;
• You hold a master’s degree in Psychology, Applied Economics, or in other related disciplines;
• You have received at least two ‘honours’ (i.e., cum laude, distinction) mentions over the course of your higher education;
• You have demonstrable experience with, or a strong interest in designing and executing quantitative studies and quantitative data-analysis;
• Your written and spoken English is good;
• You have good academic writing skills;
• You are an intellectually curious, analytical ‘idea person’, with a knack for academic research and a proactive, self-directed approach to work.


We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher in a stimulating environment in the heart of Europe starting October 1st, 2013, for a period of 4 years (pending positive evaluation after 12 months). Working on a PhD will allow you to develop skills such as critical and analytical thinking, data-analysis, working in teams and leadership skills (e.g. in supervising master students). These skills are highly valued, both in the academic community and the field.

More information on the terms of employment can be found on:


Contact Prof. Dr. Karin Proost or Prof. Dr. Anja Van den Broeck to receive more information about the selection procedure and for any other questions you may have.



Interested candidates should send their Curriculum Vitae and a motivation letter to and before August 15th, 2013. Job interviews will preferably be held in the week of August 26th, leading to a decision no later than September 8th.