How do young people use networks when job seeking? Publication in press with the Journal of Documentation

Networking as an information behaviour during job search: a study of active job seekers in the Scottish youth labour market‘ is about the role of networking amongst 16-24 year old active job seekers living in Scotland.

Treating job search networking as an information behaviour, and underpinned by Wilson’s (1999) information seeking behaviour model, the informational role of networks in relation to labour market outcomes are elucidated in this paper.  I co-authored this work with Dr John Mowbray of the University of Glasgow, and we are pleased that it has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Documentation.

Our findings show that young job seekers acquire a range of networked information throughout the process of job search. This can help them to devise a job search goal, tailor job search products such as CVs and job applications, and source job vacancies. We also demonstrate that active networking can lead to access to a greater quantity of information, and an increase in the chances that others will mobilise on the behalf of job seekers to provide them with job-related information. Some of these contacts furnish tailored advice, and others – especially close contacts – help to ‘double up’ job seeking efforts by becoming active participants in the job search.

Also in our analysis we demonstrate that a positive relationship exists between frequent networking and interview invitations. This suggests that engaging with others on a regular basis can provide young people with an advantage when completing job search tasks.

However, it should be noted that the propensity for job seekers to network is contingent on a host of factors. These include the occupational level of the job role sought, motivation to find a job, and an awareness of the utility of networking as an information behaviour.

The full citation for the paper is: Mowbray, J. & Hall, H. (2019 in press). Networking as an information behaviour during job search: a study of active job seekers in the Scottish youth labour market. Journal of Documentation. It is accessible as a full text pdf manuscript from the Edinburgh Napier repository.

This work is an output from Dr John Mowbray’s PhD, which was funded by the ESRC and Skilled Development Scotland, and completed in 2018. John’s full thesis The role of networking and social media tools during job search: an information behaviour perspective is also available from the Edinburgh Napier repository.

PhD graduate Dr John Mowbray with his Director of Studies Professor Hazel Hall

Co-authors Dr John Mowbray & Professor Hazel Hall

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