Can job seekers achieve more through networking? The role of networking intensity, self-efficacy, and proximal benefits

Connie R. Wanberg, Edwin A.J. van Hooft, Songqi Liu, Borbala Csillag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors develop and evaluate an online networking intervention, Building Relationships and Improving Opportunities (BRIO), built in conjunction with the networking literature and social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986, 1999). A field experiment using 491 unemployed job seekers shows that the intervention increases networking intensity, networking self-efficacy, and proximal networking benefits. Further, the intervention generates higher quality reemployment through its positive effects on networking self-efficacy. Individuals who completed the intervention and were also lower in extraversion showed the most positive improvements in networking self-efficacy and reemployment quality. The study advances the literature by uncovering the mechanisms through which a networking intervention may result in improved reemployment success, and demonstrating the moderating role of individual differences in affecting intervention outcomes. The study helps practice by providing a publicly available, research-based training to improve job search networking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-585
Number of pages27
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#00036029) and by an Open Research Area grant (Number 464‐13‐046) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. The authors thank Jim Hegman and Gerald Mulhern as well as their staff at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, whose passionate support of unemployment research facilitated the time and effort involved in the implementation of this experimental field study.


  • job search
  • job search training interventions
  • networking
  • reemployment
  • social cognitive theory

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