Effectiveness of job search interventions: a meta-analytic review

Songqi Liu, Jason L. Huang, Mo Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

178 Citations (Scopus)


The current meta-analytic review examined the effectiveness of job search interventions in facilitating job search success (i.e., obtaining employment). Major theoretical perspectives on job search interventions, including behavioral learning theory, theory of planned behavior, social cognitive theory, and coping theory, were reviewed and integrated to derive a taxonomy of critical job search intervention components. Summarizing the data from 47 experimentally or quasi-experimentally evaluated job search interventions, we found that the odds of obtaining employment were 2.67 times higher for job seekers participating in job search interventions compared to job seekers in the control group, who did not participate in such intervention programs. Our moderator analysis also suggested that job search interventions that contained certain components, including teaching job search skills, improving selfpresentation, boosting self-efficacy, encouraging proactivity, promoting goal setting, and enlisting social support, were more effective than interventions that did not include such components. More important, job search interventions effectively promoted employment only when both skill development and motivation enhancement were included. In addition, we found that job search interventions were more effective in helping younger and older (vs. middle-aged) job seekers, short-term (vs. long-term) unemployed job seekers, and job seekers with special needs and conditions (vs. job seekers in general) to find employment. Furthermore, meta-analytic path analysis revealed that increased job search skills, job search self-efficacy, and job search behaviors partially mediated the positive effect of job search interventions on obtaining employment. Theoretical and practical implications and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1041
Number of pages33
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Employment outcomes
  • Job search behaviors
  • Job search training interventions
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-regulation

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