Experimental Design Details
Experimental setting – the online job board and job seekers:
We conduct the experiment on an online job board, which is one of the largest nationwide online job boards in China. The job board posts tens of millions of job openings per year with more than 100million registered job seekers, of whom millions are active each day. The job board specializes in white-collar, high-education jobs, and job seekers are highly educated. Employers post job ads that are produced using a standard template and that list important information about the job and employee requirements.
In order to search and apply for jobs on the job board, job seekers need to first register and provide individual information to construct a standardized résumé. The required information includes, among other things, gender, birth date, location, education and work/internship experience, current employment status, and type of job sought with location, intended industry, occupation and salary range specified.
As researchers, we have full access to the job seekers’ (anonymized) résumé (extracted from the administrative database at the time the survey is completed) as well as for which jobs they apply for both one month before and one month after the survey (extracted from the administrative database after one month the survey is completed).
After registering and logging in, job seekers can click to open job ads that are listed on employers’ web pages or presented to them after searching the system using a search bar. When they open an ad, they see a full-page description and can then click the “Send Résumé” button to send their pre- generated résumé to the employer to apply for that job. The employer receives the résumés immediately. At the same time, a chat box is created so that the employer and the job seeker can interact freely with each other if they would like to. However, it is common that most further interactions take place outside of the job board. Consequently, it is unlikely that we learn (via the job board) whether a job seeker receives an interview or job offer and whether such an offer is accepted.
Our surveys are run in cooperation with the job board and features their official company name, which is shown to job seekers. We define a job seeker as active if she applied for at least one job on the job board yesterday. On the first day of the survey, the job board draws the population of all active job seekers of that day and pushes the main survey through an in-app message to all of them. On subsequent days, the job board redraws the population of all active job seekers and pushes the survey to those eligible. The survey will be terminated when the sample size reaches our target.
For an explanation of the treatments, please refer to the intervention section above.