Recruitment & Selection

How Can Organizational Citizenship Behavior Influence Selection Decisions?

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is thought to be one of the many factors that influence managers as they make selection decisions based upon job interviews. OCB is the behavior of an employee which may not be a part of the job role, but supports the work environment at large by supporting fellow employees and the organization as a whole. Applicants who display OCB during job interviews are less likely to voluntarily quit, are likely to be more productive, and are likely to be more efficient than their coworkers.  Questions that attempt to gauge OCB can be included in the job interview to help with selection decisions. 

Types of OCB

The interview situation gives managers an opportunity to ask questions that tap into the applicant’s potential for future OCB while on the job; however, they should be aware that certain behaviors during the interview may influence their decision process.  Specifically, three aspects of OCB are influential in selection decisions and will be discussed further: helping behavior, voice behavior, and organizational loyalty behavior.
  • Helping behavior.  This involves voluntarily helping others with work-related problems or helping to prevent them.
  • Voice behavior.  This involves expression of constructive challenge intended to improve a situation within an organization.
  • Organizational loyalty behavior. This involves the manifestation and evidence of employee commitment.

OCB and Interviewer Perceptions

Manager’s and interviewer’s expectations of a possible future employee (including perceptions of competence, overall evaluations, and salary recommendations) can be influenced by each of these three factors.  The more helping behavior, voice behavior, and organizational loyalty behavior an interviewee displays during an interview, the higher the perceptions of competence, overall evaluations, and salary recommendations will be.

Practical Implications

Those who make the selection decisions after an interview should not hesitate to look for these displays of OCB during the interview, because, as noted above, they can predict many positive outcomes for the organization.  Interviewers should be aware that the information gathered on OBCs in the interview should be taken cautiously though.  This is because not all OCBs are behaviors that affect the organization’s bottom line.  If the behaviors do not benefit the organization, but the interviewer allows this display to influence his or her decision, it may not lead to the best decision for the organization. The aspects of OCB that are going to be relevant for an organization and be important to performance differ across organizations and jobs because every organization and job has different needs when it comes to this type of supportive behaviors.  Interviewers should be trained in advance so that they know what behavior it is that the organization is looking for.  Specifically, which OCBs are important to the bottom line and which are not.  Useful information can be obtained from the display of OCBs as long as the interviewer knows what to look for.

Ashley Niemczyk


This was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Podsakoff, N.P., Whiting, S.W., Podsakoff, P.M., & Mishra, P. (2011). Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(2), 310-326.