Trust has long been a subject of academic interest from philosophical, moral and ethical standpoints, followed by scientific trust research in the fields of sociology, psychology and in the organisational and business context. This study focusses on the role of trust in the context of headhunting. Based on the “integrative model of organisational trust” by Mayer et al. (1995), the author developed a conceptual framework, positing the influence of the perception of a headhunter's trustworthiness by both candidates and clients on their trust behaviour in the initial exchange phase, when trust is established - or not. A deductive, quantitative approach was chosen to test this framework and related hypotheses with a web-based survey. Data was gathered from 282 candidates and 175 clients. Regression and mediator/moderator analyses revealed that perceived trustworthiness shows a significant direct, positive impact on trust behaviour for both candidates and clients. Trust propensity is supported as a moderator for both. Risk perception serves as a moderator in the client environment. Membership in an industry association is supported as a moderator in the candidate environment. This study contributes to practice by explaining the mechanisms behind being perceived as trustworthy and its impact on business, by successfully acquiring client projects, winning candidates for those projects and building long-term business relationships. The results make headhunters aware of the importance of being perceived as trustworthy for their business success. It can help search firms in hiring and developing their consulting talent and help candidates and clients to make better selection decisions for headhunters. The theoretical contribution of this study lies in its confirmation of the relationship between perceived trustworthiness and trust behaviour in the context of headhunting. The study can also serve as a basis for further research in the role of trust in headhunting or related fields of business, such as coaching and consulting.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2018|