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Influencing Job Candidate Decisions with Incentives

Influencing Job Candidate Decisions with Incentives

Job Candidates

Matching recruits to their occupations is challenging for military components, such as the Army, which must integrate organizational needs with individual applicant aptitudes and preferences. To encourage qualified applicants to choose occupations where the need is greatest, the Army offers a variety of enlistment incentives, including any of several cash bonuses, educational support, and repayment of educational loans. The Enlistment Incentive Review Board (EIRB) determines occupational incentive types, levels, amounts, and qualification criteria as part of its quarterly review process. Given the limit on what can be offered, the EIRB requested a tool to assist them in establishing incentive policy to ensure that all available Army jobs are filled efficiently with qualified candidates. HumRRO was engaged to develop (a) a model of how applicants make their job choices and (b) a tool to support resource allocation decisions, given available incentives.


Using historical data about applicant choices, coupled with our sophisticated modeling expertise, HumRRO created a Job Choice Model (JCM) that identifi ed preferences for occupations and terms of service for differing levels of enlistment incentives. We then embedded this model in a proof-of-concept resource allocation decision support tool to predict the impact of different incentive policies on overall applicant enlistment and cost to the Army. Each policy specified levels of incentives and assigned these levels to specific occupations and terms of service.


The JCM provides powerful insight into the effects that different levels of incentives have on job choice. For simple policy changes the effects were intuitive while for complex policy changes the effects were more difficult to anticipate. Clearly, these data could prove to be exceptionally valuable for supporting the EIRB in developing its policy for allocation of incentives.


HumRRO’s Job Choice Model is an innovative method for taking a variety of key factors into account and providing important, concrete information to decision makers and key stakeholders. The project for the US Army demonstrates that our sophisticated modeling methods can be used effectively to allocate resources to incentives by bringing together an array of factors (e.g., aptitude, personality, and economic) that influence individuals’ job choices. However, one of the beauties of this tool is its applicability to a broad spectrum of decision making situations, such as consumer purchases or health related behaviors. HumRRO’s JCM offers organizations a new tool to inform decisions about incentives to encourage individuals to make choices supporting organizational priorities.

For more information on this topic, please contact Dr. Paul Sticha.

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