Vocational and Personnel Psychology Lab (VoPP)

Description of research group

The Vocational and Personnel Psychology (VoPP) lab aims to conduct research about vocational and personnel psychology themes ranging from vocational interests and choice over recruitment and selection issues, to training and career guidance / coaching. Topics investigated by VoPP members address the growing demands for evidence-based advice on various contemporary career and personnel-related issues in vocational and work-related settings.

  • Research keywords: Personnel psychology; HRM

Members of our research group


Eva's research projects: Targeted recruitment; EdisTools; FedDiverse; Open Hiring; Job interviews; Job speeddating; Burnout prevention; Age-inclusive HRM; First impressions

Postdoctoral researcher

Stijn's research projects: EdisTools

Claudia's research projects: Burnout prevention

Aylin's research projects: Targeted recruitment

Teaching assistant & PhD candidate

Maaike's research projects: Age-inclusive HRM

PhD candidate

Delphine's research projects: Targeted recruitment

Loes research projects: Elk Talent Aan Boord 2.0

PhD-students affiliated to the research group

Researchers affiliated to the research group

Former PhD-students / post-doctoral researchers affiliated to the research group

Current research topics

Targeted Recruitment 

The ‘Targeted Recruitment’ topic of the VoPP Lab aims to create recruitment procedures that attract a diverse pool of applicants by considering the effects of age, gender, and ethnic (meta)stereotypes on job/organizational attraction and application behavior. As job seekers might be mindful of others’ beliefs about the group they identify with, these metastereotypes might refrain certain people from applying. Various quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used in this project, spanning from interview studies to lab experiments, such as eye-tracking experiments. 


The Edistools project aims to support ethnic diversity and to tackle ethnic discriminatory behaviour in four life domains (work, housing, education and healthcare) by examining the underlying mechanisms and broader contexts of ethnic discrimination and by developing user-friendly training tools and assessment instruments. Within this project, the VoPP lab is responsible for the development and validation of the DIES to measure and increase intercultural effectiveness. 

  • Funding: The EdisTools project (code 3179J5619) is a FWO-SBO project, funded by FWO Flanders. 
  • Researchers: Stijn Schelfhout, Louis Lippens, Eva Derous

Elk Talent Aan Boord 2.0

The project 'Elk Talent Aan Boord 2.0' is a collaboration with UNIZO, the Organisation for the Self-Employed and SMEs in Flanders. This project aims to stimulate DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace within SME companies and by doing so in an evidence-based and sustainable manner. As part of this initiative, the DIES tool will be administered (see also: EdisTools). Furthermore, it will also be explored how this  tool can be expanded to 14 vulnerable groups in the labour market that SMEs in Flanders wish to support.

  • Researchers: Loes Bollen, Stijn Schelfhout en Eva Derous


Ethnic minorities are still underrepresented at higher echelons of many organizations, including the public sector. FedDiverse is a co-funded project (UGent, VUB, UCL, BOSA) that aims to identify factors that promote (and inhibit) ethnic diversity in the federal public services during the initial screening stages as well as later career/promotion stages. The VoPP lab is responsible for work packages on objective and subjective career success related to organizational entrance and career/promotion within the federal public services. 

  • Funding: FedDiverse (code 12T6722) is a BelSpo Brain-be 2.0 Pillar 3 (federal societal challenges) project.
  • Researchers: Aylin Koçak, Bert Leysen (VUB), Eva Derous

Open Hiring 

Open HiringTM is an innovative recruitment tool that aims to remove application barriers and recruitment discrimination of low-skilled job seekers. Project goals are: (a) reaching, motivating to apply and activating low-skilled job seekers, (b) promotion of job retention among low-skilled workers, (c) addressing labour market shortages. The services of Open Hiring were developed and tested at companies in the Ghent Region, by means of prototyping, pilot study, and impact evaluation.

  • Funding: the Open Hiring project (code 42N01220) was funded by ESF. 
  • Reseachers: VoPP lab in partnership with Divergent - Ghent University, Antwerp Management School, UNIZO & City of Ghent

Burnout Prevention

Burn-out is an important public health issue. Much attention is being paid to preventing burnout in the workplace (primary prevention) but surprisingly less attention has been paid to secondary and tertiary prevention (i.e.,  the quality of work resumption once people resume work). Several studies investigate (a) quality of work resumption after burnout (e.g., Re-integratiebalans),  (b) stigmatization and discrimination of ex-burnout workers on further career chances and (c) effects of work regimes (like shorted ones) on burnout prevalence.

Job Interviews

Individuals with visual stigma often encounter discrimination in the employment interview. Paradoxically, raters' mindful control to avoid attention to stigmas might instigate stigmatization. This project investigated cognitive process (attentional bais) and moderators (both in the candidate and rater) of stigmatization among recruiters, using unobtrusive methods both in field and lab experiments for better understanding and averting hiring discrimination. 

  • Funding: The project was funded by the Special Research Fund (BOF -Ugent) (code 01N06910).
  • Reseachers: Alexander Buijsrogge

Job Speeddating

This project explores new perspectives on recruitment messages (i.e., what organizations communicate to job seekers) and on recruitment tools (i.e., the means by which organizations deliver their recruitment messages to job seekers). Specifically, job titles, differentiation strategies for employment offer, job speed dates and boundary conditions of these recruitment message elements and this recruitment tool were investigated.

  • Funding: This project (code 3179J5619) was funded by FWO Flanders. 
  • Researchers: Lien Wille, Eva Derous & Bert Weijters

Age-inclusive HRM

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is the aging and age-diverse workforce. This research stream considers age-inclusive HRM practices and currently investigates (a) technology-enhanced assessment and aging and (b) career development in later life and retirement.

First Impressions

Within a split second assessors form a first impression of a trainee. How does this first impression influence the final ratings of medical trainees? Unravelling this judgment process is essential for fair assessment of all medical trainees/students in our multicultural society.

  • Funding: These VENI and VIDI-projects are funded by the Netherlands Research Foundation (NWO).
  • Researchers: VoPP in collaboration with Karen Steger-Jager, Marise Ph. Born, Inge Otto, Joris Steinmann.