Purpose - This paper seeks to report an empirical test of Schneider's attraction proposition that organizations attract similar types of people. Design/methodology/approach - The person-people (PP), person-group (PG) and person-organization (PO) fit of applicants to eight utility firms were compared with the similar fits of members of a suitable comparison group. Findings - The results show an effect for person-vocation (PV) fit but, once this is controlled for, all significant effects disappear. In other words, the PP, PG and PO fits of applicants to the utilities were no different from those in the comparison group once PV fit was controlled for. Research limitations/implications - These results suggest that applicants choose which organization to apply to based on their desire for a particular type of work rather than their attraction for particular companies, which is contrary to Schneider's attraction proposition. One reason for this might be the nature of graduates who are largely unaware of the organizational environments to which they are applying. Drawing from the interpersonal attraction literature, it is argued that applicants need familiarity, proximity and exposure to the organization for Schneider's attraction proposition to appear. Practical implications - These results suggest graduates choose vocations over organizations and that, if organizations wish to attract people who share their values, they need to put more effort into their recruitment efforts than those described in this study. The absence of an attraction effect suggests that, when applicants make attraction decisions based on their perceived fit, they may not be supported by an actual congruence. Originality/value - This study extends previous workby including multiple conceptualizations of fit, by including person-group and person-people fits in addition to person-organization fit.