Abstract This study investigates the mechanisms that explain why person–organization (PO) fit impacts organizational attraction. Adopting Edwards and Cable’s (2009) approach, an integrative model is developed around the idea that experiencing value congruence during the recruitment process perpetuates certain expectations about future work environments and employer relationships. These expectations in turn have a positive impact on organizational attraction. Evidence from a longitudinal study on a sample of job seekers suggests that expected opportunities for value expression and need fulfillment offered the most viable explanations of value congruence effects. The implications of important observed differences in the experience of PO fit between job seekers and full-time employees are discussed.