What, you may ask, is a realistic job preview (RJP)? In the following, we hope to answer this question and explain why a RJP may be one of your best recruitment tools in your HR toolbox.
A RJP is just that – an honest look at what a job truly entails. It can include the good, the bad and the ugly. The impact of a well-done RJP can be tremendous. When we weed out candidates prior to spending time and money on background checks, on-boarding, and training we save enormous amounts of time and money. The goal is to bring about a better understanding of what the candidate thinks the job entails and the reality of what the job is really all about.
We know that well crafted job descriptions are essential when hiring (and all through the employment relationship), however, it isn’t the whole story. When we give job candidates a realistic look at what the position they have applied for truly entails, we are apt to get candidates who are likely to be a better fit both for the position and the organization.
For example, if the position is a child care provider working with twelve to 18 month olds, the candidate could come and observe that beyond reading and playing with the child, there will be a lot of bending, lifting, carrying and diapering of those children. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to see how someone interacts with children and potential coworkers. When someone has the opportunity to see what a person in that position does (and perhaps ask questions) whether through videos or a few hours spent at the organization, there is likely to be a better fit for both parties. In the end, this results in better job satisfaction and less time and money wasted on a bad hire for the position.
Well designed RJPs have five key attributes, (as outlined in The Realistic Job Preview: Five Key Elements and Their Importance for Research and Practice). RJPs will have a significant impact on candidates’ decision to either accept or reject a job offer, if the information in the RJP:
- Is an accurate portrayal of both the positive and negative aspects of the job;
- Deals with the job specifically, rather than with a broad-brush overview;
- Describes the various aspects of the job, rather than focusing on a few elements;
- Is received from a credible source, such as incumbents or someone who has performed or supervised the job; and
- Is important for the applicant to know before deciding to accept the job offer. The ultimate goal of the RJP is to help in the hiring process to find truly qualified and committed employees. This is just one tool in your recruiting toolbox that can help lead you to solid hiring choices and therefore improve retention and engagement in your organization.
RJPs are about increased communication and transparency with candidates. If applied strategically, RJPs can reduce turnover and help you build a better team.