Creating a job description that accurately represents what the role is truly about can be a struggle. Partially because what a recruiter sees as clear may not be so for a candidate. And partially because companies often try to show only the good aspects. However, your strategy to attract the right candidate should be based on an honest picture of the position and organisation – through a realistic job preview.

Psychology Today reports that 43% of ex-employees quit their jobs shortly after being hired because the role turned out to be different to what they had been led to believe. If you want to learn more about what causes mis-hires and how to prevent them – take a look at our previous post!

Now, let’s discuss what a realistic job preview is and how to implement it.

1. What Is a Realistic Job Preview?

RJP is like giving your applicants a sneak-peak behind the curtain. Repeating after Wanous (1980), RJP is a selection or recruitment tool helping candidates assess your organisation and the job to get the complete picture of what they might agree to.

An efficient recruitment process should be a two-way street. On one side, you can accurately inform applicants about your expectations toward them. On the other, they get to make a well-informed decision on whether the role falls within their expectations and capabilities.

Without sugar coating, you present both the positives and the negatives of the job. That way, job seekers can better understand the skills needed to succeed in the position at your organisation specifically.

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Such an open exchange of information is essential for both parties as it improves the quality of their decisions. The recruitment goal should be reaching a point where the employer’s and candidate’s expectations match to ensure the best fit possible. If the alignment between the parties is not met, it can lead to dire consequences such as turnover, unproductivity or even an unfavourable image of the brand.

A realistic job preview is your way to maximise the chances of finding the best match. In this blog post, we’ll discuss all the benefits you (and applicants!) can draw from RJPs and how to implement them.

2. How Is It Beneficial to Your Organisation?

The hiring process is the most efficient when it leads to a successful hire. However, to achieve that, there needs to be a mutual information flow between your company and the candidate. Only then can you assure that both parties can make a well-informed and conscious decision about hiring and accepting the job.

Using RJPs has several vital attributes your organisation can benefit from.

A: Your Strategy to Reduce Turnover

Turnover is the real plague that can cast a shadow on your recruitment. With all the resources you spend on acquiring suitable candidates, seeing them quit or having to lay them off is the last thing on a recruiter’s agenda.

Luckily, RJP is an excellent method to reduce the chances of mis-hires.

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If you were to guess, what is one of the top reasons new hires walk away? No, it’s not the lack of skills. As it turns out, 60% of mis-hires result from misaligned job expectations.

During the first three months of employment, you get to test out the new hire. But on the flip side, they test you and the job. And it’s very often then that they realise the reality is not as they had pictured it.

Providing applicants with a candid description of the job and the organisation decreases the chances of overall misunderstandings. In fact, according to a survey, people who were given an accurate picture of the role had a better retention rate than those who didn’t. Based on the data, 57% of candidates who had a realistic vision of the position stayed in the company for over 18 months, compared to 35% from the opposing group.

It ought to be remembered that not every talent you consider great will be so in the context of your company. Hence, including realistic job previews in your recruitment strategies enhances the chances of that being the case.

B: Pre-selection & Attracting the Right Candidates

Establishing the required expectations and the real picture of the job assures that everyone is on the same page. When you don’t paint the perfect picture of the role but also show its ugly aspects, you allow candidates to pre-select themselves from the process before any decisions are made.

According to a meta-analysis, RJPs tend to lower initial job expectations. That way, job seekers who don’t like the disadvantages associated with the job are less likely to apply – reducing the number of candidates you get.

Normally, attracting fewer candidates would be seen as a downside. However, recruiting more people is of little value if they’re not the right fit. People who are aware of the good and the bad sides of the job and are still motivated to follow through with the application are more likely to be a better fit. And the quality of hires beats quantity every time.

Realistic job previews help you filter the applicant pool by letting them pre-select themselves upfront. Those who stay, although less numerous, are more likely to be a better match in terms of expectations (both yours and theirs) and preparedness to tackle the challenges that come with the job.

C: Improved Candidate Experience = Stronger Brand

The importance of employer branding and its role in talent attraction is undeniable. 53% of the recruiters surveyed by LinkedIn admitted they’d invest precisely in employer branding if their budget was unlimited.

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One of the ways to improve your employer brand is by providing a positive candidate experience to everyone. That’s where RJPs come with assistance.

A detailed job description is one of the most sought-after elements in a job posting for applicants. Providing them with a realistic job preview is likely to increase candidate experience as it shows you respect and transparency are your core values.

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Suzko and Bereague (1986) concluded that indeed applicants who are offered RJPs perceive the organisation as honest, and their satisfaction with the process increases. So even if a candidate turns down an offer or withdraws after learning about the role, they won’t feel disgruntled with the brand.

That’s crucial considering that 67% of applicants claim they’d re-apply at a company if their candidate experience was positive. That way, you strengthen your brand and amass a larger talent pool for the future.

D: Cheaper & Efficient Process

Hiring a new employee is an expensive enterprise. The costs of a single hire can be estimated at as much as nearly $17,000. That’s, of course, assuming you hire the right person right away!

Adopting recruitment strategies that help reduce those costs is crucial. Realistic job previews are beneficial to your organisation, for they assure early alignment and influence preselection on the part of the candidate. That way, you don’t need to spend time on unfit applicants for the role. Based on data, almost half of candidates remove themselves from the application process after receiving an RJP.

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According to Murray Resources, 71% of the surveyed recruiters say they interview four to ten candidates per role. On top of that, 49% of them admit to having at least three rounds in their process. From that perspective, fewer applicants – but of better quality – only make your work cheaper and more efficient.

Even better so, RJP requires no further administration on your part once it’s created!

3. What Should a Realistic Job Preview Include?

Now that we know why it’s beneficial to incorporate RJPs to attain your recruitment goals let’s see what they should include.

  • Day-to-day Duties

RJP should convey an accurate picture of the duties your employee will face. To avoid unrealistic expectations, include both the rewarding and the challenging aspects. When creating a job description, always think: what would I like to know about the role? It may be a good idea to talk to an employee in a similar position as their experience will be priceless.

  • Company culture

Since company culture varies from business to business, you need to state your standard clearly. Based on a 2005 analysis, employees who fit with the organisational culture and coworkers tend to remain longer with the company and perform better – aspects not to be ignored. Be transparent about the realities of working for your company to target only those who resonate with your culture. Showcase your values, how staff spends their free time and how they interact with each other.

  • Development Opportunities

Once you’ve covered the expectations and culture, address the future. Applicants want to know how they can grow with you. In fact, 44% of jobseekers named opportunities for career advancement as the reason to accept the job offer. Talk about possible development opportunities, training, and promotions. That way, you convey that you’re looking for someone long-term and are willing to invest in their growth.  

4. How to Implement It?

Besides all the benefits RJPs have for your organisation, they’re also affordable and simple to create. You can provide potential candidates with what they need regardless of the budget.

How to easily showcase your culture, expectations, workplace environment, and duties to all jobseekers?

A: Employee Testimonial Video

Nobody knows your organisation better than your current employees. Hence, employee testimonials are one of the most valuable sources of information for potential applicants. Statistics show that applicants are three times more likely to trust existing employees as to what working at your company looks like. Use that to your advantage and ask your employees to give video testimonials about the culture and an insight into their daily life at work. According to a LinkedIn survey, 51% of candidates stated that visiting the office is their preferred way to learn about the work environment. Considering the challenges brought by the pandemic, it may not always be possible. Instead of failing applicants’ needs, give them a valuable substitute!

B: Work Samples

In a Lighthouse Research survey, 31% of job seekers indicated they’d want to see a job preview video before applying. Clearly, a need for clarity regarding duties related to the role is present. At Innoflow, however, we believe that an even better job preview is to let candidates get a taste of the tasks themselves. Allowing a candidate to solve a case (work sample) as a part of the application process gives them a chance to see first-hand what they’d be tackling on the job. Moreover, prospective candidates can assess themselves if they’re ready to make such a commitment or withdraw from the process, leaving you with the most motivated ones.

Attract & Retain with Realistic Job Previews

Recruitment goals are to target, attract, and retain the best talents at minimum costs. A realistic job preview gives you a chance to achieve exactly that – efficiently.

Maximise your chances of finding the right candidates the first time around by giving them a realistic image of the role and expectations at your organisation specifically.

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