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What a realistic job preview is and how to create one

Written by Raji Oluwaniyi

One of the most frustrating things for recruiters is when new employees leave soon after they start a post. Most of the time, the reason why these employees quit is that the job wasn’t what they expected.

Aside from focusing on hiring talented and suitable employees, recruiters must also invest in retention. Thankfully, there is a tried and tested method to ensure your employees stay with your company: realistic job previews.

Realistic job previews show candidates beforehand what a job will look like if they’re offered the role. It goes beyond the job description and remuneration details, which aim to attract the candidates’ attention.

In this article, we will explain what a realistic job preview is and why it’s important. We will also describe how you can apply this technique to your recruitment, creating a realistic job preview that will ensure new employees align with your company.

What is a realistic job preview (RJP)?

A realistic job preview is a recruitment strategy in which a company gives the candidates an insight into what securing the open role is like. In other words, it shows candidates the reality of a position before they acquire it.

In essence, the role of a realistic job preview is to demonstrate what a typical day working with a particular company entails. It should include the daily duties of the open role, the company’s values, and how things work at the organization.

With a realistic job preview, candidates can see beyond the attractive job description and acknowledge the responsibilities of the position. 

Although realistic job preview help you identify and hire the best talent for your business, not many companies have taken advantage of this technique. In fact, its usefulness has only recently come into the limelight.

As a business seeking to hire candidates that aren’t just talented but also fit with your company culture, a realistic job preview should be an integral part of your recruitment. That way, you can ensure that your candidates are well-informed and you will reduce the risk of losing new employees.

Why should you use a realistic job preview (RJP)?

Fundamentally, a realistic job preview is important for finding employees that will last in your company.

Since using a realistic job preview demands that you show candidates what a particular post looks like, you have to demonstrate both the pros and cons of the job. This way, you will only recruit talented candidates who are likely to stick with your company.

Realistic job previews ensure you find candidates that fit your company’s culture and can work under the conditions your business provides. Those who apply after viewing the job preview are more likely to commit to their roles and help your company succeed.

Another benefit of realistic job previews is that they improve the candidate experience. Your candidates will receive real-time insights into what the job looks like inside the company, enabling them to make better and more informed decisions.

What are the forms of a realistic job preview (RJP)?

A realistic job preview can take different forms, depending on the company’s preference, budget, and the availability of resources. Below are some of the formats in which you can apply a realistic job preview to your recruitment:

what are forms of realistic job preview

1. Written job previews

Using media like PowerPoint presentations, brochures, and online pieces is one way you can incorporate written job previews into your recruitment. Realistic job preview in written form are generally accessible and low in cost.

An example of a realistic job preview that takes this form is that of the Los Angeles Personnel Department. They use a simple text summary to explain to candidates what working with them looks like from the inside.

2. Situational-judgment tests

Situational-judgment tests are a great way to create a realistic picture of what working with your company looks like. These assessments use questions that present plausible scenarios in the open role that enable you to predict your candidates’ reactions to various situations.

As candidates take the situational-judgment test, it tells them about the conditions they will be exposed to while working in your company. 

3. Video previews

One of the most immersive forms of realistic job preview is video previews. These are brief but detailed videos that show candidates the functions of the role. 

Video previews may be more expensive than brochures or assessments, but they are one of the most effective forms of realistic job preview. One company that makes good use of video previews is the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

4. Virtual reality

Virtual reality goes beyond using video clips to show candidates the demands of working at an organization. It provides a more immersive way of introducing them to the business ethics and culture of the company.

Although virtual reality is a new form of realistic job preview, it has enormous potential. Since it gives candidates a virtual job experience, it also improves their experience significantly.

5. Interviews

During a job interview, you can incorporate situational questions to help you view how candidates would fit into your organization. You can also inform candidates of your company structure, ethics, and culture so they can decide if they align with your practices.

How to create a realistic job preview

Creating the perfect realistic job preview requires a balance between showing candidates the benefits and duties of a role. Without guidance, this can be tricky. 

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to creating a realistic job preview for your company:

how to create a realistic job preview

1. Start by drafting your job description

The fundamental aim of a job description is to attract candidates to the open role. However, besides capturing the attention of candidates, a good job description should serve as the basis of your realistic job preview.

2. Outline what candidates stand to earn from the job

After assembling all the key pieces of information about the role in the job description, the next step is to state the benefits of the position. This should boost a potential candidate’s interest in the role even further.

3. Showcase your employees

Since a major part of any job is interaction with other employees, it is always a good idea to showcase your employees in your job preview. In doing so, you can demonstrate how inclusive your company is.

4. Talk about your company’s values and culture

To give your candidates a deeper feel of the atmosphere at your company, you must talk about your company’s values and culture. This includes explaining how things work at the company, describing your company structure, and discussing your core business ethics.

5. Add an effective assessment

Incorporating assessments like situational-judgment or role-specific tests is an excellent way to give candidates a realistic picture of what the job entails. In addition, they tell you if the candidate is suitable for the role.

6. Include your plans for development

Talking about your plans for growth makes your candidates feel like they will be a part of your organization’s future. This boosts the candidate experience and is an excellent addition to your job preview. 

In addition, candidates can compare their goals with yours to find out if they match and if they can provide further benefits for your organization.

Transform your recruitment with TestGorilla

Pre-employment tests are undoubtedly a central part of designing a great recruitment strategy. Equally, they are also an essential part of your realistic job preview. And these tests must be reliable to improve your candidates’ experience while measuring their fit for the role.

TestGorilla is a platform that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to pre-employment assessments. Our test library has a range of both situational-judgment and role-specific tests that will help give your candidate a realistic feel for your open role.


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