Realistic job preview

Realistic job preview (RJP) is a tool companies and organizations use as a way to communicate the good and the bad characteristics of the job during the hiring process of new employees, or as a tool to reestablish job specificity for existing employees. Realistic job previews should provide the individuals with a well-rounded description that details what obligations the individual can expect to perform while working for that specific company. Descriptions may include, but are not limited to, work environment, expectations, and Company policies (rules, restrictions).

At the heart of realistic job previews are the employee exchange or psychological contract between employer and employee. By being hired after use of the RJP, the employee enters the contract aware of what the organization will provide to them (pay, hours, schedule flexibility, culture, etc.) as well as what will be expected from them (late hours, stress, customer interaction, high urgency, degree of physical risk, etc.).

Realistic job preview is a psychological contract between an employee and an employer. A realistic job preview/RJP is a job description that lets potential candidates know the details of the job they have applied for regarding pay, hours, schedule flexibility, and culture. The purpose of a hiring manager giving a realistic job preview is to make sure a new candidate/employee is fully aware of what the job entails. Realistic job previews help form bonds and build mutual trust with candidates, which leads to a lower turnover ratio, which is high with new hires. High turnover of new hires can occur when they are unpleasantly surprised by an aspect of their job, especially if that aspect is important to them (e.g. unpleasant working environments, inflexible schedule and unreasonable working hours). For example, if a new employee started a new job with an understanding that they wouldn’t have to work weekends and then are immediately scheduled for a Saturday night, it undermines that trust and the psychological contract is breached. Better informed candidates who continue the application process are more likely to know what to expect and have the job to be a good fit while the ones who choose not to continue, save themselves time pursuing a job or company that wasn’t right for them. Realistic job previews can save approximately $300,000 over a five year period if it decreases turnover of one senior staff (employee) and one (entry) lower-level employee during the span of that five years, though the savings could be much greater depending on the size of the company.[4] Receiving a detailed RJP plays a very important role in the socialization of new employees. RJPs also help influence the behaviors and attitudes of new hires, and is crucial when a new employee is starting in a new organization.

A quality realistic job preview has a bigger psychological purpose than one may think. If the expectations and promises aren’t met to the employee, it can cause dissatisfaction and lead to dysfunctional organizational outcomes. For example, if a company continuously overemphasizes its benefits, job outlooks etc., it will not meet up to the expectations it had previously set for itself, thus lowering trust, which can lead to turnover.


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