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Realistic Job Previews: Definition, Purpose & Examples

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  • 0:06 Realistic Job Preview
  • 1:08 Purpose of a RJP
  • 4:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Companies are always concerned with employee turnover and job commitment. Realistic job previews allow potential employees to get a view of both the positive and negative aspects of a potential position.

Realistic Job Preview

Nicholas always wanted to be an engineer. He spent most of his childhood and teen years in challenging academics, culminating in an advanced doctorate in aerospace engineering. Luckily, Nicholas was hired immediately by a large aerospace firm, where he designed future military aircrafts. During the hiring process, the job was portrayed as challenging, with potential for quick advancement, amazing pay, benefits and welcoming mentors. After working for the firm for only three months, Nicholas realized that the job was not at all what he expected. He started looking for a new job immediately.

Companies can avoid this type of situation by developing realistic job previews (RJP) for employees. An RJP consists of both positive and negative information regarding the position in order to give individuals a realistic view of employment with the company. Nicholas just completed an interview where he was given a realistic job preview.

Purpose of an RJP

Companies that employ realistic job previews provide information so that job candidates can make an informed decision about a position. In Nicholas's case, he hated his original job because it consisted of many long hours without any supervisor or teamwork. The job was portrayed much differently than what it really was. He was told that he would manage a team of interns, work a 9-5 day and have mentors to support his development. In reality, he did not have any interns, and there was minimal supervisory support, which led to confusion on projects. He also had to work over sixty hours a week to finish his enormous work load.

Nicholas's interview with the competition was very different. He was shown a realistic job preview video that depicted an ordinary day. In addition, the human resource manager explained in detail the expectations of the job. In the video, Nicholas was shown that, depending on project timelines, he could work an 8-hour day or have to put in extensive overtime. He also was shown in detail the mentoring program and how promotions into managerial positions would occur within the company. Although some of the information did not appeal to Nicholas, he felt that there were many good points to the job. He also felt reassured that he knew what to expect from the new position.

Companies that supply a realistic job preview tend to eliminate disappointment for employees. This helps alleviate any disappointment, hostility or feelings of deceit that employees may have if the job is different from what was promised during the hiring process.

Another benefit to realistic job previews is that new employees feel in control of their job, and this results in an increase in job satisfaction and organizational commitment. This leads to lower turnover and hiring costs. Turnover is the amount of workers that have to be replaced because of employees quitting. A company that utilizes a realistic job preview does not have any risk. The company might turn off a few potential employees who do not like the negatives revealed in the preview, but in the end, those same individuals would have been unhappy in the actual job, leading to turnover.

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