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Recruitment Intervention Strategies

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Recruitment Intervention Strategies   Introduction to the Realistic Job Preview [2.2.1a]

Introduction to the Realistic Job Preview [2.2.1a]

Quick Take on Realistic Job Previews (RJP)
  1. Reduces voluntary turnover.
  2. Focuses time and resources for only the serious candidates.
  3. Focuses time and resources for only the serious candidates.
  4. Increases the chance of an appropriate hire.
  5. Less confusion/more commitment from the newly hired.
One of the recruitment methods available to the behavioral health field is a Realistic Job Preview (RJP). RJP is the term used for a recruiting process that provides the employment candidate with a clear idea of what the job really entails. The hiring process is less of a “sell” and more of a “match.” The goal is to reduce turnover by encouraging only suitable candidates as they advance through the selection process.
Breaugh & Billings, who studied the organizational use of RJPs, stated that, “…a key reason for why RJPs reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction is that RJPs allow job applicants to self-select out of jobs that are not seen as fulfilling their needs… Thus, the applicants who remain are more likely to be satisfied with the job, if a job offer is extended, and therefore less likely to subsequently leave it.” [1]
Two matches are being made during the candidate selection process:
  • The employer is matching the job requirements with the candidate’s qualifications.
  • The candidate is matching his or her human needs with the organizational culture and job requirements. [2] 
The RJP process occurs early in the selection process. A “pause” is provided before the next step of the application, which allows the candidate to review the requirements and terminate the process if warranted. Candidates whose needs will not be met by the position are encouraged to self-select out.
RJPs can be carried out through a variety of methods and multiple steps, including: 
The above methods are available through this Web portal.
Other informal RJP methods include telephone contact, shadowing, “off the record” conversations, and other two-way communication.
The use of multiple RJP methods is more effective than the use of a single approach. The selection process can be structured to use the RJPs that best meet the needs of the hiring organization.
The RJP should objectively show the positive, negative, and unique aspects of the job and the organizational environment to result in a good match between expectations and reality. [3] For example, the RPJ should provide information on a typical business hours, transportation and travel, specific personal traits or qualifications that will be needed, the typical client/customer base, the organizational culture, or specifications that are not listed in the job description, but are integral to the position.

[1] Breaugh, Author J., & Billings, R. S. (1988). The realistic job preview: Five key elements and their importance for research and practice. Journal of Business and Psychology. Volume 2, No. 4, Summer, 291-305.
[2] Wanous, J.P. 1977. “Organizational entry: the individual’s viewpoint.” in Perspectives on Behavior in Organizations, edited by J.R. Hackman, E. Lawler and L. Porter. 1st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 126-135.
[3]Wanous, J.P. 1989. “Installing a realistic job preview: ten tough choices.” Personnel
Psychology. Spring, 42:117-134.

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