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Recruitment Intervention Strategies

RJP Issues Relating to the Behavioral Health Field

The Realistic Job Preview process can be adapted successfully to the realities of the behavioral health workforce. It is best suited for:
  • Employment environments in which applicants feel confident about terminating the selection process because there are abundant employment opportunities [1]; and
  • Occupations for which turnover is high. [2]
Realistic Job Previews can build on the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes (KSAs) that are often required for behavioral health positions. Although knowledge and skills can be tracked through degrees, credentials, written testing, or assessments, RJPs can help spotlight the personal aptitudes that are necessary to a position, but not easy to assess.

Peter W. Horn, Professor of Management in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University states that when social workers leave and are replaced by a new worker:
A newly hired behavioral technician won't be able to see as many clients as someone who is more proficient in the job…Productivity losses from personnel changes can impact revenue by a natural reduction in client-contact hours by the new hire over the more experienced worker.”

Dr. Horn also states that:
  • Turnover costs plague big and small businesses alike. Depending on skills and proficiency, the cost of replacing an employee can be as much as 200 percent of the previous employee's salary. In South Carolina, it costs an average of $20,282 each time a prevention specialist leaves to find another job.
  • On average, 20 percent of employees quit in a year.
  • When recruiting job candidates, employers often “sugarcoat” job descriptions. As a result, new hires can suffer from reality shock, then leave.
  • Realistic Job Previews have been found to cut turnover by an average of 8 percent. [3]
  • Dr. Horn believes that Honest Job Previews Can Cut Employee Turnover.[2.2.1.c.1]

[1]Braugh, J.A. (1983). Realistic job previews: A critical appraisal and future research. The Academy of Management Review. October 8, 4, 612-620.
[2] Permack, S., & Wanous, J. P. (1985). When does it hurt to tell the truth? The effect of realistic job previews on employee recruiting. Public Personnel Management. Fall, 413-422.
[3] W.P. Carey School, Arizona State University (2006, July 19). Get real: honest job previews can cut employee turnover. Knowledge W.P. Carey, Retrieved January 31, 2008, from

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