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Why Realistic Job Previews Are a Must in Your Preselection Process

A Realistic Job Preview (RJP) segment in your preselection process is a way to give candidates a taste of what the job is like. Before they start to work for your organization applicants get to see the good, the bad and the ugly of their future position.

Job adverts, colleague testimonials and video (office) previews are key in engaging 21st century candidates. If you’re not convinced yet, bear with us and start reading: Here’s why realistic job previews are a must in your preselection process.

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Management of Expectations

The most obvious one gets to go first. What better way to manage candidate expectations than with a realistic job preview? None, exactly. Sure, part of the recruitment and preselection process is the company ‘selling’ the job. But the job advert and hiring procedure should never oversell the role. In his book, ‘The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave’, Leigh Branham says the number 1 reason people go is the fact that the job or workplace is not as expected. ‘Unmet expectations’ he writes, cause 4% of new hires to leave their job on the first day and another 50% to quit during the first 6 months.

Too often still, the job doesn’t meet the applicant’s expectations. Reality turns out to be significantly different from what was promised during the preselection process. As a result, people often leave the organization only a few weeks in.

How RJP’s can help: Once candidates reach the preselection stage of your hiring procedure, the implementation of realistic job previews can help you paint a very clear picture of the job and your company. In fact, there’s probably no better way to manage applicant expectations than by an RJP. Think for example of a video tour of the office, showing them ‘their’ potential desk, workplace and even a couple of real life, on-the-job scenarios they will have to deal with once they start working.

Determine Culture Fit

Harver Tech Blog aficionados know how we think about company culture: It’s the heartbeat of your organization. As such, it may seem difficult to grasp, let alone measure and pour into a realistic job preview. And yet, 21st century HR technology has made it possible to do exactly that.

If you think of company culture as an organisation’s personality, you immediately understand why it’s important to make sure your future hires’ (personality) fits; just like human beings sometimes clash personality-wise, employees sometimes clash with their company’s culture.

How RJP’s can help: An RJP helps determine culture fit. By adding culture congruent questions and situations for a candidate to play out, you can decide whether or not a candidate gives culturally desirable answers. The establishment of culture fit by RJP however goes both ways. As a recruiter, you get to assess whether or not the candidate gives answers that are in line with your company culture. On their side, candidates get to check if they connect with your culture as well. More on hiring for culture fit with technology here.

Candidate Satisfaction

In branches such as Customer Service, Hospitality and Retail, a company’s candidates are often their (future) customers too. This adds an extra dimension to the preselection process: the art of keeping your customer, even when they’ve been rejected for the job. All the more reason to make sure you’ve got a dazzling, applicant friendly preselection process.

How RJP’s can help: Realistic job previews crank up candidate satisfaction because of their interactive nature. According to Robert Cialdini, reciprocity is one of the 6 principles of persuasion. Give a little something in order to get something (you want) in return. By giving applicants a realistic job preview, showing them how your organization rolls and educating them on what the job, office and colleagues are like, you get more engaged candidates in return. Still sceptical? There will always be something left to improve of course, but some of the reviews of the RJP module in TalentPitch, illustrate what we mean:

“Such a nice way to meet new potential coworkers, you really made me feel special during the application process. Thank you :)”

“That was by far the most fun I’ve ever had during an application process. The mix of assessed competencies, and the way in which they were applied into real work situations, was well done.”

I enjoyed seeing how much thought went into the application process. It did give me a good impression of the workplace, a kind of vibrant environment in which my energy and creativity would go to good use.”

“I had a lot of fun doing the application!”

Lower Turnover & Increase Engagement

When RJP’s are part of your preselection process, they play a distinct role in bringing down turnover rates and increasing engagement. Unmet expectations and low employee engagement are common turnover causes. Having realistic job previews in your preselection process has a positive long-term effect on both your turnover and engagement levels. Take an RJP that uses videos and co-worker testimonials to paint a truthful picture of life at your company for instance. Candidates get to experience what it’s really like to do that job they’re applying for. Better yet, they get to decide whether or not it’s for them. As a consequence, turnover because of unmet expectations will drop and those applicants that do accept the job will be more engaged. In other words: win-win.


There’s a reason they say save the best for last. Sure, realistic job previews in your preselection process give applicants a taste of what it’s like to work at your company. In the broadest sense of the word. And yes, including RJP’s in your hiring procedure will contribute to lower turnover and higher engagement levels. And of course your candidates will be happy they got to experience a virtual day in your office. But there’s one important aspect that has been neglected in all of this: the fun factor. The fun realistic job previews add to your preselection process and to your general workforce morale. Surely by now you’re convinced?

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Neelie Verlinden is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Digital HR Tech. She’s an experienced digital HR & HR Tech writer, speaker, and entrepreneur with an international background. She has written countless articles on all things HR technology.
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