Realistic Job Preview and How to Use It in Your Hiring Process by Mile Živković on Jul 15, 2019

Recently hired someone and they quit soon after signing their contract? You’re not alone. According to research, 28% of employees quit within their first 90 days of starting a new job. There are multiple reasons for this and while some of the blame can be put on the candidate, there are lots that you can do as an employer to prevent this kind of turnover.

Imagine that you are the candidate, looking to apply for a job. You go to a job ad on a job board, you read it through, you like the responsibilities, the requirements and the salary and you decide to apply.

Then you get a call for an interview and you’re excited as you think you’ve almost bagged your dream job. The interviewer starts asking about your past experience and whether you can do some tasks related to the job. Here’s the catch, they also ask about tasks not mentioned in the job ad. Never mind, you say, you get the job and start working, only to find out the actual job is nothing like the job ad described it to be.

The problem – the job ad was dishonest and what the candidate got is completely different from what they expected. The solution – a realistic job preview or RJP.

What is a realistic job preview?

The term is pretty self-explanatory, but in essence, a realistic job preview tells the candidate exactly what the job is like. No fluff, just being completely honest about what the job entails. This means both the positive and the negative sides of the job – which many companies tend to avoid.

When a candidate applies to one of your openings, you would be pretty upset if they lied about their experience, references, previous education or criminal background. The same applies to candidates. If you give them promises of an idyllic place to work – they will expect it when they get hired.

Why is it important to have realistic job previews?

In a nutshell, to maintain your integrity and have more success in hiring. Realistic job interviews go a long way in building a great employer brand and they benefit both the employers and the employees.

Reason #1: lower turnover. One of the major reasons why employees quit soon after starting is because they’ve been lied to in the hiring process. If you’re honest about what the job entails, fewer employees will leave you.

Reason #2: less money spent on hiring. Each new hire costs significant amounts of money, as we’ve written before. By keeping your job previews realistic, you’re making sure that money doesn’t go to waste.

Reason #3: better candidates. If they know from the start what the job entails, candidates will feel either encouraged or discouraged to apply. The job ad will act as a filter to dissuade unsuitable candidates from applying.

Finally, there are some downsides to the realistic job preview as well. First, the role could change over time and giving a realistic depiction of the role can be pretty difficult. Second, if it’s your first time hiring for a certain position, you won’t know what it really entails.

How to implement a realistic job preview in your hiring process

Depending on your industry, the type of role you’re hiring and many other factors, there are different ways to implement a realistic job preview in your hiring process. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Simply be honest

Take a step back and be completely honest about the role you’re hiring for. What are the core responsibilities of the employee? What are the biggest challenges they will be facing? What are the biggest benefits of working in this role? Who will the employee report to and is there clear career progression in the role? Be as honest as possible when presenting these details in your next job ad.

2. Give the candidates a test

A sure-fire way for the candidates to know what the job is really like is to take a test with some of the responsibilities they’d have in the job. For example, you can use Hundred5 to create a skill test with the main responsibilities of the job. The candidates take the test as part of the application process. That way, they can see what the job is like and you can automatically disqualify candidates who don’t meet your standards, i.e. don’t pass the test threshold.

hundred5 candidate pipeline

3. Arrange a trial period

At Hundred5, we’re pretty serious about hiring – after all, it’s what we do. When it comes to hiring our own staff, we have several stages of the hiring process. Before making the final offer, we always have a paid test period, where the candidate works alongside our team for a couple of days. That way, we get to see if they’re really fit for the job. On the flip side, the candidate gets an actual realistic job preview, because they find out what the job is really about before signing a contract.

4. Employee testimonials

Perhaps the best way for an employee to know what the job is really like is to hear it from someone working in the same or similar position. Ideally, it’s someone who’s great at their job and passionate about sharing it with someone else.

There are several ways you can go about creating a testimonial. You can simply have the employee write it or you can record a video for a more authentic experience. Whichever route you go, make sure the employees give in-depth accounts of what their usual workday is like.

Besides the testimonial from a person in the same role, you can also create a testimonial with someone from the HR team, such as the hiring manager. They can tell more about the role and what it entails while being as objective as possible.

Once you have some testimonials ready, be sure to use them to the full extent. You can post them on your job ads, career pages, LinkedIn, About Us pages, post them on social media, etc.

For example, some brands like Motorola have great employee testimonial videos on their YouTube channel, gathering quite a few views:


No matter what type of role you’re hiring for, a realistic job preview is a must. You will make better hires, spend less money and time and build a better employer brand in the process. Candidates will know exactly what they’re applying for, and as a result, you’ll have a much easier time finding the perfect person for the job.

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