What is a Realistic Job Preview?

A realistic job preview (RJP) provides a clear idea about a job to potential employees by presenting what previous workers have found to be the rewards and the challenges of the position. The purpose of an RJP is not to make an overly positive presentation of the job to attract many workers; instead it aims at presenting a realistic view of the position in order to attract the right workers. RJPs increase the likelihood that people who are hired for the position understand and accept the job conditions and will stay with the position.

DADS Realistic Job Preview Videos

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) has developed two 20-minute realistic job preview videos for employers to use before hiring direct support workers.

How to Use the Videos

The videos may be used to enhance the success of your existing job screening process. Here are some suggestions for using the videos:

  1. Conduct preliminary job interviews.
  2. Identify the applicants who appear to be good candidates for the position, and ask them to view the video. Let them know that you are asking them to view the video because they are strong candidates for the position. Research suggests that job applicants who believe that they are close to obtaining a position pay closer attention to the videos.
  3. Conduct follow-up interviews in which you:
  • List the specific job duties that they will be responsible for (e.g., cooking meals, assisting with toileting, driving to community activities, record keeping, etc.).
  • Describe the general condition of the person to be supported and discuss how that person shares similarities with one or more of the people appearing in the video. This will be especially useful if your hiring process does not typically allow job candidates to meet the person they will be supporting.
  • Ask the candidates how they feel about their ability to handle challenges presented in the video that are similar to the challenges they are likely to face at work.
  • Describe advantages of this type of work (e.g., flexible schedules and other elements that current or former employees have found to be positive aspects of the job).
  • Ask the candidates whether they believe that they have some of the personality qualities described in the video as being necessary for direct support. If they reply "yes," ask them to name which ones.
  • Ask if they have any questions for you, based upon the video.
  • List any job pre-requisites that apply (such as drug screening, ability to lift a set amount of weight, etc.).
  • Discuss expected standards of work behavior and ethics including the need to show up on time for work, the amount of notice expected before leaving the job, and zero tolerance of abuse or neglect.
  • Describe job hours, schedule, salary and benefits (e.g., health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, paid sick leave or paid vacation leave).
  • Consider using a structured observation preview in which strong job applicants spend one to two hours observing work conditions and asking questions of current workers or supervisors. Having an applicant who does not accept the position pay a visit to a work site is far less disruptive than hiring workers who leave the position quickly because they did not fully understand the job requirements and conditions before accepting the position.

The Real Costs of Employee Turnover

Numerous studies have found RJPs to be effective in reducing employee turnover. Turnover is costly in many ways.

  1. The monetary costs to an employer of:
    • placing a new advertisement for the position;
    • staff time involved in interviewing and screening job applicants;
    • the costs of drug tests and criminal background checks; and
    • new employee training costs. (The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the total cost of direct support worker turnover per employee to be in the range of $4,200 to $5,200.)
  2. The stress caused to other direct support workers, the employer and/or the family members who will need to undertake the additional support work.
  3. The stress caused to the individuals being supported, who may have to go without support for a time or receive less skilled support.
  4. Lowered employee and employer morale, and lower consumer satisfaction.

References

Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2004). Realistic Job Preview: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations for Michigan Family Independence Agency. Retrieved from https://cps.ca.gov/ConsultingServices/HSRC/MIFIAAppendices/Append_G_FIA_CCHP_Realistic_Job_Preview.pdf

CPS Human Resource Services. (2007). The RJP Tool Kit: A How-To Guide for Developing a Realistic Job Preview. Retrieved from http://www.cps.ca.gov/workforceplanning/documents/ToolKitRJP.pdf

Larson, S.A. , O'Nell, S. & Sauer, J.K. (2005). “What Is This Job All About?” In Larson, S.A. & Hewitt, A. (Eds.), Staff Recruitment Retention and Training Strategies for Community Service Organizations, 47-71. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Co.

Luke, E. (2008). Texas Direct Service Workforce Initiative: Stakeholder Recommendations to Improve Recruitment, Retention, and the Perceived Status of Paraprofessional Direct Service Workers in Texas. Retrieved from https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/doing-business-with-hhs/provider-portal/dsw-june2008.pdf

O'Nell, S., Larson, S.A., Hewitt, A. & Sauer, J. (2001). RJP Overview. Retrieved from http://rtc.umn.edu/docs/rjp.pdf.