Article supplied by: inavit iQ
If you think back to the last time you went for an employment interview there was most likely a number of questions to yourself and then a description of the job and what the company is like.
It is inherently natural for interviewers to project a very positive image and viewpoint to applicants of what the company is like, how great its value set is, important projects and its successes in the business, the camaraderie in teams, the opportunities for growth and advancement, the great benefits on offer and so forth. It is highly unlikely that you will ever be told about the “not so nice” things of the company; so why turn away a good applicant by focusing on negatives?
And this is exactly the mistake that’s made by many companies; using the employment interview as a marketing tool only. It sketches such an unrealistic picture of what the future employee can expect that just a few weeks into the employment relationship, you are faced with a sudden resignation; and down the drain goes months of searching, scanning, interviews and decision making to find the right candidate. So, how does one avoid this potential risk…you use realistic job previews.
This is an approach where you provide the applicant with both favourable and unfavourable information, before you make an offer of employment. There is not a single company that is perfect; they all have certain flaws, challenges and cultural dynamics that are not so nice. The job interview is about setting realistic expectations; sharing with the applicant sufficient information about the great and not-so-great elements of the business, so that they can make an informed decision about joining the company. If you “sugar-coat” the reality, they will be disappointed and they may just decide that this is not the place for them. The risk with “sugar-coated” job interviews is that the applicant a.) stays in the search process much longer due to their unrealistic expectations, b.) enters employment with an unrealistic set of expectations and will become disappointed much quicker, c.) which may more easily lead to low employee satisfaction and lack in commitment and finally d.) early resignation.
I usually make it my mission to talk the applicant out of the job; if they still state an interest in the role after the interview, it shows a level of willingness and commitment that’s key for success; and I know that when the “not so nice” experiences do occur, these will not come as a surprise.
The evidence shows that applicants, who were given a balanced view of the company during the interview process, have more realistic expectations, are better prepared to cope with challenges when they do arrive and they usually stay longer.
Phillips, J.M. “Effects of realistic job previews on multiple organizational outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.” Academy of Management Journal (December 1998): 673-690.