Should you Conceal Negative Job Aspects From Candidates?

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 Young frightened business lady hiding behind black folder No business, department or team is perfect; employees will always have some level of frustration about their job or their company. In fact, recent research from Aon shows that around 58 percent of employees worldwide are engaged with their firms and happy with the way the business is operating. This, of course, means that 42 percent of employees are disengaged and seriously concerned about some aspects of the workplace. This also means many firms out there may have fundamental issues that could deter candidates from joining them. The question in these talent-starved times is, “Should you conceal the difficult realities of working for your business or should you tell all using what is termed in the trade a “Realistic Job Preview (RJP),” which reveals the negative aspects of the job?

Good question. One way to look at it is to ask, “Is it really a secret anyway?” There are many  job seeking resources/communities on the internet where job seekers can review and read others frank reviews of company culture and employment within a business. Social media, Google, alumni and even disgruntled current employees are all great sources of information about the harsh realities of the job or business behind the recruiter’s smokescreen. With so much potential misinformation available about the negative aspects of your job, maybe it would be better for you to give a more balanced appraisal of some of the drawbacks to redress the balance?

But, there are more tangible reasons for using Realistic Job Previews than just reputation management. For example, there are countless studies that show that RJPs can have a positive impact on employee turnover and job satisfaction.

Reasearch from Breagh (1983) suggests four reasons why RJPs can positively impact turnover, which were: met expectations, ability to cope, air of honesty and self selection.

With “met expectations” they suggest that RJPs lower employees’ initial expectations so they are more in sync with what is actually experienced.

The employees’ “ability to cope” is influenced by how well they have been prepared for the role by an RJP. Being cautioned about the demands of the job means they handle it better. The idea is that applicants who are made to understand the realities or negative parts of the job before accepting it will have begun to prepare in their own minds as to how to manage the stresses and this will be factored into their decision to take the job or not. Applicants who only learn about the negative aspects following acceptance find it harder to adapt to the situation (Pitt and Ramaseshan, 1995 ).

The “air of honesty” means that the applicants feel more invested in their decision to accept the job, which can make them more positive about the job and less likely to leave.

And the “self reflection” is self explanatory in that those who lack a good fit to the realities of the role will withdraw from the process.

So, in my opinion, it makes good sense to tell applicants about the negative aspects of the role, not only to present your business image correctly in view of an errant social media, but also because it can lead to increased job satisfaction and lower turnover.

By Kazim Ladimeji