What is the Realistic Job Preview?


The realistic job overview, sometimes shortened to the acronym (ARE), consists of giving candidates a vision of the position that reflects the reality on the ground . This practice already exists in Anglo-Saxon countries where it is known as the Realistic Job Preview (RJP).

The recruiter will present both the advantages of the job, but also its disadvantages . This may relate to assignments, work environment, corporate culture, schedules and travel, etc.

For example, for the profession of landscape worker, there will be certain constraints to take into account: physical work, daily travel, outdoor activities that involve climatic hazards. These elements will be transparently exposed to candidates during the recruitment process.

The ARE is based on the concept of the psychological contract developed by three American professors: Argyris, Rousseau and Schein. This contract is based on reciprocal obligations between the employee and the employer. After obtaining a realistic overview of his future position, the candidate will judge whether the defects presented are acceptable or not. If he continues the recruitment process, he commits and accepts a form of compromise. In return, the recruiter must be explicit about his expectations and respect them thereafter. Thus, a bond of trust can be created from the beginning of the relationship between them.


But why show the other side of the coin? This method has two major advantages: it limits candidate disappointment and reduces turnover .

According to the “Needs in Labor 2021” survey conducted by Pôle Emploi , 1 in 10 companies encounter difficulties in keeping their employees . The reasons for these departures are as follows:


(source: Pôle Emploi survey “Workforce Needs 2021” )

The 7 main reasons employees leave according to Leigh Branham (2005)

The job did not meet the expectations of the employees

A poor match between the position and the employee

A lack of guidance and feedback

A lack of skills development and opportunity to grow

A feeling of worthlessness and low recognition

Stress related to work exhaustion, an imbalance between professional and personal life

Loss of trust in managers

Offering a complete description upstream of recruitment makes it possible to deal with the hasty departure of talent after only a few days or weeks in the company. So it is better to present the reality than to sell the dream at all costs!

In addition, with the realistic overview of the job, the candidates make the decision in full knowledge of the facts, they understand the stakes of the position. This will have  a positive impact on the engagement and satisfaction of the  chosen person in his future company.

For his part, the recruiter carries out with this technique  a first benevolent selection of talents . He makes sure to hire a profile in line with the missions presented.

Vigilance points

You have to know how to  find the right balance between the positive and negative aspects . The idea is not to scare away all candidates or tarnish your employer brand. But good to show the reality to avoid wasting time for job seekers and recruiters alike. It is wise to  present a constraint and to counterbalance it directly with an asset  to end on a positive note.

A second point on which it will be necessary to be vigilant: to have an objective vision of the position to be filled, not to idealize it too much, nor to criticize it too much! The realistic overview of the job requires involving employees  who will be close to the future recruit and who manage to take a step back from their missions. Indeed, it is the managers and employees who know the reality and who are able to talk about their daily lives. You have to be able to involve them in the recruitment process: in the definition of the need, during the job interview, during testimonials, etc.

How to implement this approach?

The questions to ask

What positive and negative aspects will you present?

At what point in the process will you address this information?

What format do you prefer to discuss the position transparently?

Which collaborators do you want to involve to give a realistic overview of the job?

The different possible formats

There are several formats for presenting a profession transparently:

Video and employee testimonials:  the video format is ideal for being as close as possible to reality. The company  I come to work with you  produces videos within companies that are recruiting. Thus,  Soreal Ilou , a Breton agri-food company called on their services to communicate on recruitment in production professions. Discover in video the position of machine operator:

Job description on the career site: you can highlight the different functions of the company and describe them in detail through job descriptions. These are published on your recruitment space. The We Recruit software allows you to do this easily, independently and without knowing how to code. For example, our clients Blot Immobilier and Télémaque present their professions through written and video content on their career site.

Description of the assignments in the job offer: it is possible to explain the main issues of the job offered as soon as the announcement is made. The following structure “The position is perfect for you if / You will not be fulfilled in this position .

Meeting the team, visiting the premises:  what could be better than an on-site meeting with future employees to be as close as possible to reality? You can organize a meeting in your offices during an interview or, more informally, during a tem coffee.

Take a professional test:  some collective agreements allow you to take a test in real conditions. For one day, the company assesses the talent  in situ.  This practice is quite widespread in the retail and catering sectors. However, it is necessary to be well informed about the regulations of these tests. More information in the Fiducial article .

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