Realistic Job Previews Communicate Organizational Honesty

Topic(s): recruiting, turnover
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: Mechanism Linking Realistic Job Previews with Turnover: A Meta- Analytic Path Analysis
Authors: D.R. Earnest, D.G. Allen, R.S. Landis
Reviewed by: Katie Bachman

Realistic job previews (RJPs) include any kind of manuals, presentations, videos, and written or verbal information that contains positive, negative, and neutral
information to job candidates or new hires.

The big difference between an RJP and regular recruiting materials is the inclusion of negative and neutral information. Basically, rather than trying to make your company look like puppies and rainbows, you throw in some stuff about the storm clouds too, with the end result being that potential employees have a more well-rounded impression of what their life would be like if they worked for you. Previous researchers (myself included) have tried to tease out the mechanism behind the RJP – what really makes them work?


The results of the current meta-analysis (statistical combination of many past studies) suggest that it may be all about perceived organizational honesty. By giving potential employees the good, the bad, and the ugly, your organization is communicating honesty, literally and symbolically. You’re giving them balanced information, but you’re also signaling that you are a truthful and upright partner in their job experience. An RJP sends a message that you won’t lie to them once they’re on the job and people like that sort of thing. The long term effect of all this up-front truth telling is reduced voluntary turnover. And what organization doesn’t like that?


Earnest, D. R., Allen, D. G., & Landis, R. S. (2011). Mechanism linking realistic job previews with turnover: A meta-analytic path analysis. Personnel Psychology, 64, 865-897.

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