Everything you need to know about realistic job previews

Last updated:
March 16, 2021
December 20, 2021
min read
Freya Kuka
Table of contents

A realistic job preview is as important to the recruiting process as onboarding a new employee. It helps both the recruiter as well as the potential employee know what is expected of them in their new role- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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What exactly is a realistic job preview?

A realistic job preview is a tool every company from eCommerce stores to brick and mortar shops use to show employees what they can expect when they begin working for them. This will include information regarding potential office hours, the location of the office, what a day at work looks like, and more.

This hiring tool makes sure that anybody applying for the job already knows what skills and qualifications are necessary to make it work. This ensures that they are not thrown into the deep end and it is fair on the job seekers as well.

Benefits and drawbacks of a realistic job preview

As with everything in life, a job preview has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. Some of the benefits would be:

  • Reduces voluntary turnover - Employees who are given an accurate representation of the job they are taking on and what they should expect, survive longer, or stay with the company longer than employees who do not get an accurate representation of what they are signing up for. Employees are happier when they build connections and grow at the same company over time which is why an accurate job preview is one of the foundational steps to take to ensure everyone in the situation is happy.
  • Prevents frustration in the workplace - No employer wants to deal with employees who are frustrated and unhappy with their work environment. This normally happens when the workload is more than what they bargained for which can lead to sleep deprivation, stress, and even depression. One of the best ways to avoid this is to give potential workers an accurate representation of what they can expect.
  • Happier employees - This one is simple enough. If you have less frustration in the workplace, you are going to have happier employees pretty much by default.
  • Happier HR teams- Which HR team wants to deal with complaints every single day? Happier employees are more productive and efficient which means less work for your HR department.
  • Promotion system - If you are upfront about your promotion system, it is less likely employees will be annoyed by how it works. This keeps both sides happier. For example, if someone who just wants to turn up and does the same thing every single day is given a job where constant promotions are likely, that could be a bad fit.
  • Development for employees - Employees will need to pick up skills as they take on more work or continue to work for the company. Some employees, however, would prefer having a more relaxed job with less of a learning curve. A good job preview should show employees what to expect.

Relevant: How to prevent employee burnout

Although there are mostly pros to a job preview, some cons would include a drop in the number of candidates that apply for the job in general since they might not like what the job preview entails. In the long-run, however, that could be seen as a plus since those sorts of employees would not work out in the first place.

How do you create a realistic job preview?

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So, to ensure you are doing your part as an employer, these are a few things you should include when creating a job preview:

  • Benefits of working with your company - The benefits of working with your company could include things like learning new skills, possible commissions, and creating new contacts within the industry. Listing the possible benefits of working with your team is a good way to motivate potential employees to apply.
  • Promotion possibilities - Every new recruit is going to want to know how they can grow alongside your company. Promotion possibilities and salary growth are both important aspects to include within your job preview.
  • Bonuses - Bonuses or potential compensation packages are always of interest to anyone going through your job preview.
  • Office surroundings- A 3D tour of your office or a gallery full of pictures that include group activities, office space, and important days in your company’s lifespan will help new recruits get excited about what lies ahead.
  • Group activities/company culture- Showcasing how you work as a team is best done through group activities. Take Attorney Brian White’s law firm, for example. A job that could normally be tossed into the boring category is made interesting through his frequent Facebook posts on the company’s page that show viewers how the team spends important holidays, and what the general office life at the company looks like.

Relevant: Building a company culture with social media

All of these simple aspects of your company is what will help you give people who have never walked into your office a general idea of what they should expect. This will allow them to better understand whether they will fit into your company and will help you narrow down on the right team member.

4 Things to keep in mind

Now that you know what a job preview is, here’s why you need to create one, and what you should include:

#1 Include current employee testimonials

Romp n’ Roll is an example of a company that does a great job attracting job seekers by including current employee testimonials. They include testimonials from a wide range of employees across different sectors in the company.

The testimonials help put job seekers’ minds at ease about the job that lies ahead. It outlines how the company has helped employees grow and what potential employees can expect.

#2 Explain what the ideal culture fit would be

Every company’s culture is different and it is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when hiring a new employee. Even if the company is great and the employee is talented, a potential bad fit will leave everyone unhappy.

So, for example, if your company is all about teamwork, this could potentially repel a solo artist which is exactly why it is important to be upfront about what sort of culture you are inviting someone into.

#3 Use simulation

Nowadays people rarely restrict themselves to hiring locally. You could be considering hiring someone for remote work or hiring someone from another state which means you need to get creative. This is where simulations come in.

A simulation will create a potential problem that could arise for the job seeker when they are working for your company. These simple assessments will allow you to test the judgment and decision-making abilities of the people you are considering hiring. For example, you could test an outreach assistant on their cold calling abilities or a freelance writer on their grammar through online tests.

You can use recruitment technology that will help you create a simulated environment because you certainly cannot do that by yourself (at least in most cases). Employment Technologies is one of the companies that you could look into for this.

These types of software models will let you create questions, add videos, include options, optimize for mobile, and make the entire simulation look as professional as possible. You then simply send it over to your shortlisted employees.

If you really want to take it to the next level, you could even use a QR code generator to allow job seekers to participate in the simulation with more ease.

#4 Quiz them

A lot of jobs do not need something as complicated as a simulation. Frankly, something as simple as a survey or a quiz could be enough. The survey could include simple questions like:

  • Do you think you will enjoy this role?
  • How would you rate yourself in the following areas?
  • What are your strengths?

The survey can be created using a free service like Jotform and can be sent to your shortlist of job seekers using an email marketing service.

Realistic job preview examples

Lastly, let us look at some great examples of job previews:

Aurora Healthcare

Aurora Healthcare has a job shadowing option that allows students who are seeking jobs at the healthcare center to shadow someone at work. These shadowing opportunities help expose students to various healthcare career paths.

As part of the Aurora Healthcare job shadowing opportunity, graduates and students are given a study packet that includes a helpful job preview.

Here is what it looks like:

The self-study packet includes a helpful guide on how to start the job shadowing process, multiple learning objective worksheets that students can complete, and learning logs that help you keep track of everything learned.

This simple nine-page document gives students a lens into what they can expect from the job shadowing opportunity they are applying for.

‘Day in the life of..’ videos

‘Day in the life of..’ type videos are becoming increasingly popular across social media and they can be incredibly useful to companies who are looking to hire new employees.

These types of video give job seekers a view into what a potential working day will look like and succeeds in getting them excited to apply.


A job preview saves you time and the time of all of the hopefuls that are applying to work at your awesome company. A fair, accurate, and brief job preview can make the difference between finding the right employee or the one that will quit a few days later.

This post should have given you the foundation you need to create the perfect job preview you need for your next recruitment campaign.

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