Realistic Job Preview: 7 Great Examples to Inspire You

13 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 20 November 2020

As humans, we naturally set expectations for the new experiences we take on in life. However, expectations don’t always align with reality. Often things aren’t as they seem from the outside.

After reading a job description, a candidate may develop dangerously unrealistic expectations for their daily responsibilities, employee benefits, and work culture. But there are more pieces to the puzzle than just that. Every job has its own specific challenges and opportunities that make it unique; it’s important that employers provide accurate insight into both the rewarding and challenging aspects of the job. This will allow the candidate to make an informed decision on whether or not the position is right for them.

Creating a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) can help convey an authentic perspective of what the job entails and how a candidate might fit into the company. By ensuring a mutual understanding of the job commitments and company expectations, you set your new hires up for success.

Why is creating a Realistic Job Preview important?

A Realistic Job Preview (RJP) is a hiring approach that provides a transparent and honest view of what a job actually consists of. The objective of an RJP is to communicate the positive and negative aspects of a job and share what a typical day is like for someone in that role. This is an important tool for both candidates and employers. 

According to a research study on the role of video in the candidate experience, around 30% of prospective applicants prefer to see a job preview video prior to applying for the job.

RJPs are also beneficial to employers. Employers can better identify and target their ideal candidates because of the tool’s ability to communicate job fit. This not only improves the quality of recruitment but also can increase job satisfaction and reduce employee turnover.

31% of workers have quit their job within the first six months. Additionally, 48% of people say that they’ve left a job because the reality of it did not meet their expectations ahead of joining. Some job characteristics include being dissatisfied with work, task overload, and having limited resources. 

This highlights the importance of using RJPs to make sure the candidate is in agreement with the job responsibilities and work environment before they proceed to the interview. 

Overall, providing RJPs in the early stages of the selection process is important to identify the best-fit applicants. In addition, employers can use realistic assessment tools to match their job requirements to a candidate’s skills, while job candidates can simultaneously match their expectations to the company’s work culture and standards.

What to include in your Realistic Job Preview

We’ve studied the best RJPs from brands as diverse as Mcdonald’s and Nike to Shopify and Netflix. Some are more focused on showcasing the reality of the specific job; what’s challenging and what’s rewarding about it. Others are more focused on the overall work environment and the opportunities for career development.

Here’s a list of things that you may want to include in yours.

  • Role Realities; make sure people know exactly what to expect in the job ahead of joining.
  • Work environment; how does it impact someone’s day. Are they remote, site-based or flexible. Is that likely to change in the future?
  • Perks and quirks; what’s unique about working for you?
  • Career development opportunities; it’s best to hear this from people who have developed internally
  • Hiring managers; candidates really want to hear from managers. Who you work with is a key factor in deciding where to work
  • Social responsibility; candidates want to know they are helping people either in their job or by being part of an organisation that’s making a positive social impact.

Here are 7 great examples of RJPs to inspire you:

1. Realistic Job Previews Assessments

Ok, let’s start with where RJPs are headed. Forward-thinking companies are now combining their RJPs with their candidate assessments to create Realistic Job Assessments (RJAs). This approach is more immersive than merely watching a video as the candidate has to respond and interact with real-life tasks and scenarios. ThriveMap‘s realistic job assessments have the added benefit of taking candidates through a digital “day-in-the-life” of the job whilst at the same time assessing them against the required hiring criteria.

Graphic showing a Realistic Job Assessment inside a tablet.

Realistic Job Assessments show the best of both worlds. They’ll allow candidates to opt-out if the role isn’t for them, as well as enable the recruiter to see which candidates to prioritize in the recruitment process. At ThriveMap, we also provide reports on each candidate so that hiring managers and recruiters know which areas to probe further during the interview.

This approach isn’t right for all your hiring needs. There needs to be enough hiring volume to justify creating them (typically 50 or more hires per year). If you don’t hire in those numbers then there are simple things you can do like asking candidates to actually do something relevant to the job in the hiring process: edit an article, write an advertisement, critique a circuit diagram, locate an error, etc.

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2. A Day-in-the-Life Video

Knowing the responsibilities and demands of a job position is valuable for prospective applicants to assess if they’re ready to make that commitment. A day-in-the-life video is an effective way to unpack the duties required of an employee on the job. 

This method provides direct insights into the working hours, physical demands, colleague relationships, and company environment for the position. Candidates can imagine themselves carrying out the job from start to finish and determine if the routine is ideal for them. 

This type of RJP emphasizes how actions speak louder than words. Ultimately, an employee’s daily attitude on the job can be telling of the company from the outside in. 

The Waste Management company offers an informative day-in-the-life video of what it’s like to work as a commercial driver. Antoine, a driver for Waste Management, breaks down the details of his typical day from the time he goes to work at 3 am to the challenges he faces on the shift. 

What’s great about this RJP is that Antoine doesn’t sugarcoat his experiences on the job. He tells it as it is. For him, a 10-12 hour shift includes a team huddle, pre-trip vehicle inspection, driving on narrow streets, and heavy lifting to get the job done. Antoine also shares insight on the company culture, values, and mentoring available that gives him pride in his work. 

This day-in-the-life RJP provides a great first-hand view of how the job is done and highlights the company culture that motivates the employees every day.

3. Employee Testimonial Video

One of the best ways to learn about the ins and outs of a job is to hear it from the employees themselves. Statistics show that candidates are 3x more likely to trust the information on what it’s like to work at a job when it comes from the employees rather than the company. 

Prospective applicants want to know the candid truth about the good and bad aspects of the job. This includes the daily responsibilities, working conditions, company culture, and knowledge base required for the position. 

Providing this insight helps the applicant assess whether or not the job is right for them. Every time a candidate screens themselves out, you will have better chances of finding the right candidate in the end.

This employee testimonial from ARS Rescue Rooter showcases how providing genuine job insight should be done. Kevin, an HVAC installer, shares his journey on what led him to apply and what makes him stay with the company. 

Most importantly, this video highlights the realities of the job, both the good and the bad. Kevin discusses the challenges of the job during his first few weeks and how he was able to effectively adjust. He shares details on the employee benefits, receptive management, workplace camaraderie, and what makes this job feel rewarding to him.

This personal RJP approach offers prospective applicants an honest and credible view of what the job is actually like.

4. Immersive 360º Video

If you’re looking for an innovative way to combine both an employee testimonial and a day-in-the-life video, this immersive 360º video example is for you. 

This creative approach to an RJP can quite literally allow prospective candidates to step into the shoes of an employee. An immersive 360º video can enhance your job candidate’s experience and provide them with the best of both worlds to learn more about the job. 

The additional benefit to this is that the candidate can see the physical environment they would be working in. Candidates can virtually navigate their view around the company and determine if it’s the right setting for them. 

Realistic job preview: examples to inspire you.

In fact, a survey of over 14,000 professionals shows how important it is for candidates to see their work environment. 51% of candidates stated that an office visit is the best way for them to learn about company culture.

Compass Group uses an immersive 360º video method to recruit candidates for their manager-in-training program. This 360º video RJP brings candidates on a guided tour of the company’s facilities to learn about the job from an employee’s perspective. 

In this virtual tour, there are 3 different job positions covered. Candidates can drag their view 360 degrees in any direction to get a full view of their work environment. 

The employees follow the best practices when providing their testimonials and illustrating a day on the job. These factors make this a well-rounded and engaging example to consider for your RJP.

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5. An Online Quiz

A simple and cost-effective way to create an RJP is through an online quiz. This type of RJP is useful to narrow down your candidate pool to those who fit the requirements. It’s not as immersive, accurate or tailored as a Realistic Job Assessment, but it could be a good place to start.

Candidates can be asked a series of job-related questions in the form of a video, text, or image. Multiple-choice options will be presented following each question to compare the candidate’s response with the ideal protocol. 

Realistic Job Preview example question from an online quiz.

This method allows employers to give a background of the job, present a required skill for the position, and assess a candidate’s match to the criteria. Feedback will be given to the candidate based on their response that defines the standards the company is looking for.

Nationwide Insurance provides their customer service positions at their call centers with this kind of RJP. The realistic details given in their job scenarios offer candidates a better understanding of what situations they might encounter. It also evaluates how comfortable they would be in that position. This is especially appropriate for call center workers as they need to be familiar with the pressures associated with the job. 

Nationwide also does a great job at using their feedback opportunity to reinforce their company policies and values. If a candidate doesn’t pass, they should consider other career opportunities to save time and money for both parties.

6. Interactive Digital Work Simulation

An interactive simulation is a fun and engaging way to offer an RJP. Candidates can feel overloaded with lots of information in an RJP, but an interactive simulation makes it more entertaining and easier to digest. This approach is similar to the RJA method, but with graphic characters on screen.

They typically can take the form of a game or animation. Candidates will immerse themselves into the position to see the job from an employee’s perspective. They can perform certain tasks of the job, make decisions, and get a feel for what the responsibilities are like. 

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) implements an interesting RJP simulation that emphasizes the little-known duties and responsibilities of a police officer. 

Example of a digital work simulation; a type of RJP.

The specific job-related scenarios are well animated and carried out by digital characters to set the scene of the situation. Several questions are asked at the end of each scenario that require the candidate to assess their interests, key takeaways, and ability to perform well in the situation. 

Example of a multi-choice question after watching a Realistic Job Preview  style Work Simulation.

This simulation highlights how police work is more than just enforcing laws. The variety of scenarios, from shoplifting to auto accidents, shows how a candidate should be prepared to handle diverse situations.

One downside of this approach is obviously the cost and energy going that goes into producing it. Making changes will therefore be both difficult and costly in comparison to an RJA or a quiz.

7. Text Brochure

When in doubt, it never hurts to go back to the basics. Sometimes it’s easier to let the words speak for themselves, and a booklet or brochure helps you do just that. 

A written form of an RJP ensures that you can address as many aspects of the job as you wish. It’s beneficial to have the job requirements and responsibilities clearly defined in writing to avoid miscommunication of expectations. This also makes it easier for candidates to go back and reference the information in the future. 

An example of an RJP in brochure form comes from the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department. The City provides a thorough and informative description of the duties required of a detention officer. 

A text brochure outlining the full RJP.

There are also specific criteria for the selection process that makes the considerations for the position as transparent as possible. Furthermore, the responsibilities go deeper than what’s explained in a job description and give a better idea of what to expect. 

There are many unique and unexpected aspects to this job that makes understanding this RJP so important. The City responsibly notes that an applicant must carefully consider all aspects of the job before they apply.

8. Podcasts

Innovative companies are turning to content marketing to build their talent pools and communicate their work culture.

Netflix cleverly uses its company blog and podcast to promote its employer brand. They target issues facing their target candidate demographics such as working parents, their feedback culture, and how they address career growth and personal development. Employees are honest in their discussion about the company, acknowledging the challenges of working there as well as the benefits.

Netflix Realistic Job Preview Example: image showing's Netflix's careers page.


Each candidate should know exactly what they’re signing up for ahead of joining the company. Not doing so can lead to misaligned expectations that result in low productivity and early attrition

A well-crafted realistic job preview can provide your candidates with the resources and guidance needed to fully understand the requirements of the job. An honest and straightforward description of the good and bad parts of the job can go a long way. Transforming your RJP into an RJA (Realistic Job Assessment); a self-evaluation tool for candidates to determine whether their expectations and capabilities align with the job as well as an assessment for you to understand which candidates to prioritize, is the future of hiring.

If you’re interested in creating a personalised realistic job assessment that communicates your job expectations and evaluates a candidate’s fit for the position, please contact our team here at ThriveMap! We are happy to help you with your hiring needs and find the best-fit candidate for you.


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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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