Recruitment Transparency: Another Look at Realistic Job Previews

Organizations have a multitude of priorities to balance. However, the effort to strategically recruit and retain the best and the brightest remains a top concern. A business cannot move forward without the right people – and being sure the right people find the organization is a major step.

Transparency and talent
When considering workforce goals, any organization can positively impact recruitment efforts by embracing the concept of transparency. Transparency can affect the way your organization is perceived – by your employees  – and the surrounding external environment. Not unlike other key brand issues, an organization’s reputation in this arena is built through accepted behaviors and business practices. The process can help you attract and retain needed talent.

Transparency as the new normal
A by-product of the social media revolution and an over-riding emphasis upon sharing, transparency is evolving into the new normal. A clear marker concerning organizational culture, transparency is a “here to stay”, need to have corporate attribute. Bridging the transparency gap can help organizations attract future leaders and drive innovation forward. Businesses can begin addressing the issue with the very first contact points they have with candidates during recruitment.

Realistic Job Previews
Realistic Job Previews are not a particularly new concept (Premack & Wanous, 1985). However, RJPs have been well researched and fit perfectly into the evolving trend of transparency in the world of work.  They serve as a vehicle to accurately portray your organization and the job in question. RJPs exist in a number of forms, including printed materials or brochures, video, or in-person format. Whatever the form, RJPs should offer a snapshot of required tasks, responsibilities and potential cultural demands of the position in question. (See two excellent video RJP examples here and here.) In most cases, RJPs are utilized early in the recruitment process – but can be utilized at any stage of the process.

The benefits are there
Transparency can bring meaningful rewards on both sides of the recruitment equation. To begin, an RJP puts an applicant in a better position to make an informed decision about the job in question. Organizations share the potential benefits, including an opportunity to hire better suited applicants and the possibility of impacting early turnover.

The best RJPs offer enough useful information for applicants to appropriately self-select out of the recruitment process. This includes information on topics such as skills required for success, and “day in the life” issues such typical schedules. Other topics helpful in an RJP might include, ambient work environment, physical requirements and information about the culture of the organization.

What to consider when building an RJP:

  • Always portray jobs accurately. Discuss both the positives and the potential negatives of any position. This becomes even more crucial if a job attribute appears to be related to early turnover.
  • Discuss career paths.  No one should have to guess where their role might take them in the future. Be open concerning the possibilities and limitations related to potential career paths.
  • Touch upon unusual job characteristics. Include information on tasks or working conditions which may cause applicants to reconsider the role. Unusual physical or schedule requirements should be reviewed early in the process.
  • Reveal any possibility of relocation. If the natural progression of a role is to relocate frequently or during the first years of employment, share this with applicants.
  • Reveal travel requirements. Applicants need to be able to assess the real impact of travel on their lives. Never hold back information or adjust the estimate unrealistically.

Don’t sabotage your recruitment efforts before they start – begin your employee relationships with a healthy dose of honesty.


Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. You can find her on Twitter and Linkedin.

The ”Catch 22” of Organizational Structure, Talent & Innovation

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Photo by LYCS Architecture on Unsplash

At first glance, organizational structure may not appear to be an exciting concept.

Yet, an HBR post discussing how established organizations just can’t seem to keep pace with start-ups in the innovation arena — has caught my attention. It seems clear that the innovation dilemma has a fundamental relationship with the traditional elements of organizational structure, and how those elements develop and solidify over time. One key system which affects the potential to innovate: How organizations secure needed talent.

Structure and Maturation
As an organization matures, many systems within the traditional structure can become rigid. Communication channels become formalized, salary levels are set. On one hand, organizations become a safer and more secure place for employees. But, unwanted by-products such as inflexibility come along with this territory. Ultimately this affects how talent is sourced, limiting the ability of a maturing organization to effectively evolve and innovate.

Ideally, the talent equation begins with leadership and the work at hand, where leaders have the responsibility of translating vision into specific goals and tasks. These tasks in turn, require a set of needed talent elements for completion. Often, the necessity to forecast these talent requirements can become a looming challenge for hiring managers and the entire HR function, which supports that search.

The Catch
The simple truth is that mining talent through traditional channels can take too much time — where a mature organization may not be nimble enough to find needed talent quickly to meet the demands key challenges. But, the clock is ticking if they hope to remain competitive. It’s time vs. talent — and options which provide a more direct route to source and onboard needed talent are required.

Gaining the right perspective is a great place for an organization to begin. In a previous post, I discussed a prediction by Gartner concerning the application of work swarming within organizations. This is a concept which implies that the structure of an organization must flex to allow needed talent to gather quickly (and organically) to tackle projects. The process should allow not only talent from within the organization to gather, but from the broader external environment as well.

Breaking Down Walls
Extending the “virtual walls” of an organization can greatly expand the talent horizon. One interesting option is to leverage contacts within the  industry, or related industries who might possess relevant knowledge concerning a project or subject. One view which has been posed is to collaborate with suppliers to source talent and solve key problems.

Another method of sourcing talent would be to build or access a talent community, a method which capitalizes on the advantages of social media and employee networks when searching for needed skill sets. In this way, an organization develops an extended talent network which can be tapped as needed. Members of the community can be quite varied and can include potential contributors, such as freelancers or those working in related settings.

Another avenue would be to utilize crowdsourcing techniques to staff specific projects. In this way, organizations  bypass portions of the traditional HR hierarchy to enable them to address talent issues in real-time. When a problem or challenge exists, it is placed in an open forum, and staffed.  Of course, there are issues that the organization would have address to maximize this process, but the potential seems apparent. (Platforms such as InnoCentive, have been already been successful in facilitating specific open innovation challenges for mature organizations.)

Possible Snafus
The overall goal of applying these methods is for the organization to have the capability of retaining that innovative “edge”, long beyond the start-up phase. In a sense, slowing down the solidification of a counter productive elements which deter talent from reaching an organization in a timely manner. The process would have to be perfected. Here are few issues that come to mind:

  • What types of projects or challenges would be more appropriate for these solutions?
  • How do we effectively track KSA’s? (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)
  • What specific legal steps must an organization take to make this happen?
  • Overall, how will HR help to guide the process?

The future of innovation within mature organizations is certainly dependent on finding needed talent. Hopefully, with collective thought we can improve opportunities for more established organizations to find that talent more readily, and retain their potential to innovate and excel.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. Contact her practice at marlagottschalk@comcast.net. You can also find her on Twitter and Linkedin.