Recently, I had a nice discussion with Dr. Marla Gottschalk in regard to a study she did a few years back about Gen Y in the workplace. As we talked about some of the statistics she found during this study, I was quite interested when she mentioned the reasoning behind why a certain percentage of Gen Yers are unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. It turns out that a good portion of this is due to the fact that they were not presented a realistic job preview before they decided to accept a role with a company. As I researched this workplace issue more, I found that no matter what generation you’re a part of, there still seems to be this common issue. Are employers working too hard at presenting their company in the best light that they’re not giving realistic job expectations and previews?
One of the things I often like to research and write about is creating and promoting your employer brand, which is extremely important to do when it comes to attracting quality talent. However, it can come to the point where trying to make your company appear to be the “employer of choice” could actually hinder your ability to attract and retain quality talent. It has come to my attention that many companies are competing to be the best company to work for and often will try to paint an ideal picture of their company and the job. Of course, showing only the best side of your company will easily attract a ton of candidates but many of these candidates aren’t necessarily the right fit for your company, causing your recruiters to be overwhelmed. Additionally, some of the candidates that have applied could be a great asset to your company but can easily be discouraged when they learn that the job and company is what they initially were led to believe. In this situation, employees may have lower engagement and turnover numbers can increase. So, what can you do to ensure you find a happy medium?
- Give a realistic overview of your culture: this can help candidates see if your culture will match up with their personal values.
- Give a realistic overview of the job details: many job descriptions have almost become like a marketing strategy. They are well written and enticing, however, people can get caught up in this rather than the actual job itself. Be sure to lay out a thorough job description.
- Break down and give details about the day-to-day: take the time to break down the day to day duties. This can help candidates determine if they have the experience to perform these duties successfully and it can also help them determine if this is a job that they’d enjoy doing.
- Give realistic timelines: many jobs talk about advancement opportunities (especially for top performers), and many candidates who accept a role may have a skewed idea on how quickly they can move up. Be sure to give realistic timelines on this.
- Talk about the negatives: negative things about a job are realistic factors. I appreciated it when a recruiter once told me that there would be weeks where I could work 10-20 hours of overtime. It helped me know if this type of job would work with my lifestyle and other responsibilities. This also allowed me to not be surprised when my boss required me to be there on extremely demanding weeks.
- Welcome your candidates to talk to multiple people in the department/job/company: it’s always a great idea to allow candidates to get multiple opinions on this. I once went to a job interview where I casually sat down with multiple people in the office. Having the time to talk to them in a casual way allowed me to see the truth behind the company, job, and so on and allowed me to appropriately decide if the job was right for me.
If you are an employer, it would be wise to consider the importance of realistic job previews. By giving the details (including the good and the bad), unqualified candidates can stop overflowing your inbox and ATS with their resumes. Additionally, candidates who accept the role can feel happier with the decision because they were well informed of what the job required and what the expectations were, which can ultimately reduce grievances and turnover.