Updated in July 2023
When crafting an intentional candidate experience, we often talk about the benefits of including an online realistic job preview in your candidate experience to avoid the Honeymoon Hangover. This hangover doesn't come from one or more margaritas, but when the employee starts to see the facets of your culture and job demands that were overlooked or not communicated clearly during the hiring process. In this blog, I will take it one step further and discuss why seeking to understand these gaps is one of the best things you can do for your brand and candidate experience.
What are the goals of your candidate experience?
Hint: It's not just telling them how great you are.
First, it’s understandable why employers do this. We're invested in our mission. We see and are connected to what makes us remarkable and can see our past selves excited about the opportunity. We're eager to communicate how we exceed the competition, and create an unforgettable first impression.
So, you may ask “why would I tell candidates the joys of the job sometimes come with stress and 50+ hour work weeks? With more job openings right now than candidates to fill them why in the world would an employer moderate that message with anything negative?"
Building an Authentic Employment Brand and Candidate Experience
The fact is with more open positions than candidates to fill them (including tech, information technology, accounting, airlines, food service to name just a few), differentiating your candidate experience is a competitive key more than before.
Your employment brand is the full picture - not just the joys and points of celebration - but the tough challenges teams overcome that realize your vision and culture. Explaining your expectations openly in an interactive, scaled, and consistent way, like the realistic job preview above, seamlessly in your online hiring process ensures all candidates receive and process that information.
In fact, recent research supported, using potential STEM educators as a population, that realistic job previews and related exercises increase the rate at which candidates realistically envision the position and determine gaps between their preferences and core expectations. After the realistic job preview, respondents shared thinking more rigorously about the challenges of teaching, considering gaps in their own skills, (example: "I might not have the patience for that") and considering how they could best make an informed decision.
Providing well-rounded information about your culture, for example, allows a candidate to see if your ways of working match their personal values and needs. Giving them a realistic understanding about working conditions and expectations that one does not typically see in generic job postings alleviates the uncertainty of the job search while giving them a sense of control.
In fact, other work on realistic job previews found -
- Reduced trauma and improved physical and mental well-being for direct care staff in emotionally demanding roles
- When used for unit selection for new nurses choosing between different specialties not only was there lower turnover but greater retention within the profession
Employer branding also involves communicating the unique strengths, vision, and rewards of your organization; by emphasizing both you can create a view of your enterprise that candidates perceive as authentic – and inspiring.
Case in point, we provide Corvirtus candidates with both a written realistic job preview as well as a short interactive assessment. Although it was ten years ago, I remember considering the information and considering if I could thrive within the challenges and rewards of our culture. Now, as a leader, I've had meaningful discussions with candidates around our culture and ways of working. As a candidate these touchpoints within the candidate experience made me feel respected and valued. They convey the care and intention we put into someone joining our team and our drive to make it a remarkable work experience. Similarly, as a leader they've contributed to meaningful conversations with candidates both learning about their potential and educating them on our expectations, culture, and core promises to and from teammates.
How to make it happen?
Since the pandemic, we've developed several realistic job previews for organizations across industries and sizes - including ones hard hit by talent shortages like healthcare and restaurants. We build an interactive assessment, like the one above, that educates the candidates on their strengths and gaps compared to job demands, expectations, and culture.
The goal is to frame the difficult job demands that future candidates need to understand, and that often lead to turnover and struggling to thrive. Candidates are invited to complete the next step of the hiring process, usually a scored validated pre-hire assessment, regardless of their performance on the realistic job preview.
Usually the content for the preview experience comes from objective and qualitative data gathering on your culture and expectations. This could be through our quick CultureMap process (a short survey, usually deployed to leaders, to isolate expectations for action, caring for stakeholders, competition, maintaining uniqueness, and viewing results), and/or short one hour focus group conversations with leaders and strong team members.
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Learn more about building a hiring process that selects top talent with our eBook: How to Build a Hiring Process - and connect through the form below.