What is a Realistic Job Preview? A Realistic Job Preview (RJP) should educate the candidates about the benefits and expected challenges of the job and the company. This process has pros for both the company and the candidates. It enables the company to assess the candidates’ skills beyond the phone interview and initial interview. It provides a window into the company so that the candidate can decide if this opportunity is a match for their qualifications and desires. Done well, all involved will emerge after the process further along the job hunting journey.

So, what can a candidate expect? Although the ideal situation involves having the applicant interact with the people he or she would typically be working with, this is not always possible, particularly if an RJP is being used early in the application process. In some cases, organizations videotape the work situation or produce informational materials. Regardless of the approach chosen, it is essential to inform prospective employees the reason they are participating in an RJP is to help them to decide if the accompany and the job is a good match for them. Applicants who understand the purpose of the RJP will appreciate the effort and feel more positive about the company, regardless if they are offered the job or if they are and don’t choose to accept. As the candidate, take a pen and tablet to jot down questions or thoughts; dress professionally or as directed; exhibit interest in the job, and ask what the next step is after the RJP. This is your chance to distinguish yourself from any other candidates. Expect that the company is also “marketing” to you so that you will be impressed and want to continue the interview process.

Job fit is important. If you are favorably impressed, the RJP will make you want to be offered the job even more. If not, it is expected and respected that you will remove yourself from job consideration. Either way, write another thank-you note or email. Regardless, the information you will have gained and the people you will have met will have made an impact on you. You never know what the future will bring.

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