Aligning Job Expectations and Reality

A look at Realistic Job Previews in public safety

Though the concept has been around at least since the studies conducted by J.P. Wanous in the 1980s, Realistic Job Previews (RJP) are quickly becoming a standard recruitment tool across industries. The reason? RJPs bring an applicant’s expectations into alignment with reality, significantly reducing turnover and creating substantial cost-savings for employers.

Often referred to as “realistic recruitment,” RJPs are especially useful in fields with higher than average turnover, such as public safety — a fact more and more agencies are taking to heart. Applicants for public safety positions — emergency dispatchers, police officers, firefighters and corrections officers — drop out of the process all too often, due to an incomplete or unrealistic understanding about what the job entails. Popular culture and the media are often the basis for candidates’ inaccurate perceptions, making the job often seem more exciting or action-packed than its daily reality.

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