Tell Them the Truth: How to get your new hire to stay.

by Michael Haberman on March 4, 2013 · 3 comments


Giving candidates a truthful explanation of a job, such as telemarketing, will improve the liklihood the employee will stay longer.

Giving candidates a truthful explanation of a job, such as telemarketing, will improve the liklihood the employee will stay longer.

One of the most frequently quoted reasons for a new hire leaving after being with the organization for a short period of time is “The job was not what I expected.” One sure fire way to avoid this problem is to tell a prospective new hire the truth about the job, the company and their boss and coworkers.

Realistic Job Preview

In the lingo of HR and recruiting telling the truth about a job to a candidate is known as a “realistic job preview.” Basically a RJP tells the prospective employee about:

  • The type of work to be performed
  • The flow and demand of the work
  • The environment in which the work is performed
  • How the organization views the work
  • The coworkers and boss the applicant will have
  • The challenges and the opportunities

It tries to balance positives with negatives. It is not a “sales pitch” nor is it so negative that it totally turns the applicant off.


Research by DDI, as reported by SHRM , showed:

“… that only 51 percent of new hires are confident in their decision to accept a new job. Part of the reason for this uncertainty is the failure of the hiring process to paint a realistic picture of the job, department and company. Not surprisingly, the research also found that organizations that do a better job of giving candidates a realistic job preview yielded hires who were more confident in their decision, highly engaged and less likely to get right to scanning the job boards.”

Not giving the realistic job preview often means that all the work that went into hiring the individual just has to be repeated again in a few months, if not less. The research found that the more confidence a candidate has that they have a correct picture of the job they will be taking the more likely they will be a longer term employee.

But if I tell the truth no one will come to work for me

Yes, I have actually heard this before. If you have thought this then you probably need to rethink the nature of the job. Or you need to change the reward system. If you have watched the show Dirty Jobs you know that people are willing to do almost anything if the work offers them something unique and rewarding. So try telling the truth and you may find the person that truly likes the work. Telling lies, or not telling the whole truth, ultimately is more expensive and potentially damaging than it is to let the job go unfilled until you find the right person.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Ramsey March 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

Just this morning I was listening to a podcast regarding hiring. Great advice:
“Don’t try to sell the job.” Let the candidate do the selling of him/herself.
Since we’re excited about our company, and we’re eager to get someone on board, it’s easy to do most of the talking during the interview.


Rory Trotter March 5, 2013 at 1:03 am

This is a really powerful post, Michael.

So often we in HR get caught up in selling the candidate on the opportunity once they get to the final stages, when in reality that’s the point when we should be most frank.

I’ll incorporate this advice into the way I recruit going forward.




Sayward March 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

How timely! For the first time since 2009 we are hiring more than one person and I have been thinking about the orientation. We’ll be using this idea during our orientation week.



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