Realistic recruitment practices in organizations

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Human Resource Management Review 19 (2009) 1–8

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Human Resource Management Review
j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s e v i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / h u m r e s

Realistic recruitment practices in organizations: The potential benefits of generalized expectancy calibration
Brendan J. Morse ⁎, Paula M. Popovich
Ohio University, UnitedStates

a b s t r a c t
Realistic Job Previews (RJPs) have been studied by researchers and utilized by practitioners to attenuate early turnover by providing both positive and negative information about a job and organization to job applicants. Historically, RJPs have suffered from several criticisms including modest effect sizes, cost of development, and potential self-selection effects.Recently, the expectancy lowering procedure (ELP: Buckley, Fedor, Veres, Wiese, & Carraher has been developed and tested to address these limitations of the RJP. The purpose of this review is to provide historical foundations and persistent limitations of the RJP, and to extend propositions supporting the ELP as an effective alternative procedure. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Thetraditional philosophy of recruitment can be best summarized as the practice of selling the organization to outsiders” (Wanous, 1980, p. 35). The preceding statement made by John Wanous in his seminal book is a Catch-22 for organizations. The successful attraction of qualified applicants and the retention of productive employees during the early employment period (tenure of less than one year) require adelicate balance between organizational promotion and preserving the realistic expectations of applicants. Historically, organizations have tipped this balance, deferring to overly optimistic recruitment philosophies in order to attract highly qualified applicants (Buckley, Mobbs, Mendoza, Novicevic, Carraher, & Beu, 2002; Lee, Ashford, Walsh, & Mowday, 1992; Wanous, 1980). Although this may be asuccessful strategy in the short term (i.e., recruitment goals), the long-term risks are not without consequence. Most notably, these risks include the potential for a type of reality shock resulting from the mismatch between positively inflated pre-employment expectations and the reality of working life inside the organization (Dugoni & Ilgen, 1981; Porter & Steers, 1973; Wanous, 1980). The mostwidely suggested method for dealing with this type of reality shock has been realistic recruitment, primarily in the form of the realistic job preview (RJP: Wanous, 1973). RJPs are a popular research topic in organizational entry, having spurred a wealth of research and four meta-analyses (McEvoy & Cascio, 1985; Phillips, 1998; Premack & Wanous, 1985; Reilly, Brown, Blood, & Malatesta, 1981). Thefoundation of an RJP is to present job applicants with a “realistic” view of what it is like to work in that particular organization or job by including negative as well as positive information. The specific information contained in a typical RJP is best supported when it adequately represents the positive and negative attributes of the job and/ or organization in a balanced fashion (c.f., Breaugh &Billings, 1988; and Wanous, 1989 for a review on the content and construction of RJP information). There are also a multitude of factors to consider pertaining to the delivery of realistic previews including timing, content, source credibility, and medium of communication (c.f., Phillips, 1998 for a review on the moderating characteristics of RJPs).

⁎ Corresponding author. Department ofPsychology Ohio University, 200 Porter Hall, Athens, OH 45701, United States. E-mail address: (B.J. Morse). 1053-4822/$ – see front matter © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2008.09.002


B.J. Morse, P.M. Popovich / Human Resource Management Review 19 (2009) 1–8

Throughout the years, recruitment researchers and practitioners have struggled with...
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