I realize this may be a bit of an edgy subject for some, but I think it’s worth exploring.
First, let’s look at a definition of entitled:
“Believing oneself to be deserving of certain privileges”
We know the entitled person when we see one. They believe they should be treated with more importance than others.
On the hiring end of things, they may feel they “deserve” the job.
Some believe younger generations — Millennials and Generation Z — are more entitled than previous generations. That may be. But I’m not sure age is a total factor in this.
If you’re sitting across from someone who feels they “deserve” the job, you may find that future employee wanting to be treated better than your other staff, perhaps even with kid gloves.
We sometimes see very talented individuals who also have that aura of entitlement. If you encounter that, you’ll have to juggle those two factors when making your decision. I tend to push in the direction of people who want to be part of a team and want everybody treated fairly.
But let’s discuss this point a bit more. You have someone who is super talented in front of you. You’ve checked with previous employers and they tell you he was an excellent producer. They may also tell you he was somewhat of a prima donna*. What to do?
Perhaps you can be very direct with this individual and ask them in the interview:
“I see you’re very talented and your previous employers speak very highly of your productivity. If we were to hire you, would you expect us to treat you with more importance than the existing staff?”
Who knows, your applicant may say:
“Absolutely. I bring a great deal to the table and I expect to be treated with that in mind.”
You could respond with:
“Thank you for your candor. We would certainly consider your talents in relation to your pay, but would you want us to treat you better than the other staff in day-to-day activities?”
If you get a “yes” on that question, you might want to keep looking. A very talented employee that rubs other employees the wrong way loses you some of that talent by eroding staff morale.
Keep an eye out for the entitled applicant. He may be a great hire, but he may also add unneeded stress to your scene.
* A few definitions:
Millenials are generally considered born between 1980 and 1994. Generation Z between 1995 and 2015.
Kid gloves: To handle something delicately and carefully, to deal with a person or a situation gingerly.
Prima donna: a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance.
As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.
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