The Sad Tales of Entitled Job Seekers

entitled job seekerWe all know people who feel entitled.

This is especially true of recruiters. We meet them at networking events and meet-ups. We listen to their stories; we hear all about their unsuccessful job search efforts. We empathize. We want to help.

So, we recommend them for job openings with our colleagues. Or we carve out time to interview them, and sometimes we even give them job offers.

But, inevitably, somewhere during the process, the truth reveals itself. They are not victims of a tough job market. They are bright, capable, smart, marketable candidates – who are actually victims of themselves, held hostage by their own unrealistic expectations and outrageous demands of the workplace.

As a recruiter and career coach, I see this all too often. People getting in the way of their own potential and career success because of what they “think” they should be getting from employers. They fall into 3 categories:

The Unemployed and Entitled

The unemployed job seeker to whom I was introduced by a friend a few months ago. The guy with excellent experience, an MBA and a solid resume who has also turned down three great job offers with top companies because he can’t (read: won’t) accept anything less than a 30% increase from his last job.

Yes… the job that he was laid off from… almost two years ago.

Of course, not all entitled job seekers are unemployed…

The Employed and Entitled

Take the employed job seeker who sought me out to discuss a search that I advertised last fall, but then spent our whole meeting telling me how happy, challenged and well-compensated she was at her current company.

Eventually, she admitted that she actually hunted me down because hoping I could introduce her to a role that would pay her $75K-$100K more in base salary, with a title promotion, and preferably a four-day work week with a flexible telecommuting schedule. Not to mention an additional week of PTO, AND a robust signing bonus.

But she didn’t actually want a new job… she only hoped to gain the leverage she needed to ultimately secure a huge internal promotion at her current company – as she has a great relationship with her CEO and she was sure she was invaluable and irreplaceable.

The Classically Entitled

And last, but not least, is the “this-is-my-first-job-in-the-real-world-but-I-expect-everything” job seekers.

The recent grads who are rejecting really good job offers because they fear they won’t have enough work-life balance. Or who have their parents reach out to me on their behalf to follow-up on resume submissions or to help them negotiate their job offers. Or who pull themselves from consideration because they don’t want to do any real work; they only want create top line strategies and manage teams.

Finally, my personal favorites…

The recent grads who believe they deserve higher salaries in order to cover their rents, bills, car payments, school loans AND weekend spending habits. Or the Boomers who require a certain salary to cover their bloated mortgage, their kid’s college expenses and the lifestyle they used to have before the economy tanked.

I share these real world examples in hopes of bringing humility, introspection, reality and perspective back to the job search process.

While we are much more efficient and sophisticated today, some things remain the same. Everyone has a ladder to climb, or re-climb. And, entering into a job search with unrealistic expectations underlying motives of leverage will only leave you feeling disappointed in your efforts. Not to mention the bridges that can be burned with hiring managers, HR managers, recruiters and the people in your networks who are trying to help during the process.

Frankly speaking, nothing great comes without sacrifice.

Set your goals and stay true to them, but be realistic about your deal-breakers. Lean in, but don’t fall on your face. Your next job may not come with all of the bells and whistles on your wish-list, but it might just put you on the path to achieving your larger career dreams!

But you can’t get ahead… until you leave “entitled” behind.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Frankly Speaking.


Frankly Speaking


Lisa FrankAbout the Author: Lisa Frank is a master connector, nationwide executive recruiter, and professional career & life coach who applies a true “Frank” approach to everything she does. Her blog, Frankly Speaking, offers readers insights, tips, outrageous (but true) stories, valuable takeaways, and plenty of humor related to career and life matters. Follow Lisa on Twitter!


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