How to identify jobseekers who turn into “entitled” employees

Gen-Zs (those born between 1997 and 2012 according to Statistics Canada), many of whom have recently entered the workplace post-pandemic, are already being labelled in some business conversations and media as the “difficult generation” or the “entitled generation.”

These workers who are currently 27 years old or less, are unafraid of challenging the status quo. A Forbes article discussing the impact of Gen-Z in the workplace, associated this group with “cultures of swift, open changes,” and “cultural agility.” They value transparency and many are ready and willing to break conventional workplace boundaries, and they’re not worried about potential consequences.

A case in point is Brittany Pietsch’s viral video from last month. This Gen Z worker, and now former account executive from Cloudflare, secretly taped her surprise firing that took place in an online meeting. When colleagues alerted her of their own sudden dismissals that had just taken place, she recorded what she anticipated would be her same fate. She posted the 9-minute video on TikTok, and it almost immediately went viral. It garnered millions of views on several social media platforms and prompted major media outlets across North America to cover this news too.

Some would argue that this video broke the internet – at least within our HR industry. In polarized social media discussions, many rushed to Brittany’s side and praised her, commiserating on painful experiences of being fired. Others criticized her for being entitled and lacking integrity because she publicly exposed internal company processes.

This fiasco got us thinking about how many leaders are using examples such as Brittany’s to characterize an entire generation of young workers as “entitled.” And yet, in our experience in conducting job interviews with numerous jobseekers every day, we can say, that a sense of entitlement is NOT limited to age or a specific generation.

It is a character trait that can be sussed out among workers at any level, with any number of years in the workforce. It is a matter of asking strategic questions that are specifically designed to reveal these oft hidden tendencies and listening actively for certain telltale cues.

Entitled employees will focus on providing answers that centre on and serve themselves.

Here are a few questions and listening strategies our recruitment team uses that can also help you identify potential jobseekers’ propensity to feel unsuitably entitled:

  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work, and how did you fix it? Once you’ve asked this question, listen for how the candidate takes or doesn’t take accountability for their own actions. Entitled jobseekers will ultimately turn their responsibilities onto someone else. For example, “I made a mistake when X happened, but it was because (someone else) did XX.” Based on a jobseekers’ initial response, continue probing. Consider asking again: “What did you do next to fix the problem?” Then, you can ask something like: “What did you learn from it?” What you really want to hear is the candidate owning their mistakes, versus shifting blame onto others. When jobseekers pass the charge onto others, that is a signal that a sense of entitlement may be at play.
  • I want to ask you about how you deal with deadlines. Tell me about a time when you did not meet a deadline. Why was that the case, and what did you do about it? With this question, again, you want to listen for how the jobseeker deals with the stresses of deadlines at work, and how proactive and responsible they are in fixing their own challenges. Entitled workers usually look to point the finger at others for their woes, in order to clear themselves of any wrongdoing.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision, but procedures were not in place. What did you do, and did the organization implement any new procedures afterwards? Star employees are changemakers who seek out solutions when faced with challenges. Entitled workers are often comfortable remaining stagnant. In response to this question, look for cues where a prospective jobseeker seems more frustrated by the company or their manager for not having established procedures, rather than being focused on solving the problem. Such workers will be more likely to exhibit a victim mindset, and may gloss over the implementation of new procedures.
  • What do you do when a colleague doesn’t complete a task on time, and it affects your ability to complete your work on time? Organizations want employees who are collaborative, supportive and team focused. Entitled jobseekers however are in it for themselves. With responses to this question, consider the following: Is the job candidate empathetic? Did the context of the situation matter to them? Did they try to offer support to their colleague? If not, consider these as clues that could represent red flags.

Listen for:

  • whether a jobseeker focuses on their efforts or on their results. This is a very important distinction that can reveal a lot about your interviewee, and in our experience, when an employee refutes performance metrics with how hard they have worked, it often demonstrates a sense of entitlement – to want recognition even when business results haven’t been produced.
  • how a jobseeker perceives their sense of worth at work (not to be confused with feeling worthy from a personal perspective). In job interviews, skilled candidates with proven records of successes, will provide concrete reasons and specifically, metrics for their success. Such measurable results will often roll of their tongue, based on the importance candidates place on such results. Jobseekers who can turn into entitled employees, in contrast, tend to provide more vague answers that can come across as fluff. And you’re more likely to hear them say “I’m worth X, or I’m worth Y…” without providing solid, fact-based reasons as to why that is the case.
  • how a jobseeker perceives the work effort from the rest of the team versus themself. Entitled workers are more likely to emphasize what they feel is owed to them from the rest of the team, and you may also see some levels of self-aggrandizement. The pattern to look for here is an over-indulgent sense of self-importance.
  • how a jobseeker perceives their employer’s company operations, processes, etc. Entitled employees usually have a propensity to over-criticize and express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. They generally want and even expect others to take care of what is not working in their organization, so that they can thrive and shine.


Skills can be taught in the workplace, but character traits are deeply embedded in people’s personalities. They are not meant to be malleable. That is why finding the right personality fit for a company is so critical during the hiring process. Weeding out prospective employees who feel unduly entitled in the workplace is an important part of this equation.




If you are looking for Canada’s most sought-after Bilingual (French/English) talent to join your team, then don’t’ wait – contact us today. We build dream-teams for our clients, all with an eye to help you grow your business, and it would be our pleasure to serve you! Please feel free to reach us by phone at: 416-236-3303, or via email at: [email protected].