3 Signs That Job Candidates May Eventually Abuse Your Company's Employee Benefits

Is that candidate asking a few too many questions about your work-from-home and unlimited vacation policies?

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By Andre Lavoie


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The job market is fierce. And that means fierce from an employer's point of view, in today's economy where employers are having to do whatever they can to find and retain top talent. Many are responding by offering impressive employee benefits and added perks to set themselves apart from the competition. And those moves are certainly on the right track.

Related: How to Give Your Employees Real Benefits, Not Just Cheap Perks

In fact, according to LinkedIn's March 2016 Global Talent Trends report which surveyed 26,151 LinkedIn members, 54 percent of job candidates polled said they wanted to know about company's perks and benefits before accepting a job.

Unfortunately, though, some candidates aren't just considering those perks and benefits as part of the job; they're looking at them as the most important part. This means they could end up abusing these perks and make work more challenging for co-workers.

Here are three red flags that might suggest that that job candidate you're considering is a poor choice -- because he or she might abuse your company's employee benefits and perks:

1. They're interested, but not passionate.

There's a huge difference between interest and passion. Passionate candidates show excitement for the position and everything the company has to offer professionally. They talk about why they love their line of work, their accomplishments at previous jobs and their suggestions of what they'd like to do for your company.

DreamWorks Animation keeps such candidate passions for the company alive by encouraging these people, once they're employees, to share their unique ideas and projects. As Dan Satterthwaite, the studio's chief human resources officer, explained in an interview at the Society for Human Resource Management 2012 Annual Conference, "Each employee is encouraged to be their own CEO."

This mentality keeps them invested.

Encouraging a candidate to elaborate on his or her original ideas and projects is a great way to gauge this person's passion for not just the job and its perks, but also the company and its vision. Job candidates who show interest mainly in the potential benefits they'd gain will not express the same enthusiasm about the position's tasks and details. Unfortunately, employers may only see their eyes light up when, they, as interviewers, talk about the amazing employee benefits and perks.

Related: Lost in Translation: 4 Ways to Improve Employee-Benefits Communications

So, go in another direction: Get to the bottom of candidates' passions and interests by asking, specifically:

  • Why did you choose this line of work?
  • What are you most passionate about?

  • What do you love about this specific position?

  • What changes or growth would you like to see in yourself and the position, if you receive an offer?

Candidates who are truly passionate about the position will easily answer these questions. However, those who have a more difficult time talking about passons or describe passions that aren't related to the job may be more excited about employee benefits than the job itself.

Employers able to find passionate employees are doing more than just protecting themselves. In fact, in a 2016 LinkedIn report, Purpose at Work, 73 percent of professionals surveyed who described themselves as "purpose-oriented" also said they were satisfied with their jobs.

This increased satisfaction brings leaders the productive, motivated, and benefit-neutral employees needed to keep organizations running smoothly into the future.

2. They're overly curious about benefits.

Curiosity about benefits is natural -- and it's a job-seeker's right to ask about them. But when these questions come up from candidates during first-round interviews, it's a major red flag.

Candidates should use the initial interview to learn more about the company and open position. Those who spend more time asking about paid time off, health benefits and remote working options are showing that they're more interested in the perks than the job itself.

Fortunately, most companies won't be facing a $24 million loss due to benefits fraud, as happened to Atlas Copco; but those that fail to at least be skeptical of candidates asking too many questions about benefits do so at their peril. While there are many ways employees might abuse benefits after being hired, slowing down the interview process to understand candidates' intentions could save your company and employees time, money and frustration.

So, if someone asks a lot of questions about employee benefits during the first round of interviews, bring this candidate back to the topic at hand. Ask if there are any specific questions about the job duties, company details or their potential co-workers.

Those who respond well and immediately get back on track may just be inexperienced interviewees. However, if they continue going back to inquiries about vacation days or in-office perks, that's a sign that they may be looking to join the company simply for its awesome benefits package.

3. They job-hop for unknown reasons.

Job-hopping isn't always a negative. Some people move between jobs for growth and learning opportunities; others change jobs due to uncontrollable personal circumstances. The key is to understand the reason behind a candidate's job-hopping ways.

Unfortunately, according to MetLife's 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefits Trends study, only 64 percent of young millennials surveyed, ages 21 to 24, said they planned on working for the same organization 12 months down the road.

That's why employers need to keep a close eye out for employees who job-hop because they've heard about a company with more exciting perks and employee benefits. Get to the bottom of their job-hopping tendencies by being direct. Ask why they left their last few positions and where they'd like this new opportunity to lead. In addition, don't neglect to ask for professional references.

Related: How to Control Increasing Employee-Benefits Costs

Speaking directly to previous employers, co-workers and even mentors will help you understand why a candidate switched jobs on a frequent basis. It could also give you better insight into how well -- or not so well -- this person handled those various companies' perks and benefits.

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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