The man who took his mother to the interview … honest!

Filed in HIRING ARTICLES by on March 31, 2018

Recently, we had the mother of a 40 year-old married man, with a teenage daughter of his own, take his mother to the interview… I was flabbergasted … we certainly live in a different world!

Our candidate, an engineer, explained to us that his mother is really smart and he values her input… I’m not sure that our client, a small town in Northern Ontario was impressed – bottom line, he wasn’t hired.

Today, some parents may feel more concerned about their kids’ well-being and want to become more involved in their lives than perhaps they should. Given what’s been happening in the economy and what’s going on in the news, I guess I’d have to say “who can fault them?” In many parts of Canada, the job market is very competitive and living costs are rising. I am told that more 18- to 34-year-olds are living at home with their parents today, so it’s not hard to see how the lives of children and parents can be quite intertwined.

According to a recent study more than 1 in 3 senior managers (35 percent) said they’re annoyed when helicopter parents are involved in their kids’ search for work. Another one-third (34 percent) said that they prefer Mum and Dad stay out of the job hunt but would let it slide. Twenty-nine percent said this parental involvement is not a problem.

Not all employers will automatically take a candidate out of contention if his parents become too involved in the job search, but chances are that most hiring managers would be put off by this type of behavior … at least that’s my opinion.

Most of these parents mean well, but they can derail their son or daughter’s chances of getting hired, because employers, would quite naturally, start to question the applicant’s independence and maturity.”

Anyway it got me thinking … how can a parent help you in your career? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Take advantage of your parent’s network.Your parent’s friends and colleagues can introduce you to employers and let you know of opportunities you might not hear about in any other way.
  2. Get them to read-over your resume.Just yesterday, I was working with a Selection Committee to short-list candidates – one councilor saw a spelling mistake on a resume and said that this was enough for her to take that person off her list. So, in addition to spotting typos or other errors, your parents can help you make sure the most valuable information about you is highlighted.
  3. Conduct a mock interview.Role-playing can be a very practical help… get Mum and Dad to practice the answers to common interview questions with you, then give you some constructive feedback.
  4. Discuss your options.Parents can make a great sounding board about potential opportunities. They can usually provide a different perspective and bring up points to consider that might not occur to you.
  5. A Great Place to Get Encouragement.Looking for a job can be tough. Mum and Dad can be your biggest fans, your parents are in a great position to give you a slap on the rear end or a pat on the back … sometimes all you need to keep going.

And how should hiring managers respond when a helicopter parent swoops in and tries to be too “helpful”?

Resist the urge to snicker, sneer, or call security, and say something like, ‘It’s wonderful that you want to be helpful, but we really need to deal with Johnny directly.’”

Then hope Mum or Dad will get the hint and go away quietly.

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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