Mommy, can you ask that nice man if he’d give me a job?
I had truly thought that it was an urban legend, right up there with the scare stories of my youth (…and when they found her sitting on a shelf in her closet, gnawing on an arm bone, her hair was standing out straight, like a fright wig…).
But then I saw a Smart Money article, linked from The Wall Street Journal, so it must be true:
There are some parents who have actually accompanied their college educated adult children to their job interviews.
Give us a “W”. Give us a “T”. Give us an “F.”
I don’t have any children, college educated adults, or other. But I can certainly imagine that I would be a completely Helpful Hannah on the job front if I did have any who were looking for work.
What would I do?
I’d edit a résumé. Look over letters. Suggest places to look. Buy an interview outfit. Tap my network. Coach on interview behavior. Offer advice on negotiating. Provide cab fare. And, yes, I can imagine that, if my Boomeranger were acting like a slug, I’d nag. (I don’t think I’d resort to my mother’s approach when she thought her teenagers were laying about a tad too long in bed, which was revving the vacuum cleaner next to their heads. Trust me when I say that it’s very difficult to enjoy a few extra zzz’s with the Hoover reverberating in your skull.)
But actually show up for an interview?
Drive the kid, maybe. But make sure to let him/her off out of the sight-lines of any HR rep or prospective hiring managers.
But actually show up for an interview?
Apparently this behavior is NOT, I repeat NOT, an urban legend.
Stuart Friedman, president of Chicago consulting firm Progressive Management Associates, will never forget the time he helped a financial-software client interview candidates for an entry-level position. In walked not one but three well-dressed hopefuls -- a fresh-faced college grad and his proud parents. Mom and Dad were on hand, the grad explained, to make sure he got "a fair opportunity to get this job."
Well, sonny-boy, I do believe that you got as fair an opportunity to snag that job as any other mummy-daddy girl or boy would have been granted.
Seriously, folks, who would take someone seriously – in a professional, non-sheltered workshop situation – who shows up on an interview with their folks?
The only thing that I personally experienced that came even vaguely close to this was when I worked with a man whose wife was the most painfully shy and inverted individual I have ever met. He brought her to a company function and, while I was standing there, came over to introduce her to our boss. As our boss extended his hand to shake hers, my colleague took his wife’s arm, thrust her hand into that of our boss, and pumped it up and down a few times.
So I have indeed witnessed some strange workplace behavior in my time. But if anyone I interviewed for a job had appeared at my door with a parent, the sound they would have heard would have been my jaw dropping to the floor.
I would hope I would have had the presence of mind to escort mommy or daddy dearest to the reception area. And I hope I would have advised the
ninny young person I was interviewing that it would be best to leave their parents at home, or at least in the parking lot. But, unless the ninny young person looking for a job in my group happened to be, say, the son or daughter of the CEO, who happened to be the mommy or daddy dearest who brought them around, well, I cannot imagine that I would have wanted to have someone that woefully clueless and dependent on my team. (Hey, I hired enough woefully clueless people on their own merits, even if they did come without their parents in tow.)
I find it truly astonishing the Baby Boomers have become such extreme helicopter parents that they’d do something like this.
I don’t even think my parents knew what my college major was. (Not that they would have thought sociology was a waste of time and money or anything.)
When I was a kid, there was a popular ad – one often lampooned (there was even a novelty song based on it ) - for Anacin headache relief.
The gray-haired mother tried to help her middle-aged daughter in the kitchen, only to have the daughter snap, “Mother, please, I’d rather do it myself.”
Time for the young folk to millennial-up and tell their parents to back off the job hunt.
Labels: business stupidity