You Brought Your MOM to Your Job Interview?

Veronica Writes!

Okay, it’s rave time. Just a warning.

I sympathize with helicopter parents, I really do.

I was one. I reluctantly stopped hovering once my kids left the nest. I knew that the sovereignty of The Spawn was more important than my own desire to continue colonial rule.

Trust me, we’ve ALL benefited from my abdication.

Did I hound my offspring to do their homework when they were kids? You betcha.

Did I have meetings with their high school guidance counselors to voice concerns without The Spawn present?

Guilty.

Was I closely involved with their choices of college? Yup.

AND just to be fair, I’ll admit to SOME of my post-nest-leaving helicoptering:

We did their taxes while in they were in college. We’ve also discussed with them (in depth) health insurance options offered at their workplaces, helped negotiate a purchase of a car and lugged a bigger-than-an elevator-sized sofa up eight flights of stairs.

But here’s something I’ve never done. I’ve never GONE TO A JOB  INTERVIEW WITH MY ADULT “KID”!

Does this really happen? Oh yeah.

Forbes.com posted this (“Are Parents Killing Their Kids’ Careers?” Tara Weiss):

“‘Last year I had a parent sit in the lobby and wait the entire four hours during the job interview,’ says Audrey Abron, an executive recruiter for Belk Department Stores in Charlotte, N.C. ‘The girl introduced us to her mother, and there was no embarrassment. She felt it was acceptable behavior. What do you say? Some things should be understood. Things like, you don’t bring your mommy or daddy to a job interview.’”

Can you imagine?

I’m flabbergasted. Would you hire this umbilical cord dragging applicant? I closed my eyes and tried to imagine under what circumstances this would be appropriate behavior. I drew a big fat blank.

The article continues:

“As an executive recruiter for healthcare consultancy Stockamp and Associates, Kate Carson is used to talking to plenty of job applicants. What she’s not used to is talking to their parents. But that’s exactly what she’s doing more of these days. Recently she received a call from the mother of a 24-year-old graduate student who wanted to know why her daughter didn’t receive a job offer with the Oregon-based company. ‘I was a little taken aback,’ says Carson.”

Oh come ON! Seriously?

24 years old and Mommy’s still nipping at the heels?

Who is Mom doing this for?

I thought possibly I had a skewed perspective on this, so I called my daughter, The Piglet, to see if this was a common practice among her  peers. The Piglet is a very diplomatic person — she’s always willing to see all sides of an issue. In order to state my case properly, I first got my ducks in a row. I compiled my findings and rang her up with my computer at the ready.

Here’s the ensuing conversation:

Me: Hey baby, I need your input on something. I’m working on an article about parents who go along with their adult kids to job interviews..

The Piglet: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

That really happens?

Okay. Got it.

Oh, but it gets worse. From USA Today comes these examples
(“Helicopter’ parents hover when kids job hunt” Stephanie Armour):

“At Hewlett-Packard, parents have gone as far as contacting the company after their child gets a job offer. They want to talk about their son’s or daughter’s salary, relocation packages and scholarship programs.”

AND (!):

“At Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, a father recently called the company to inquire about how his son could apply for its Atlanta internship program. ‘I was very surprised. I answered my phone, and he said he had a son interested in internships,’ says Jennifer Seymour, who runs the intern program. She says helicopter parents create a negative view.”

Ya think?

Jeez people. We’ve GOT to let our kids grow up.

I figured I should do some more research. Maybe employers benefit from overparenting.

Is there some secret formula I’m missing? Something like:

E(mployee)+ P(sychoParent) – T(ime spent on the phone with Mommy
bragging on Spawn’s exploits) = S(uperEmployee)? Hmmm…

So does parental hovering hurt employers?

CareerBuilder.com had this to say (“Helicopter Parents on the Job Search” Patrick Erwin):

“Eileen Habelow is a regional vice president and director for the staffing firm Randstad USA. She’s also had some eye- opening experiences with the parents of young job seekers. Habelow remembers one candidate who seemed ideal in many ways — except one.

“During the interview process, the candidate continuously  referenced her parents, their roles in her search, their support in evaluating us as an employer and a financially stable company, and their advice on how she should negotiate the employment deal,‘ Habelow recalls.

“That level of parental involvement raised some red flags. ‘She  was a very sharp candidate: polished, smart, well-educated and  confident. However, the constant reference to mom and dad was a definite turnoff,’ Habelow states. “The company hired the candidate, but Habelow soon regretted that decision. ‘After  three months she let us know that her parents agreed that maybe this was not the best fit after all. I will trust my  instincts  next time.’”

I bet she will. Ms. Habelow and her company just wasted HOW much time and money on this infantile employee? This sharp, polished, smart, well-educated and confident young lady would probably be an excellent  candidate — once Mom and Dad stop knocking the legs out from under her.

In Ms. Armour’s report for USA Today she found that

“Too much parental involvement can backfire: Employers may  shy away from job candidates because they don’t want to deal with parents. ‘Psychologically, it’s somewhat eroding. When an  employer is hiring someone, they’re hiring an adult for an adult  job, and then they have to deal with a parent,’ says Charles  Wardell in New York, the managing director and head of the northeast region at Korn/Ferry. ‘There comes a time when you’ve prepared children, and you need to let go.’”

Ms. Weiss from Forbes learned that

“Parents have been very involved in managing their son or  daughter’s lives,” says Melanie Parker, executive director of career services at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  ‘They’re the most managed generation in history. Parents think they’re helping their son or daughter but there are consequences.

At some point they’ll have to be more independent, but that breakaway will occur later than in past generations.’ Parker received several requests from parents to get their own university ID cards so they can have easy access to the career center to ‘take care of their child’s business.’ Parker denies all of those requests.”

Jonathan Klick, a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, writes (“The Dangers of Letting Someone Else Decide“):

“The more we protect individuals from making decisions (good  or bad), the less willing they will be to invest in decisionmaking  capacities. A few years ago, I was bemused when I spoke at an  orientation session for new law students, finding that a third of the room was filled with their parents. This feeling eventually  turned to despair when I discovered this is a fairly ubiquitous  phenomenon. By coddling their children, it seems, today’s  helicopter parents have actually stunted their children’s  development. You may think I am exaggerating the costs of this,  but there is at least some evidence of this coddling leading to  negative long term consequences.”

Finally, this gem from Forbes:

“That’s exactly how Carmen (R) feels about her daughter. A junior at Gonzaga University in Washington State, (her daughter) is in the middle of an internship hunt and is getting  plenty of help from her mom, who’s developed an Excel spreadsheet to track contacts, is ready to accompany her on job interviews and write follow-up letters. Says (Ms. R), ‘I’m monitoring my investment.'”

Your INVESTMENT?

Put a fork in me, I’m done.

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: You’ve heard my thoughts on the subject, what are yours? Do you have any stories to share?


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23 thoughts on “You Brought Your MOM to Your Job Interview?”

  1. Our sons, there are three, began making their own school lunches when they began 7th grade and doing their own laundry when they began high school. They all thanked me for that when they went away to college and all had to show others how to do a load of laundry. I have always tried to remember that we were raising them to leave and become productive, independent, happy people. So proud of them.

  2. I found myself silently screaming: “BOUNDARIES PEOPLE GET SOME BOUNDARIES!!!’ Because really the helicopter parenting technique is about terrible boundaries.

    –said the mom who is on pins and needles while waiting to hear her son’s dorm and roommate assignment for the fall.

    Yeah, it’s a work in progress to back off. My only excuse is he is my first to go away to college.

  3. Ha! Reading this reminding me of the beginning of the summer. Our new fresh faced out of college came to introduce herself to the group and the floor. She was expected to start in August. She brought her mother and baby sister. My coworker and I thought this was odd since he would bring their family to meet your coworkers before you actually met them.

    After reading this, I guess I can see why it’s happening. I mean there are parents in China paying top dollar to hire a consultant for colleges like Harvard and Yale.

    So weird.

  4. Ok I know I was definitly a helicoptor mom. And I still do my kids taxes lol Oh well one day , I will totally untile these strings. But really going to a job interview, calling the HR, that just floored me. Maybe I am not anywhere as bad I i thought I was . Thanks for the entertainment na deye opener.

  5. Is it any surprise when our government makes our kids dependent on our health insurance until 26 yrs of age now? As long as parents are paying the bills, they think they have the right to interfere. And as long as kids think parents are supposed to pay bills until they are 26, parents are probably having a hard time getting their adult kids to apply for jobs on their own.

    Mine are 25 and 23 and on their own. Yay!!

  6. OMG! I shouldn’t be shocked. I’ve had to fire two young hires for ongoing performance problems only to be shocked at receiving parental (maternal, actually) phone calls telling me why we should reconsider. Reason #1 that we’re not reconsidering—-your mother asked us to.

  7. When my daughter moved to LA @ 18 years of age I have to admit to going to the first view auditions while I was still there. I sat in the car with cell phone at the ready. Some of these auditions looked to be in seedy places and although she was 18 she looked 14 so could go out for much younger parts and not need parents on set. After few we realized that all she had gone to were on the up and up and she was on her own. No one saw me but at that point i did not care, I was concerned with her safety. She is 26 and totally on her own for decisions and money

  8. My husband owns a seasonal business and I have the honor of interviewing applicants. Imagine my surprise when a mom showed up for the interview….without her daughter who was applying for the position. You see… the daughter was “busy” at another important event…a softball game.
    So the mom thought she would be able to secure the position for her daughter.
    No thank you…NEXT !

  9. Not a real surprise, though sad and kind of tragic. I’ve had students’ parents call me at home to both question and harangue me over their kids’ grades. In one particularly egregious instance, a fellow faculty member called me at home to as…k that I reconsider one kid’s final grade; he was calling because he was a friend of the family and the kid’s mother had called him to complain.The helicopter parenting you’re discussing, V, has encouraged a real sense of entitlement among the kids, and the various power structures around them would rather shrug their shoulders and concede than they would stand their ground. Probably a gross generalization, but it’s early and I haven’t yet generalized today…

  10. I thought I hovered too much, but when it comes to job hunting I do a lot of coaching and assist with the applications, resumes and letters. I’m unseen and unheard in the sidelines for interviews and phone calls. Over the last year during her first year at college… she’s becoming more independent. YAY!

  11. I had a friend that was in charge of the suspensions and other student issues at a fairly major graduate program in the Mid-West. At one point, she had to put a kid on academic probation because of grades and set up a meeting with him to discuss it. The student’s mother showed up…. with no kid. Mom said her kid was too busy with other matters, but she wanted to discuss the matter. As my friend said, “get the hell out of here – I never want to see or hear from you again regarding your child. If a 24 year old graduate student can’t deal with his own life… well….”

  12. I’m annoyed enough at helicopter parents at the college level, but this….this is just beyond the pale. How can people not realize this is totally inappropriate behavior? These parents are not doing their kids any favors by refusing to let them grow up.

  13. I’ve been teaching college for 12 years, but only in the last 5 have I been seeing parents completing & submitting their kid’s grant applications, buying their airfare for study abroad (kid doesn’t even know the dates) and, my personal “favorite,” deciding it’s not “safe” to study abroad & actually attempt to withdraw their kid’s application – kid had no idea!

  14. Ok, I too am guilty of over-involvement in some instances, but my son is 11, not 24, and at times he really does need an advocate. But my goal here in helping him now is to get him on the right track so he will incrementally be able to help himself more and more as he grows up and matures. It’s actually a nightmare of mine that my son will never grow up. I’m actually looking forward to seeing him be able to blossom and take care of himself completely, as most parents should. Do these parents still cut up their 24 year old’s food for them and do their laundry too? Yikes!

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