Helicopter Parents Hover Over Job Interviews

Helicopter parents—those loving but sometimes overprotective souls known for paying a little too much attention to their children’s activities—have apparently expanded their flight patterns beyond educational institutions to hover around the companies where their kids are interviewing for jobs.

Anecdotal evidence from a survey conducted on behalf of Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing company OfficeTeam suggests that such situations are cropping up more often than they used to. Some of the more than 600 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the U.S. and Canada reported that:

  • "The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview."
  • "A woman brought a cake to try to convince us to hire her daughter."
  • "One parent asked if she could do the interview for her child because he had somewhere else to be."
  • "Parents have arrived with their child’s resume and tried to convince us to hire him or her."
  • "A job seeker was texting his parent the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response."

More surprisingly, perhaps, 29 percent of these managers professed to have no problem with parents weighing in, against 35 percent who found it annoying and 34 percent who said, "I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’ll let it slide."

When asked about an appropriate response, OfficeTeam District President Brandi Britton said, "If a parent is becoming overly involved in their child’s job search, an employer might politely tell him or her that that they need to deal with applicants directly."

She added that some moms and dads intervene in their children’s job searches without being asked. In those situations, "it may be helpful to make candidates aware of their parents’ inappropriate behavior," she told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail.

But anyone would be stumped by what OfficeTeam called a mother’s "reverse psychology approach: ‘When we called one candidate, his mom answered and asked us not to hire him.’" Perhaps she enjoyed having him live in her basement?


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