Mom, Dad, and Your Interview

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Posted September 24, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Career Moves
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I flipped the first time I learned of the new interviewing tactic some twenty-somethings were employing in their job search:

Mom, or Dad, or both were accompanying them on their job interviews.

HUH?? My first thought jumped to the applicant – Have you no pride? Who brings their parents with them on a JOB INTERVIEW?
Then I moved to the variety of faux pas a parent might make in front of a prospective employer, My Kathi Ann is so talented! You’d be lucky to have her, but she can be a real chatter box!

Simply put — the thought NEVER occurred to me, however in the words of Bob Dylan,

The times they are a changing….

Lots of chatter, debate, and argument currently circulates around this issue, and recently the Wall Street Journal  published “Should You Bring Your Parents to Your Office”, which discusses the positive aspects of parents involvement in their kids’ careers. Top firms like Northwestern Mutual, Google, and LinkedIn have all embraced different aspects of ‘parent-friendly practices.’

For instance, WSJ quoted Michael Van Grinsven of Northwestern Mutual as saying,

It’s become best practice . . . noting that parents can influence their children’s career decisions. Some Northwestern Mutual managers call or send notes to parents when interns achieve their sales goals and let parents come along to interviews and hear details of job offers. They may even visit parents at home.

On the flip side Forbes countered the WSJ article with their own, which cautioned employers to tread lightly with involving parents in the employment process citing both (perceived) discriminatory practices and privacy risks, each very valid issues.

I can easily argue either side of the case. Watch!

Pros

  • Why not include family members? It is not an uncommon practice to invite a candidate and their spouse (or significant other) to dinner during the interview process, so what about Mom and Dad?
  • What employer doesn’t want to improve sales stats from their new recruits? According to the WSJ article,

Northwestern Mutual’s benchmark for success in sales has risen more than 40% since 2007, a productivity improvement that he [Van Grinsven] attributes in part to more parental support.

  •  Who doesn’t want happier, more engaged employees? Both Google and LinkedIn claim the All in the Family approach makes for better morale, which leads to more productive workers.

Cons

  • At what age does a person take responsibility for her own decisions? 20, 25, 30? Some interviewers might question a candidate’s decison-making ability and maturity level. Will Mom and Dad want to sit in on your performance review, too? 
  • Ever heard of the generation gap? More ‘seasoned’ hiring managers will be far less open to entertain this new trend because they were raised with different values. (Remember, many grew-up  in the the latch-key generation, so independence was expected.)
  • Parents say the darnest things sometimes! Even the most discreet parent can lapse into chatting about an embarrassing childhood story, or scolding you in front of the interviewer.

Career Girl Network wants to know where you stand on the debate! Do parents and job interviews mix?


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.

4 Comments


  1.  
    Suzanne

    One of the ‘pros’ is only under very specific circumstances, though. For a hiring manager to bring in the spouse, the job is generally at an executive level and generally the spouse is only brought in when a major relocation is involved.

    As a former recruiter, I would never have taken a candidate seriously if they brought in a parent.




  2.  

    As a recruiter I have to say that I would not take someone who brings their parents into an interview seriously. In my opinion, it’s not professional and doesn’t show independence. I’d be wondering if I’d have to call their parents every step of the way.

    I would not have the confidence to present that candidate to my client (the company)… what if their mom and dad went with them to that interview?

    This is as bad as taking parents out on a first date. It’s creepy.




  3.  

    Thanks for weighing in, Ladies!

    From my perspective (and age!) I find this trend quizzical. There is a point in which one needs to step away to let another fully bloom! In the end, life teaches its lessons one way or another.




  4.  

    It’s interesting, because I think this represents a general trend for younger people to rely heavily on their parents advice in business. Case in point – a former employee who told me “My dad says you’re not paying me enough.” So I think the goal is to find the fine line as an employee between asking your parents for advice, and then bringing that exact wording and advice to the office. I rely on my father for a lot of things, but no one in my professional life would hear me say something like, “My dad says…”





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