My earliest readers may remember that one of my first posts, way back in February 2010, was called “Are YOU a Hyper Parent?” (I’m sure you’re not, but you might want to go back to that one just to be sure!)
As a followup, I just came across results of a recent Office Team survey which shed light on the blunders of some, shall we say, overzealous parents who are sabotaging their kids’ job hunts. Some of these are too hilarious not to share…and read to the end if you want tips on what you actually can do to help your child find work.
We’ve all heard of moms and dads who become too involved in a child’s science fair project, book report or college application. According to a new OfficeTeam survey, this type of hovering, also known as “helicopter parenting,” extends to the job search, too.
Executives interviewed were asked to recount the most unusual or surprising behaviour they had heard of or witnessed from the parent of a job seeker. Here are some of their responses:
“One parent wanted to sit in during the interview.”
“A parent called a politician to push me to hire his son.”
“A mother submitted her daughter’s resume on her behalf.”
“Someone stopped an employer at a grocery store to ask that person to hire her child.”
“A parent called to ask about a job applicant’s work schedule and salary.”
“A parent called during the interview to try to push me to hire her daughter.”
“I received a call from a father asking about the status of his son’s application.”
“A parent came by my desk and told me that he expected his daughter to get preference for a position since he was a manager at the company.”
“A mother called to ask how her child did in the job interview.”
“A parent called to find out why we did not hire her son and why we felt he was not qualified.”
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada.
“Although most parents mean well, those who become overly involved in a child’s job search can derail their son or daughter’s prospects of being hired because companies may question the applicant’s level of independence and maturity,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “New graduates should steer their parents away from direct contact with potential employers and toward behind-the-scenes guidance and networking assistance.”
OfficeTeam identifies five ways for professionals to effectively leverage their parents’ help in the job search:
1. Branch out. Networking is still one of the best ways to find a job. A parent’s friends and colleagues can help set up introductory meetings with employers and alert you to opportunities.
2. Give it another look. Have parents review your resume and cover letter. They can spot typos and other errors and make sure the most valuable information is included.
3. Do a test run. Conduct mock interviews with parents to practice responses to common questions. Ask for constructive feedback on your answers and delivery.
4. Weigh your options. Use your parents as a sounding board about potential opportunities. They can provide a different perspective and bring up points to consider in your decision.
5. Get encouragement. Looking for a job can be difficult, and it’s important to remain positive. Seek parental advice and support throughout the process to keep on track.
I’m sure that in my past, my parents have indirectly helped me get jobs. Aside from babysitting, my first paid employment was scooping Baskin Robbins ice cream, and the reason I was hired is because my Dad and I walked in for a cone only seconds after an employee had called in “sick”…again. Dad had coached the manager’s son in hockey, and the first words out of her mouth to me were “Do you want a job?”
Next came my work at a convent (a post in itself) and my university summers working at an insurance company, a job which I got strictly on my own merits.
As for my teaching position…the fact that my parents were both well-respected teachers in our School Board when I was hired certainly couldn’t have hurt me, but I’m pretty sure that my French qualifications sealed the deal on that one.
My own girls are 5 and 3, so their job-hunting years are far ahead of them, but I will try to internalize these tips so that I’ll know my place when the time comes. Though since I get nervous making such phone calls on my own behalf, I can’t imagine feeling too compelled to do it for my daughters. Good luck, kids!
About OfficeTeam: OfficeTeam is a leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at http://www.officeteam.com.