Job Search: 10 Outrageous Ways Parents "Help"

Last Updated May 24, 2011 1:34 PM EDT

We've all heard about Helicopter parents, who hover over (or complete) their children's school work and need to be practically booted out of Freshmen college classes. But the helicopter "help" apparently doesn't end with school.

Office Team, a temporary placement staffing service, surveyed 1,300 senior managers to find out whether parents had stepped into their kids' job searches and what they'd done. The answer, "yes." Unfortunately, the hovering didn't help.

Here are the 10 most outrageous parental employment pushes, according to the survey:
  • One parent wanted to sit in on the interview
  • Dad called a politician to encourage the employer to hire his son.
  • Mom submitted the resume on her daughter's behalf
  • Mom called during the interview to put in a good word for hiring her daughter (The only way to handle this is to promise the employer that, if you're hired, you will personally disconnect your mother's phone.)
  • Dad called for a "status report" on his son's application
  • Mom asked for an update on how her child did in the interview (Of course, she wouldn't have needed to ask, if the employer had just let her sit in on it.)
  • Mom called to ask exactly why her son wasn't hired, demanding information on why the employer felt he wasn't qualified.
  • Parent stopped the employer at the grocery store to plead for the child's job
  • Dad demanded preference for a position for his daughter because he was a manager in another part of the company
  • Parent called to check on the applicant's work schedule and salary (It apparently didn't come up in the interview.)
Those, by the way, were not the only responses -- they were merely the most common or most horrifying to the hiring managers. Others that didn't make the grade: Parents who came with their child to apply for a job and one who called the Human Resources manager to reschedule the interview on Jr.'s behalf.

In case this is news to anyone: Mom and Dad, your kids' prospective employers should not hear from you.

It's great to be a positive behind-the-scenes influence. You can troll your personal networks for contacts and people who might give your kids a recommendation or advice. It's advisable to coach your child about arriving on time, appropriately dressed and tell them to spend a few minutes before the interview scrubbing their Facebook profile.

But the interview and its aftermath is something the kids have to handle themselves. Getting too involved in the job search could cost your kid a job.

"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," says Robert Hosking, executive director at Office Team. "New graduates should steer their parents away from direct contact with potential employers and toward behind-the-scenes guidance and networking assistance."

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