Recently, a friend of mine complained that she’d received correspondence from the parent of a soon-to-be college graduate, promoting him as a potential fit for her organization. She was exasperated that a young man who is about to enter the workforce wouldn’t be sending out his own resume and making his own contacts and instead was letting his parents do it for him.
As crazy as it sounds, however, they aren’t alone.
CollegeParentCentral.com cited data from the College Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University which found that some helicopter parents keep their rotors hovering close even as their millennial offspring look to begin their careers.
In a recent survey of more than 700 employers, 23 percent said they’d seen parents involved in job searches for potential candidates. That involvement ranged from submitting resumes to attending job fairs either with or on behalf of their child and helping to promote them for jobs. A small percentage even attended interviews with their children or were involved in negotiating salary or benefits.
Can you even begin to imagine a potential job candidate walking into your office, prepared to tell you why you should hire them, with their mother or father in tow? Maybe you can. Maybe you were among the 700-plus respondents to that survey.
I’ll admit to being amazed to read that some parents do their children’s homework for them, but this takes it a couple ill-advised steps further. How can you, as an employer, be assured that this candidate can think on their own, can adapt to the transition from college to career, can handle the learning curve that comes in the first year of a new job, if they can’t even conduct a job search or get through an interview without the help of their parents?
Mom and Dad, you are doing your sons and daughters no favors by involving yourselves to this degree. Make your soon-to-be college graduate do his or her own legwork. That will show that they can handle the work that they’re trying to get.
You can help in other ways. Offer any tips you may have in researching potential employers or putting together a resume. Proofread it for them. Help them prepare for their interview. But don’t do it for them. You are only setting them up for failure once a hurdle arises in their careers and you aren’t around to help them clear it.
No wonder millennials get a bad rap. If their parents won’t back off and let them find their own way, they don’t have much of a chance to learn for themselves.