College Grads: Tell Your Folks to Back Off

They are called helicopter parents, and for good reason. The term is used to denote parents who hover over their children, inserting themselves incessantly into the lives of their offspring, attempting to micromanage and control their lives.

Torrance Careers

If the above sounds like a description of YOUR parents, we know they mean well. They actually don’t realize they are going too far in taking over your lives, but see themselves rather as helping. They are not aware that they are doing more harm than good.

But employers are looking for people who can think independently, who can make decisions on their own, who have the motivation and drive from within. If your mom or dad gets involved, talking to a hiring manager or showing up to an interview (this DOES happen!), it makes the hiring manager question whether you have the maturity needed for the job. Bottom line: It reflects poorly on you.

Just a couple of truly egregious examples of parents “helping” their young-adult children in job interviews:

  • In the link above, a mother brought a cake to the company to help convince the hiring manager to hire her daughter.
  • Another mother asked if she could sit in during the interview and yet another parent Skyped in during the interview.
  • One woman even asked if she could be interviewed on behalf of her daughter!

In one study, about one-fourth of employers contacted reported that parents were involved during the hiring process for college seniors. Of those parents, only about four percent actually showed up for an interview, but about 40 percent were involved in researching companies, one-fourth advocated for their child, and another 15 percent complained to the company if their child did not get the job.

Face palm!

Career experts say that there are a number of ways that parents can be involved in their children’s job search without becoming too overbearing or obtrusive. If your parents are too involved, here are some tips on how to ask them to back off.

  1. Tell them you’re happy if they tell their own network of your job search.

Your folks can let their contacts know you’re looking for a job, but ask them to do no more than that. Your parents should just give the contact’s information and let you take the ball and run with it from there.

  1. If they ask, say yes to them offering to help you look for jobs.

Your parents definitely can help you by looking for job openings on job boards, company websites, social media and the like, and passing them along.

  1. Let them be your sounding board. And ONLY a sounding board.

Job hunting is stressful and often frustrating. Your parents can act as a sounding board for you when you need to complain and vent, and parents can offer advice. But your parents shouldn’t try to shield you from failure, which at one time or another is inevitable.

Failure actually is a good thing: you learn how to handle it and learn from it.

Helicopter parents are more common among millennials and members of GenZ, as these parents more than likely were much more involved in their life than previous parental generations.

But you need to let your helicopter parents know in no uncertain terms that it is not OK to contact a potential or actual employer directly. Suggest other ways for them to channel their energies, such as those listed above.

If you are having trouble getting through to them, try enlisting the help of another member of the family who has a more realistic perspective – a sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

Whether you’re a new college or high school grad, whether you’ve been in the workforce for years or want to return after a hiatus, contact the recruiters at Helpmates for help in your job search.

Take a look at our current job opportunities and then follow the directions for applying to those that interest you. You also may contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

 

 

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