Taking Mom To A Job Interview: A Crutch Or Smart Move?

Since the Wall Street Journal published their article about parents’ involvement in their children’s job search and career, several other sites such as the Huffington Post and MSN Now have also addressed the topic. If you're a Millennial, listen up. That generation's parents are far more involved in their children’s careers than any other, from accompanying them to company events and job interviews to negotiating salary on their children’s behalf and receiving their performance reviews. Yup, it’s for real. The WSJ article cites companies like Northwestern Mutual letting parents come along for interviews and hear job offers. A 2012 poll shows that 8% of college graduates had their parents go with them to an interview. Sounds a bit scary like you’re back in high school. Are you really that close to your parents? What’s driving this trend? In an interview with WBUR, NPR news station in Boston, Derek Thompson from The Atlantic believes that it’s both the parents and the companies. Companies think it’s what you and your parents want and “helicopter” parents of the millennial generation are much closer to their kids than those of previous generations. What’s the big deal and does this actually help you in your job search or career? From moms who would decline an invitation to sit in on their children’s interviews and believe adult children everywhere need to grow up to some Millennial flinching in hearing the news that their generation is now having parents tag along on job interview, there have been a lot of strong reactions. However, it’s not all bad, with companies like Northwestern seeing success in sales increasing by 40% as a result of parents’ involvement. Google and LinkedIn are also seeing better employee morale as a result of parents’ participation in company events. Based on the 2012 poll mentioned in the WSJ article, only 3% of parents sit in the actual interviews with their children. This is a small percentage and the reaction likely related to an overall question of whether or not parents belong in the workplace at their children’s side. Whether you agree or disagree with having your parents as your partner and advisor in your job search and career decisions, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Parents Cannot Replace Preparation

Your mom or dad is at the interview with you for support as an observer. It’s still your interview with the recruiter or hiring manager and you need to do everything that you can or know how to prepare for the interview. This means doing your research on the company, coming up with answers for questions that your interviewer may ask and having mock interviews to help you put everything together and gain real experience interviewing.

"Helicopter” Parenting During The Interview

If you’re going to have your parent there, it might be a good idea to discuss a game plan with your mom or dad before your interview. The pressure of an interview is stressful enough that you don’t want to have surprises from your parents to add to it.

Who’s The Candidate? You.

You are the person that the interviewer is considering to hire. You need to make the case for your own capabilities so remember to make sure that it’s you who shines in the interview. The interviewer should walk away wanting to hire you, not your mom or dad.

Branching Out On Your Own

Your parents have accompanied you to a handful of interviews but that doesn’t mean that they need to keep doing so because you’ve set a precedent. Know for yourself when you’d like your parent next to you in an interview and when it’s just better for them to hear about the interview from you.

The Exception, Not The Norm

Most interviewers still expect to meet only you at the interview, so don’t assume that all interviewers will be okay with you bringing your parents. If your interviewer invites you to bring your mom or dad along then you can do so. Otherwise, check with your interviewer first before you show up and introduce yourself and your parents to him or her.

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