Dear Millennial: Don’t Bring your Mom to your Interview and Other Great Tips for Dealing with Helicopter Parents.

Dear Millennial: Don’t Bring your Mom to your Interview and Other Great Tips for Dealing with
Helicopter Parents.
This is the next installment in Curzon’s occasional series “Dear Millennial”.
Okay, before you read any further, let me qualify and say that throughout this article “Dad” can
be substituted for “Mom”, and warn you that the next story is true. Some of the details have
been slightly altered to protect the young man in question from absolute embarrassment. A
few weeks ago we got a call at the office from a Mom who told us that her son (we’ll call him
Johnny) had graduated last December and had a job teaching music to young children. “Mom”
asked us to interview her precious Johnny for potential jobs that we may have because she
didn’t think music was a worthy career. That was warning sign number 1 – which was quickly
followed by the second warning sign when Mom said that she was available Tuesday morning
before 11:00 a.m. Not to be outdone, the trio of warnings were quickly completed when Mom
asked that all the “assessments and paperwork” be sent to her email address. Despite the
foreboding, and perhaps out of a weird sense of wanting to witness the train wreck, the
recruiting team scheduled Johnny for an interview.
The scheduled day came and Johnny and Mom arrived promptly at the appointed time. They
sat in the waiting room together, Mom straightening his tie and inspecting his smile to make
sure there was no food stuck in his teeth. The next jaw dropping moment was when Mom,
loud enough for everyone else to hear, suggested that Johnny “go to the restroom” before the
interview started. Thankfully, Mom let Johnny go into the interview by himself, but she did quiz
him when he came out. At some point Mom realized that Johnny had not given the recruiter a
copy of his resume and sent him back in with copy in hand. To add insult to injury, Mom
marched in behind Johnny and proceeded to have an in-depth conversation with the recruiter
about potential roles for Johnny, his strengths and why any employer would be lucky to have
him.
So what’s the moral of the story?
The first thing is to recognize the phenomenon for what it is – an over protective parent
showing an excessive interest in their child a.k.a “Helicopter Parent, Helicopter Dad or
Helicopter Mom.” Remember the days when the general wisdom was “experience is the best
teacher?” Well as those on the receiving end of the adage became parents, they brought with
them the philosophy that their children would have it easier than they did. This became the
birth of the Helicopter Age. Helicopter Moms and Dads are always on call and vigilant just in
case their child may stumble. They so desperately want their child to survive and excel in the
world, that they do anything and everything in their power to clear the way. So what’s a
Millennial to do:
1. Talk to your Mom about your career plans, but end the conversation there. Mom
should not be the one making outreaches to potential employers. They will be hiring
you and not your Mom. And just in case you’re wondering, recruiters and employers
can usually tell when Mom is actually responding to the emails that they send. An email
that includes the words “I am highly skilled at social media because I have “the
Facebook” page and use “the google” to research,” is a giveaway that someone over the
age of 40 has written it.
2. Make your own decisions. Its great to get input from Mom and others in your social and
personal sphere, but you’re now an adult and as such should make your own decisions.
Similarly, if there’s an issue at work, we support discussing the situation with Mom
because goodness knows that parents actually do know a lot about a lot of things. Gain
insight from Mom and then formulate your own plan of action. Taking this one step
further, once you have a plan, execute it by yourself. Employers want to gain insight
into your decision making ability, not your Mom’s.
3. Finally, do not under any circumstances bring your Mom along to the interview. The
interviewer will question your ability to work independently as well as your (and not
your Mom’s) true interest in the job. The only possible exception is if the two of you are
auditioning for a reality show, which probably means that you’ve already decided that
the traditional career path is not for you. If you can’t get out of the house without Mom
at your side, ask her to drop you off at the corner and strategically forget to tell her the
address for your interview.
At the end of the day, we know that Mom loves you and wants you to succeed, but Dear
Millennial, you’ve got to do it on your own.
Update to the story, the recruiter team really liked the young man, but were reluctant to
move forward with him over the concern that Mom may actually show up on the first day of
work and demand a cubicle close to her son.
Epilogue – Mom called a couple of days later to ask about the status of her son’s recent
interview….