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Bringing Your Parents To A Job Interview? Inside This Weird Trend

I love my parents. I am a millennial. Under no normal circumstances would I ever bring my parents to a job interview, a company social, or a “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.”

That last sentence should be a non sequitur, but as Anita Hofschneider’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal (titled “Should You Bring Mom and Dad to the Office?”) outlined, it’s a thing that happens in real life.

The answer to this question is no. No, you should not bring your mom and dad to the office. Or the job interview.

Evidently, helicopter parents — the ones that you’ll find hovering over their kids — are extending their reach all the way to the cubicle, where millennials are attempting to be taken seriously by their bosses and co-workers.

Some parents attend job interviews. Like a parent-teacher conference.

It’s happening at the individual and organizational level. Hofschneider profiles one millennial who has brought his mother to multiple company events, “including the company’s annual meeting for employees and their families.” (I think the event was called “Motherboy XXX.”) 

Google held a “Take Your Parents to Work Day,” which brought 2,000 parents to its Mountain View campus (though I would guess some of that is a Google Effect and wouldn’t happen at, say, Walmart). LinkedIn, also in Silicon Valley, is planning to hold a similar event in November.

What’s going on?

Hofschneider gets part of the explanation from Michael Van Grinsven, the field-growth and development director at Northwestern Mutual. He says that regularly inviting parents to the office for open houses has “become best practice.” (No word on who made that decision for corporate America.)

It gets worse. The article looks at one study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which found, inexplicably, that “6% of recent college graduates surveyed in the U.S. wanted their parents to receive a copy of their offer letters…The study also found that just 2% of young employees in the U.S. want their parents to receive a copy of their performance review.” Two percent of young employees want an Adult Report Card sent home to mommy and daddy (likely because if they bring it to Chuck-E-Cheese they can get four tokens for every “Meets Expectations” on the review).

But the most painful and incomprehensible statistic comes near the end of the article: “A 2012 survey of more than 500 college graduates by Adecco, a human-resources organization, found that 8% of them had a parent accompany them to a job interview, and 3% had the parent sit in on the interview.”

One in 12 millennials had a parent accompany them to a job interview. Of those, almost half had the parent physically sit with them while the interview was being conducted. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.37%, so let’s hope this is all one statistical anomaly and that those 15 Americans are the only ones in America that would allow this. 

Listen, millennials: Don’t. Ever. Do. This.

I guess being 25 puts me at the older end of the millennial spectrum, so maybe my curmudgeon years are simply beginning a few decades early. But helicopter parents hovering over the cubicle seems terrible to me.

Fresh out of high school, community college, or university, you look young and inexperienced. You are young and inexperienced. You will need to prove yourself as a competent, capable co-worker and employee who is able to independently succeed. Will heavily involving your mother and/or father in your internship or entry-level job really assist you in proving your competence, or will it make you look young and incompetent? Does bringing your mother around the office (or, God forbid, the interview) make you look independent-minded or reliant on others?  

Just as important: Do you think your parents would rather micro-manage your internship, or enjoy watching their son or daughter independently learn, grow, and succeed? Some will want to continue to be helicopter parents, sure, but I’m guessing (hoping, really) most will likely want to see all of their hard work, dedication, and love pay off. And that involves letting go, at least a little.

Want to tell your dad about your day at work? Great! He’ll love to hear from you. Hoping to text your mom about a problem you’re having with your boss? She’ll probably love helping you through your issues.

Thinking about inviting your parents to your office to meet your boss? Think again. Please. If not for your reputation, then for the rest of us. 

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