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Posted October 12, 2016 by

Ask Matt: Recent college grads shouldn’t let helicopter parents hinder their job search

Helicopter parents in the job search; Tips for recent college grads

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Dear Matt: I’m responsible for hiring entry-level employees for a large company, and I am amazed at how many recent college grads have their parents reaching out to us on behalf of their children – they even show up at interviews! I thought helicopter parents were only involved at the youth and high school level. But we’re now seeing it in the business world. Can you remind your readers and all recent college grads that parental involvement shouldn’t take place in the workplace?

Matt: By one definition, a helicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are also prevalent at the youth and high school level, often hovering over their children and every decision involving those children at youth or high school activities, in school, or with friends.

And now, helicopter parents are invading the workplace. Yikes! It’s true.

“Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing a surprising influx of parental involvement in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing process,” says Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. “As a staffing firm, we’ve heard our share of helicopter parent stories and experienced some unique situations with moms and dads ourselves.”

Today’s working parent can be a great resource for that recent college grad seeking job search advice, or with connecting them to members of their professional network. But they shouldn’t accompany their child to job interviews, contact employers on behalf of their child, or listen in on speaker phone or Skype/Facetime during the interview. Those are all things that are happening today and all things recent college grads should be sure to avoid to land that first job, or move forward in their career.

According to a survey of 608 senior managers by Office Team, 35 percent of senior managers interviewed said they find it annoying when helicopter parents are involved in their kids’ search for work. Another one-third (34 percent) of respondents prefer mom and dad stay out of the job hunt, but would let it slide. Only 29 percent said this parental guidance is not a problem.

The reasons for mom and dad getting involved are simple, says Britton: Recent college grads may not have as much job search experience and therefore turn to their parents for guidance.

“The job search process can be extremely challenging and daunting,” says Britton. “Parental support and advice throughout the process can help you stay positive and on track.”

But…

“Although most parents mean well with their efforts, they need to know where to draw the line to avoid hurting their son or daughter’s chances of securing a job,” says Britton

Managers were also asked to recount the most unusual or surprising behavior they’ve heard of or seen from helicopter parents of job seekers. Here are some of their responses:

  • “The candidate opened his laptop and had his mother Skype in for the interview.”
  • “A woman brought a cake to try to convince us to hire her daughter.”
  • “One parent asked if she could do the interview for her child because he had somewhere else to be.”
  • “A father asked us to pay his son a higher salary.”
  • “One mom knocked on the office door during an interview and asked if she could sit in.”
  • “Parents have arrived with their child’s resume and tried to convince us to hire him or her.”
  • “A job seeker was texting his parent the questions I was asking during the interview and waiting for a response.”
  • “Once a father called us pretending he was from the candidate’s previous company and offered praise for his son.”
  • “Parents have followed up to ask how their child’s interview went.”
  • “A father started filling out a job application on behalf of his kid.”
  • “I had one mother call and set up an interview for her son.”
  • “Moms and dads have called to ask why their child didn’t get hired.”

When it comes to parental involvement in the job search, Britton provided the five biggest mistakes college grads make when involving parents in the job search:

  1. Parents should avoid direct contact with potential employers. They should not participate in interviews or call, email or visit companies on behalf of their children.
  2. Job seekers should be the ones filling out the applications and submitting resumes, not their parents.
  3. Helicopter parents should steer clear of involvement in following up after their child has applied or interviewed for a position.
  4. Having your mom or dad try to bribe a potential employer is a definite no-no. In our survey, one woman brought a cake to a company to try to convince them to hire her daughter.
  5. Parents shouldn’t be involved in job offer discussions, such as negotiating salary or benefits.

“Parents should absolutely not be included in their children’s job interviews,” says Britton. “The meeting is meant to be a discussion involving only the interviewer(s) and job candidate. “Parents participating in interviews can distract from the goal of making sure it’s a fit for the applicant and employer. The employer is evaluating whether to hire the applicant — not his or her parent.”

Employers usually appreciate candidates who are assertive, but when a parent is clearly handholding or answering questions for their child, it sends the message that the individual lacks initiative and independence, adds Britton.

Does this automatically eliminate a candidate?

“Not all employers will automatically take a candidate out of contention if his or her parents become too involved in the job search, but chances are that most hiring managers would be put off by this type of behavior,” says Britton. “Parents who become overly involved in their children’s job searches can cause more harm than good because employers may question the applicant’s abilities and maturity.”

Professionals need to take ownership of their careers – they’re responsible for applying to and ultimately landing positions. So how can parents assist recent college grads in the job search? Britton offered these additional tips on how parents can assist recent college grads in the job search:

  1. Uncovering hidden job opportunities: Family members and others in your network can be great sources for advice and help you uncover hidden job opportunities.
  2. Job search and interview preparation: It’s perfectly fine to tap your parents for behind-the-scenes assistance, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts.
  3. Access to professional contacts: Parents or those in their network can provide access to contacts at companies or alert you to opportunities.
  4. Resume and cover letter review: Have your mom or dad review your resume and cover letter to ensure they’re error-free and clearly showcase the most important information.
  5. Mock interview assistance: Prepare for interviews by practicing responses to common (and tricky) questions with your parents. They can also provide constructive criticism regarding your answers and delivery.
  6. Decision-making: Juggling a few offers? Children may want to get their parents’ opinions when weighing potential opportunities. But ultimately, it’s the job seekers decision, not the parents.

“Parents want the best for their kids, but being overly involved in a child’s job search can cause more harm than good,” says Britton. “It’s a positive for mom and dad to help behind the scenes by reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews and offering networking contacts. However, ultimately, companies seek employees who display self-sufficiency and maturity.”

Want more tips and advice on how to successfully navigate the job search? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Matt Krumrie

Matt Krumrie

About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.

Posted March 01, 2016 by

Keeping it old school on social media

Even in the digital age, there’s something warm and fuzzy about throwing it back to the good old days and keeping it old school when using social media. Maybe this seems ironic, but it makes a lot of sense; whether you’re searching for jobs, networking professionally, or connecting with friends, it helps to apply the same communication skills you use when interacting face to face to your online communication via social media. Recruiters and talent acquisition leaders—your future bosses—are looking for employees who exhibit great communication skills. If you can apply the following five tips to your use of social media, you’ll definitely improve your odds of landing internships and entry-level jobs.

This Tuesday Tip video, featuring Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers five suggestions for college students and recent grads for using social media old school style.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. If you can’t show Grandma, don’t show anybody.

When using social media platforms, particularly platforms which are image-heavy like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, avoid posting photos (or posting comments or status updates) containing images or words you wouldn’t show or share with your grandma. If your grandma is a hipster, this rule doesn’t apply to you. Think about the stereotypical grandma who might be offended at the notion of seeing her grandson’s photos of a wild party. That’s the grandma we’re referencing here.

If that mild-mannered, conservative grandma wouldn’t want to see it or read about it, chances are your potential employers don’t want to see it or read about it either. So don’t share it on social media. Remember that just because you think you have your privacy settings locked down doesn’t mean they’re truly secure. Your friends can always tag you in photos. Facebook is publicly traded. And your friends and contacts can also take screen shots of what you post before you realize you need to delete the scandalous content. So play it safe and follow the grandma rule, particularly prior to and during your job search.

2. No phones allowed.

If you’re a traditional college student, your parents can probably tell you lots of stories about what it was like to attend parties and other college functions sans cell phones. Most wild college functions were never documented; the only records that exist of the crazy things that happened at sorority houses in the 80s and 90s live in the memories of the people who attended.

Take notes from the old folks on this one. The benefit to turning off your cell phones at the door of functions with your friends is that you won’t wind up posting any scandalous photos on social media, only to regret those posts later. It might seem fun to share the photos now, but when you begin searching for a job or internship, and employers Google you and find said photos, you’ll wish you’d followed the “no phones allowed” rule once in a while. You might want to suggest to your friends that they follow suit and turn off their phones, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that you have more fun when you aren’t worried about taking selfies or being caught doing something silly.

3. Pay attention; you’re creating a brand.

When sharing, posting, liking, or communicating in any way with your contacts on social media, remember that you’re creating a brand for yourself. As The Police so aptly put it, “I’ll be watching you.” Your contacts—particularly recruiters and potential employers—are watching you. People often pay more attention to your online activity than what you might think. Be sure that you mindfully interact online and treat others with courtesy and kindness. Portray the image of yourself you want others to see. Brand yourself intentionally because if you don’t, you’re still creating a brand; it will just be a personal brand you’ve created haphazardly.

When you interact through social media, commenting thoughtfully on photos and status updates also lets your contacts know that you care about their content. This helps build genuine relationships. This is another way to apply old school communication principles to your online interactions.

4. Request a meeting with professional contacts.

After you’ve interacted with a professional contact online for a while, don’t be afraid to make the suggestion that you meet face to face, to ask for your contact’s phone number, or to request a Skype visit. Taking the next step toward more personal face-to-face interaction is always preferable because it gives you the opportunity to get to know your contact better. Professionals—whether employers or mentors—understand that you are networking in order to gain understanding about your career field and to seek job opportunities. Make your intentions clear when requesting a visit. If you are attempting to learn more about the career field, tell your contact that. If you want to learn about the company your contact works for, state that when you request to meet for coffee.

Most people are open to this type of request if they have time in their schedules. Even if they can’t meet face to face, they can often visit over the phone or online. Moving from social media, like Facebook messaging or direct messaging on Twitter, to a phone call, is a positive step toward building a lasting professional relationship.

5. “As offline, so online.”

This tip comes straight from marketing guru Samantha Hartley, owner of Enlightened Marketing. In the world of social media and electronic communication, people tend to interact more abruptly and to leave their manners at the door. This is a major faux pas if you want to maintain healthy professional relationships with your friends, professional contacts, and coworkers (and land jobs in the future).

Remember that when interacting on social media and through email, it’s just as important to treat people with courtesy, respect, and kindness as it is offline (face to face). As offline, so online.

For more Tuesday Tips and suggestions about using social media effectively in your job search, follow our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Posted September 03, 2015 by

5 Important Steps to Follow along with When You’re Obtaining a New Job

jobs red word and arrow on stair up to open conceptual door with view to sky and field on white background

Jobs red word and arrow on stair up to open conceptual door with view to sky and field on white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Summary: There are 5 key areas in the job search – which include promoting yourself together with reference letters and developing a powerful professional brand – that will help you find jobs fast.

There are 5 basic steps in a job search. How you perform in most of these areas will determine the speed and also ease with you land a brand new job. Failing to boost your performance for all of these steps can dramatically lower your chances of finding work in just a reasonable time body. (more…)

Posted April 09, 2015 by

Jump Start Your Personal Brand with Graduation Announcements

Catherine Carol Lott photo

Catherine Carol Lott

As an upcoming or recent graduate, if you’re not already working on your personal brand, now is the time to get started. Why? Because your graduation announcement is the perfect time to broadcast your introduction into the workforce while carving out your professional niche. (more…)

Posted March 27, 2015 by

How a Radiology Degree can Help Jumpstart Your Medical Career

Closeup portrait of intellectual woman healthcare personnel with white labcoat, looking at full body x-ray radiographic image, ct scan, mri, isolated hospital clinic background. Radiology department

Closeup portrait of intellectual woman healthcare personnel with white labcoat, looking at full body x-ray radiographic image, ct scan, mri, isolated hospital clinic background. Radiology department. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Health care professionals enjoy many benefits of steady income, job security, job satisfaction, etc. Obviously, it is everyone’s desire to get into this field of study. Many, however, face a challenge due to stiff competition, limited financial resources, and restrictive admissions. One easy way to jumpstart your medical career is to get admission to a bachelor’s degree program in radiology and become radiological technician. With experience, and gained practical knowledge, and professional contacts, it will be easier to become radiologist for a brighter future. (more…)

Posted July 14, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, Searching for Jobs on LinkedIn? 7 Ways to Help Your Network Grow

Recent college graduates who are searching for jobs on LinkedIn should focus on connecting with people.  Learn seven ways to help your network grow in the following post.

If your business needs are like mine in that you need a wide network with robust search results, here’s my advice for growing your LinkedIn network. You can use these tips to become an open networker or scale it back a bit to simply grow your network in a more

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Posted March 24, 2014 by

Internship Finder, Don’t Forget to Follow Up with Previous Coordinators

As an internship finder, you might think that once this experience is over that it’s not necessary to stay in touch with the person who coordinated your internship.  However, in the following post, find out why it is a good idea to continue communication with any previous internship coordinators.

Featured: Featured If you’ve heard me speak before, you know my rule on staying in touch with professional contacts. You stay in touch with all of your professional contacts, past internship coordinators, past employers, and past co-workers three times per year! At my presentations I dance around the stage screaming this from the

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