Job interview tip: Don't bring mom

May 27, 2011 at 7:46 AM ET

It’s college graduation season, which means many young hopefuls are out there trying to snag their first real job.

Here’s a little piece of advice, courtesy of some managers who have apparently seen it all: Don’t let Mom and Dad be part of the process.

A recent survey of managers, conducted by the temp service OfficeTeam, found that managers have witnessed everything from a parent who wanted to sit in on an interview to one who called afterward to find out why their offspring didn’t get the job.

We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that these techniques didn’t necessarily work out so well for the candidate.

Of course parents want to help their kids get the right start in life, and experts say Mom and Dad can and should talk to their kids about career goals, resume writing and interview etiquette. But they should draw the line at things like attending job interviews, negotiating salaries or pressuring pals to give their kids a job.

“It’s important for the teen or young adult to find her own job. If a parent stays out of it, kids learn the difficulty of finding a job, an important discovery," Susan Smith Kuczmarski, author of “The Sacred Flight of the Teenager: A Parent’s Guide to Stepping Back and Letting Go," told career columnist Eve Tahmincioglu in a story on this subject last year.

Here’s what some of the managers said when they were asked about unusual parental behavior.

  • "One parent wanted to sit in during the interview."
  • "A parent called a politician to push me to hire his son."
  • "A mother submitted her daughter's resume on her behalf."
  • "A parent called during the interview to try to push me to hire her daughter."
  • "A parent came by my desk and told me that he expected his daughter to get preference for a position since he was a manager at the company."
  • "A parent called to find out why we did not hire her son and why we felt he was not qualified."

The OfficeTeam survey is based on interviews with more than 1,300 senior managers in the U.S. and Canada, conducted earlier this year.

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