Recruiters, hiring managers, and bosses are noticing an uptick in “helicopter parents” at the workplace, applying for jobs and resolving workplace conflicts on their children’s behalf.
- So-called “helicopter parents,” a name given to over-protective or over-involved parents, are descending on the workplace and involving themselves in their children’s professional lives.
- Since the pandemic, recruiters and hiring managers have reported increased parental involvement in the hiring process, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- In some cases, parents are applying for jobs or calling hiring managers for their children. Some parents have even shown up at the workplace to resolve conflicts.
Why it’s news
Parents involving themselves in their children’s professional lives are generally attempting to help their child succeed, but human resource professionals say that a parent involving themselves in the workplace environment is usually looked at negatively.
When parents send in resumes or fill out job applications for their children, hiring managers can get the impression that the applicant is unmotivated or too dependent on outside help.
As teens and young adults apply for summer jobs at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont, human-resources coordinator Sam McDowell says he has seen an increase in parents filling out applications and even some showing up to the job interview with their child.
“They generally come in the door first, and their children come behind,” McDowell says. “Sometimes it’s a little bit confusing about who’s actually there to interview.”
McDowell says that most of his hiring managers do not allow the parents to stay for the interview process, but a few occasionally do. At least on one occasion, McDowell says that the mother of a teenage lifeguard confronted him about giving her son a raise.
But the phenomenon is not just affecting teens looking for summer jobs. United Airlines human resources and labor relations executive Kate Gebo says that she has also seen a growing number of parents filling out applications for their children.
“Parents are really interested in their kids applying,” she says. “I need the kid interested.”
Hiring managers have experienced an increase in parental involvement since the pandemic. While the world was shut down, many children did not have the same opportunities to learn life skills, such as interacting professionally, which may account for the extra guidance from parents, The Wall Street Journal reports.
With more employees working or interviewing remotely and an increased number of young workers living with their parents, there are more opportunities for parents to get involved in their children’s professional lives. Zionsville recruiter and career coach Shawna Lake says she has seen parents in the background of Zoom interviews or sometimes heard an off-screen parent suggest questions their child should ask.
Sometimes, parents even get involved in the salary negotiations, Lake says. She has had candidates call and turn down offers by saying, “My mom doesn’t think it’s a good idea.”
Some younger workers say that their parent’s involvement in their professional careers is a valuable asset. One 25-year-old undergraduate told The Wall Street Journal that his mother helped him apply for internships. After applying for hundreds of programs, Malik Willimas says his mother’s help was an encouragement. He eventually found a position on his own.
Human resources worker Kylie Bayer says she empathizes with parents who want to help their children but feels that they are not helping them in the long run.
“Let them deal with it on their own,” she says. “They’re going to have to do it all their life.”