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Would you take your parent to an interview?

Wednesday, 05 September 2018

A recent survey from the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library, has found that 55.2% of 18-34 year olds have relied on their parents for help with job applications. Alongside this 57% of them have admitted that their parents helped to write their CV.

The trend has been dubbed ‘helicopter parenting’. The term encompasses parents who are viewed as taking an overly excessive interest in their children’s lives. The research found that job hunters are more reliant on their parents’ help throughout their careers than ever before.

Should parents be involved?

Mothers and fathers will always want to be involved in their children’s lives. And this holds true right through to their careers. Despite this, the majority of UK workers (72.1%) think that parents should not get involved in their child’s career. A further 84.9% believe that it’s unprofessional for employees to involve their parents in their working lives.

The overall consensus seems to be that, when it comes to their professional lives, parents shouldn’t get overbearingly involved. However, 45.6% of employees aged 18-34 think it is acceptable, followed by 30.7% of 35-44 year olds.

Is this a bad thing?

When queried, 16.7% of 18-34 year olds admitted that they have had their parents call in sick to work on their behalf. A further 7.4% have even relied on their parents to deal with their boss for them.

This is troubling. While parents will always want to help out where they can, it becomes an issue the moment they cross the line and become overly engaged in their child’s career. There are many pitfalls that can come as a consequence of this ‘helicopter parenting’.

Instead, candidates should be looking to strive into the world of work alone. In doing so they will come across as more mature, self-sufficient and professional to prospective employers. Being overly involved in their child’s career is likely to have more of a negative impact than positive.

What does this mean to recruiters?

For recruiters, this poses an interesting situation. The younger workforce are becoming more and more reliant on parental guidance. So, should employers accommodate this?

With 45.1% of 18-34 year olds believing that allowances should be made for candidates who bring their parents along to an interview, where should parental involvement end? The recruitment process is already changing for the new generation, and parental involvement seems to be just one more cog in the new recruiting machine.

That said, it is important that recruiters set up clear boundaries between personal and professional lives. Parents have a lot to offer their children in regards to their career, but this should always remain a more detached, hands-off, association. The challenge for recruiters now is to ensure that their employees keep their work/life balance in order, and do not let parental influences enter into the workplace.

Parent trap

As already stated, mothers and fathers are always going to want to do right by their child. With that in mind they will always want to help where they can, and this holds true for their child’s professional careers as well.

The crucial point here is balance. Parents need to ensure that they do not becoming actively involved in their child’s work life. Advice is always welcome, but at some point the new generation of workers need to take flight by themselves and enter the professional world on their own two feet.


by Alex Stevens


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