I gave an interview recently to the Boston Business Journal on the subject of helicopter parents in the workplace. You can check out what I said here, but I thought I'd also paste in some interesting statistics cited in the article:
According to nearly 25 percent of the 750 employers responding to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute's 2007 Recruiting Trends survey, parents are indeed taking on more than their share of their kids' job searches. Forty-one percent gather materials from prospective employers.
Thirty-one percent submit rÃ©sumÃ©s on behalf of their children. Twenty-six percent actively promote their kids for positions -- and 4 percent actually attend job interviews.
"Some parents even aggressively court companies to hire their college senior and will even berate human resources staff for not making their son or daughter an offer," said report author Phil Gardner of Michigan State University, which houses the institute. Some even assist with work assignments once the student does get hired, he added.
But Stephen Seaward, director of career development at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn., said employers are having a nightmare with helicopter parents. He said he has heard of instances of parents calling employers to negotiate salaries, or to ask why their kid didn't get the job.
"Meanwhile," Seward said, "the employer is thinking, 'Can this student handle himself if they have to have someone do this for them? How will I ever be able to use this person to interact with customers?' It does not create a favorable impression."
I'll second that. As I told CNN in an interview a few weeks back:
Employers have gotten used to this, but at the same time, they're wondering, "Who's this person going to be in ten years? Are their parents still going to be this involved? How are we going to promote these people? How are we going to turn them into leaders?" It's a big challenge.
You'll hear employers (like those quoted in the Boston Business Journal article) saying how much they welcome parental involvement in the job search process, but they have to say that because they don't have a whole lot of choice right now. There's a lot of eye-rolling behind the scenes, and parents don't realize how much they are embarrassing their adult children in the workplace and stunting their growth. It's a bit pathetic that these parents just... can't... let... go.
On a related note, in the "I thought I had heard it all" file: a newlywed couple reporting that one set of parents accompanied them on their honeymoon -- and felt entitled to because they were picking up the tab. Have they no shame?
More on helicopter parents here.