Dear Claudia,

Has anyone else noticed an increase of resumes coming from the parents of out-of-work college graduates? I was shocked when I saw the first one a few months ago, but have seen several since; seriously, who would ever hire a person whose mommy chased down the interview for them? It seems to me that this is yet another example of the generation who will be sitting in the C-Suite when I’m in the rest home years from now. Is this is a taste of our future, and if so - what are we in for?

Call Me Scared

Dear Scared,

Annoying, isn’t it? I mean when the unemployment rate is higher than it has been in either of our lifetimes, and competition for jobs is unprecedented in most industries, what kind of sissy let’s his parents network on his behalf?

Two thoughts come to mind immediately regarding your question, my friend. First, never look a gift horse in the mouth. Great candidates show up in the strangest places, even in the form of unsolicited resumes from well-meaning moms and dads. Recruiting 101: Turn over every rock until you find the hire.

Second, get over your assumptions that the source of a resume determines the quality of the person it represents. Although there is some correlation between the two, it may serve you better to approach every candidate with a “three strikes you’re out” rule: one red flag, test your assumptions by looking for more supporting behaviors. Two red flags: explore it further to see if the behavior is an anomaly or a trend. Three red flags: Round file the candidate and move on.

In this case, it strikes you odd that a job seeker would look for a job through his parents. The implication is that the candidate isn't capable to do it himself, so stage-mommy steps in to make it happen. So investigate the red flag: if your assumption is true, what other behaviors are lurking there below the surface? Give him something to prepare in advance of an interview with you, and see who does the foot work. Build questions into the interview that explore his success with (and attitude toward) initiating, driving, and completing tasks. And if he passes that screen, build questions into the reference check that explore the same thing from the perspective of those (preferably not his parents) who have been in a position to observe.

Once you get past your own assumptions about where good candidates come from, you may find yourself making more placements. Who knows? Happy recruiting!


In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage quality in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

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Great response Claudia..

This line:

"seriously, who would ever hire a person whose mommy chased down the interview for them?"

Made me laugh and think " a recruiter getting upset about a resume arriving via a third party with a vested interest in the hire is kind of ironic".
I swore I wasn't going to talk about the "old days" anymore but just this one time and then NO MORE!

Here it goes.....some of the people who are now in the C-Suites running companies were coming in to my office for interviews with their Moms (& sometimes Dads) way back then. Some of them were great candidates and allowed mom or dad to come with them to be kind.....some just couldn't do it on their own. There were some stars and others were capable enough to do any of the jobs not needing stars. Some of them needed mom or dad to help them answer my questions and some were happy to be called into my office by themselves. I didn't find out where they fit until we interviewed.

There is no new trend going on and I don't thing we all have to be concerned for the future of the country. There have ALWAYS been over-protective (or just helpful) parents and there have always been the young adults who perhaps need a little too much help from mom & dad. You do the interview, assess the candidate - then either hire, refer or be helpful and provide advice for their next interview..

Don't assume anything. You never know what someone's story is.....and everyone has one.
Great comments one and all - thanks so much for adding your brilliance!

I strongly agree that assumptions get us into trouble every time. The "why" is always so much more interesting than the "what" in any story...
Baby boomers are the parents of the young adults in the work force today, up to the age of about 28 years old. Baby boomers made Generation Y all winners, and it started back when they had to compete to get into the "best" and most high yield day care or pre-school. Baby boomers HAD to be competitve when we started out because there were 100+ of us for every 1 job. And then it was a kill or be killed, claw your way to the top competition just to stay there. So it's no surprise that Mommy is sending in resumes and fielding the initial interview job search process for little Johnny and Susie. Plus, Johnny and Susie have closer ties to their baby boomer parents than any other generation before them, heck a lot of them still live at home, or receive some type of financial assistance from their parents, or depend on them for grocery shopping. It's just what it is. So once that shock of a relationship status is filtered out and we look at it for what it is, it's just another channel for a candidate to find us. It's not like Mommy and Daddy of past generations didn't try and pull some strings or influence a job search before, because they did. It's just more obvious now because of the relationship dynamic between Gen Y and parent boomer. Boy, Gen X sure got ripped off!
wow, Peter - you may have defined an entirely new brand of talent communities for us: Parents Who Want their Children to Get Jobs. I can see it groups, online Sudoku activities, coupon exchanges....
You might just be on to something. Run with it dear. Write a book on it. Get on Oprah. Become a star baby!!!!

Sandra McCartt said: dog, you have just given me a vision of the future of recruiting. If companies are fee resistant we can get mom and dad to pay the fee. Start a web site where for a nominal sum, mom and dad can post their kids resume and filter the responses. How about ?

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