Gen Z Job Applicants Bringing Parents to Job Interviews

Gone are the days of Helicopter Parents, when parents hovered nervously over their children, swooping in at the first sign of distress. They have been replaced by the Snowplow Parents whose sole mission is to clear a path for their children, no matter the long-term harm it causes.

Case in point: A recent survey found that 26% of Gen Z job applicants will involve their parents in their interview process, like reading your cover letter or helping coach you for your interview. That's OK because you should get help from people who know more than you.

Of those applicants, 31% will have a parent accompany them to an in-person interview, while 29% have their parents join a virtual interview.

The parents don't just drive their kid to the interview and wait at a coffee shop or in the car. No, they join their kids in the actual interview and will often answer questions for them.

This is wrong, and the parents are wrong for doing it. Not only is it harmful to their child's personal growth and professional career, but hiring managers will not hire that kid because they brought their mommy with them.

But this is only the latest in the Snowplow Parenting trend. For the last several years, parents have been calling their child's boss to ask questions, complain about problems, or butt into their kid's career. If this trend keeps up, everyone's parents will be at the office, policing playground conflicts and butting into office relationships. And who knows what that's going to do to those kids' professional development, let alone their personal growth?

Grown man #1: Mommy, that big boy pushed me down and took my stapler!

Grown man #2: Nuh-uh! You told me I could borrow it. I just need it for a minute.

Mother: Now, now. You boys need to learn to share better. Why don't you take turns using the stapler? Cayden, if you can't share, I'm going to tell your mother. And Brayden, I'll take you home, and you'll miss story time.

Grown man #1: But that's the quarterly budget meeting! I really wanted to go to that!

This is clearly made up: no one ever wants to go to the quarterly budget meeting. But how far off are we from seeing this become a reality? How long before parents start calling each other about the problems their children are having at work?

Mom #1: Hello, Lesleigh? It's Haven Paisley-Everton, Jayden's mom. I wanted to talk to you about something Jayden told me that Preston did at work today.

Mom #2: Really? My Preston? What are you accusing my precious little boy of?

Mom #1: Well, Jayden told me during our family meditation time that your Preston has been bossing my son around, telling him he had to do certain tasks or else. He's been rather demanding and scary and said he would put Jayden in a time-out corner and make him miss snack time.

Mom #2: Haven, let me stop you right there. I've already spoken with Preston about this. He is the marketing director, and he's only asking Jayden to do the normal tasks that any graphic designer is supposed to do. But Jayden seems to spend most of his time talking with others and distracting the entire web team from their work.

Mom #1: Yes, but Jayden says Preston is very rude about it. He doesn't say 'please' or 'thank you,' and it hurts Jayden's feelings. I think you need to have a talk with Preston about it. Maybe sing the Please and Thank You Are Good Manners song a few times.

Mom #2: I spoke with my husband about this, and he said Jayden should just toughen up, and focus on getting his work done.

Mom #1: Oh, is that a fact? Maybe Preston might actually learn how to be sensitive to people's feelings if his father wasn't such an overbearing windbag!

Mom #2: Windbag? He's more of a role model than that dead-fish handshake you're married to. I've seen garden slugs with a stronger backbone.

Mom #1: That's it, you're out of the Mommy and Me Work Group. I'm telling Sloan Baker-Foster, and you'll be out before the Zoo For Two field trip.

Mom #2: Like hell you are! I'm telling my mother.

Gen Z parents, I know you love your kids, and you want them to do well. But they need to learn to be independent and live on their own. You need to let them fail. You need to let them bomb their job interviews by themselves.

It's only through failing that we learn anything. We look back at why we failed, we learn what we did wrong, and we take steps to avoid doing it again. That's the only way we get better.

If you keep snowplowing your way through their lives, the only thing your kid will learn is that they can't function without Mommy or Daddy to clear the way. Except they're not going to get anywhere if you keep going to their job interviews or calling their boss to complain.

And if you don't stop, I'm going to tell on you.

Photo credit: Snowking1 (Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.