Last August I posted about parents not doing their childrens’ bidding. It is nothing new. As long as I have been recruiting, well meaning parents have contacted me on behalf of their children, usually to help them get jobs or internships. I always tell them that if their children are really interested, they should call or email me themselves to set up an appointment. Most do. Some do not. But that is as much as I ever deal with the parents. They generally get it and defer to their son or daughter.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted on one of the social network sites to "friend" someone. The person was a retired client of mine. We had lost touch years ago. Her friend invitation came as a surprise, but I was happy to hear from her and “friended” her immediately. Little did I realize she had an ulterior motive.
Several emails later she asked me to see her son. As I always do, I told her to have him contact me. I automatically assumed he was a recent graduate. I was wrong. I received a nice email and résumé from him. I was surprised to learn that he was in his late twenties or early thirties and had been in the business for a while. OK, I thought, so his mother is being aggressive. No matter.
Then, three days before our appointment, he emailed and apologized for the need to change the date because of a conflict. Not a problem; it happens all the time. We arranged a new appointment.
That same evening I received a lengthy email from the mother. She went into detail asking to change the appointment (obviously not knowing that it was already handled). She explained the agony her son went through because he was committed to seeing me, but this other company could only see him at the very time of our interview. And so on.
Frankly, I was taken aback. An email from a mother like this was a first. Once contact is made with the son or daughter, I never hear from the parent, except an occasional thank you email. But then I remembered Marion Salzman’s wonderful 60 Minutes interview in which she talked about the millennials and how their parents do much of their dirty work (if you go to the link, stay to the end).
I wrote back to the mother and suggested, as tactfully as I could, that her son was a grownup and it was not appropriate for her to interfere. I assumed that was the end. Instead, she responded to me that she was just trying to make sure I understood and, in essence, did not hold the cancellation against her son. She went into great detail. I didn't respond. Oh, boy!
By the way, the son, on his own, seemed perfectly OK, but the question is, how do I evaluate him? If his mother would do this to me, what might she do with him at work? Is this amusing, sad or just something to be ignored?