Set up your kids for interview success — without overstepping boundaries.

Interviewing for a new job can be riddled with anxiety — and if you have children who are entering this phase of the job-search process, it’s only natural to want to help them succeed. However, there are certain lines that just shouldn’t be crossed. For instance, you definitely shouldn’t accompany your child on their job interview.

This might sound silly to all of you reading, but according to a recent study conducted by Morning Study for The New York Times, some parents are getting a tad over-involved in their adult children’s work lives.

The study found that nearly a quarter (22 percent) of parents wrote all or part of their child’s job application, while 11 percent have contacted their child’s employer to discuss issues at work.

This trend is being termed “snowplow parenting,” where parents clear away any possible obstacle in their child’s path. What is one of these obstacles? Easy: job interviews. While there are no official statistics about how many parents try to call in or join their adult children on their job interviews, social media sites like Facebook are goldmines of stories about parents overstepping their boundaries. Two stories popped out at us in particular:

“At my old job, I had a mother attend an interview with her son for his internship. I told her she could wait in the lobby while we interviewed him and she informed me that she was there to attend and assist in the interview. I told her NO and she, nor he were very happy about it. He bombed the interview and she called me and my boss to tell us that we should have allowed her to partake in the interview as it would have increased his chances. It was a bit of a weird situation but eventually she went away. I mean seriously.... she wanted to be part of the interview? Were we hiring her or her son? Was she going to come to work every day with him to make sure he did his work, or would she do it for him?” ‒‒ Mary Ann G.  

“As a recruiter I cannot tell you how many times adult applicants either want to conference their parents into the interview or ask me to call their parents to tell them more about the job. These are adults aged 21-26 mostly, but I’ve had a couple in their 40’s do the same thing.” ‒‒ Josie P.

How to prepare your children for interview success

While the “snowplowing” parenting technique might produce some short-term wins for your children, this isn’t a good strategy for their long-term career success. Eliminating obstacles from your child’s path, especially during the job search, will not only hinder their growth but can also backfire, as many employers will dismiss applicants whose parents appear to be over-involved in application or interview process. Instead, here are a few ways you can genuinely help your children ace their next job interview.

Help them dress for the part they want

Experts agree that everything from your clothing and grooming habits to hygiene and hairstyle can impact your chances of landing the job. Help your child make the right impression with prospective employers by purchasing them a new interview outfit that’s appropriate for the industry and type of company they’re pursuing. The following guides will help you and your son or daughter select the perfect pieces for their interview wardrobe.   

Arm them with questions for their interviewers

When our sister brand, TopResume, asked nearly 300 recruiters and employers about the most damaging job-search mistakes people make after college, “Asking too few or inappropriate questions during the interview” came in at number three. Help your child end their next interview in an impactful way by arming them with this list of questions to ask the hiring manager.

Hire a professional interview coach

When your kids were younger, did you hire a tutor or coach to help improve their academic or athletic performances? We know that everyone can benefit from the guidance of a professional. Whether your child is still relatively new to the workforce or is looking to get out of a job rut, working with an expert to perfect their interview skills can really make a difference.

Our customizable, one-on-one coaching sessions will allow your child to learn proven interview strategies and participate in various mock-interview scenarios, giving them the confidence to enter any interview situation that comes their way.

Set up your child for success — without overstepping your boundaries. Learn how our customizable interview coaching sessions can help your child interview with confidence.

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