Yes, HR Pros, Helicopter Parents Do Exist

Facebook discussion reveals what parents have done to try to get jobs for their adult children—and how HR professionals responded

By Beth Mirza Sep 26, 2017
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A lot of you thought we were making this one up: parents who "help" their adult children through the interview and hiring process. You thought for sure we'd gone way out on a limb—until other HR professionals started chiming in from around the country. The Big Four accounting firm that stopped fighting the trend and invited moms and dads in for a Parents Night. The hiring managers who have watched, astounded, as mothers fill out their grown children's job applications. The HR managers who have told parents that no, they will not negotiate their child's pay or benefits with them.

The conversation started with the "Ask the HR Expert" column in the September issue of HR Magazine. SHRM HR Knowledge Advisor Brenda Ortega, SHRM-CP, took on the topic of "How Can HR Deal with Parents Who Want To Be Involved in Their Adult Children's Jobs?" Ortega wrote that some employees are calling in mom and dad to haggle over their salary, or even sit in on disciplinary meetings:

"You may need to politely notify these deeply involved parents that they will need to communicate with their child directly about work issues rather than contacting the employer. It is perfectly legitimate for an organization to have a policy stating that staff will speak only to employees regarding job-related matters, including disciplinary actions. An exception may be for those under the age of 18."


Over on the SHRM Facebook page, more than a few of you were incredulous that this even was happening.

SHRM's Facebook followers were happy to oblige.

Several also rang in with options of what to do when confronted with an employee or applicant with parents in tow:

And some had words of advice for the parents:

Have an experience with employees' or applicants' parents you want to share? Join the 112 commenters and nearly 250 followers who have "liked" the post on the SHRM Facebook page

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