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Parents attending their child’s job interview? As a manager, I’m all for it!

<span>Bringing your parents to a job interview may not be the worst thing imaginable.</span><span>Photograph: skynesher/Getty Images</span>
Bringing your parents to a job interview may not be the worst thing imaginable.Photograph: skynesher/Getty Images

Many have thrown up their hands in horror at news that one in four of gen-Z job applicants – those aged between 18 and 27 – have admitted to bringing a parent to their job interview, according to a recent survey.

What a bunch of snowflakes! These are people old enough to vote and join the military and see R-rated movies and even live independently. And what! They can’t go on a job interview without bringing along their mommy and daddy?

Well, I love it. Let’s embrace these parents. Invite them in. Give them coffee. Encourage their participation. Why? Because a parent can reveal a lot.

What if the parents don’t show up to the interview, or arrive late? What if they display a lack of respect or treat the interviewer – or even each other – disdainfully? Conversely, interviewing a mom or dad who is genuinely honest, caring and supportive would tell me something. Showing a willingness to share both the strengths and faults of their child could give me insights I never would’ve discovered without them. Hearing about their family backgrounds, health issues and jobs would help me determine if their child comes from good stock and a strong support system.

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I could also use the interview with the candidate’s parents to ask questions like “Why do you think your child would make a good candidate for this job?” and “When was the last time they were punished and for what?” I could dig deeper into whether or not the child hangs out with the right crowd, what TV shows they like, what celebrities they admire, how they treat their siblings as well as other family matters. I can ask personal questions about their boyfriends and girlfriends and activities in their spare time and whether or not they have health issues or an arrest record or extreme views on topics.

Am I crossing the boundaries as to what’s appropriate – or legal – to ask in a job interview? Hell no! I’m not really interviewing the gen Zer. I’m instead interviewing the parents! They’re not the ones applying for the job so I’m not at risk of being sued by or fined or violating any statute. The world’s my oyster.

And, as a parent, I also know this: many parents can be a lot more honest than you might think. Just dig a little into the last time their “perfect” child threw that party when they were out of town. Or ignored their pleas to mow the lawn. Or drank directly out of the milk carton after being told not to. Or shoplifted with their friends at the corner grocery store. A good interviewer, with a few winks and nods, can draw out this information from an unsuspecting parent. There’s no argument that parents love their children. But you know what they love even more? Complaining about their children. As a hiring manager, you want to hear these complaints to get a more honest picture of who this kid really is and whether or not they’ll be a good employee.

Besides, isn’t society demanding that parents take more responsibility for their kids’ actions? Many are warning about a “wave of legal consequences” for parents who don’t take responsibility for their kids’ behavior. So in a way, we’re actually protecting the parents by having them step up and do what’s right. And they’re helping us to not make the wrong decision by hiring their lazy son or daughter. Win, win.

So come on in, parents! Join the interview! We’ll nibble on biscuits. We’ll have a chit-chat. We’ll really find out what’s going on at home. You’ve got a lot of stories to tell about this prospective job candidate and I am all ears.