In the midst of confirmation research for a workshop on interview preparation, a paragraph knocks me to the floor. The author lists seven deadly sins to avoid during an interview. Nodding as I ingest each idea, I’m lulled to pride checking her list against mine. Yes! Absolutely! Couldn’t agree more!

Rounding the corner on number #6 “Do not forget to listen,” I feel myself nod and say out loud to my computer screen “Oh yeah, listening is key, communication is a two way medium,” and wondering “Do kids who spend so much of their communication time texting really get good practice at liste-” 

I’m stopped cold, my eyes frozen on the 7th interviewing sin, the  “DEADLIEST sin of all.”

Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, The Seven Deadly Sins, image from Wikipedia with m’copter added.

“Do not bring your parents!  They should remain ‘of counsel’ and in the shadows.” (Koplik).  The author continues to explain how having your parents at an interview is highly inappropriate and that if this happens, the candidate will be “perceived as high-maintenance and unable to think on (his) own.”

Really?  It’s come to that?  We actually need to explicitly tell young adults NOT to bring their parents to the interview?

My head spins.  As a former college professor, I’ve personally received calls from parents, heard plenty of stories about parents phoning deans and admissions officers (even at the graduate school  level).  And, I was aware that some parents nudged themselves into negotiations with employers. But, in the interview itself?  I’m still trying to imagine how that might go …

“Ashley, sweetie, tell this sharp witted interviewer how you helped your team write that ‘A+ rated’ research paper on ‘Developing Independence.’  You know, the one where Michael’s dad had his research assistant share notes with my secretary and you blew the other teams away with the depth of understanding of Jungian origins.”

Ashley nods toward her mom, breathes deep and addresses the interviewer, “Mom’s really proud of the research I did on that one … my professor said he’s never seen such a thorough research job.”

“And you should see how well organized her paper is, how clear and concise the writing … I keep a copy in her portfolio, let me dig it out.”

Please tell me you don’t see yourself in this example. But if you do – it’s time for an intervention. This is a ‘copter sin. You need immediate ‘copter detoxing. Tell your child emphatically that you will never attend an interview again – go ahead and blame it on me and the author of that book, we can handle the blowback – tell your child that the nitwit who wrote the book, and the crazy lady talking about it, both agree that your presence in the interview will paint him in an entirely inappropriate light. (And, that’s putting it nicely.)

I’m a helicopter parent in recovery (and I’ve never, ever, ever interfered with a job interview. I’m not a saint but I’m no ‘copter sinner).