Posted: by HRNasty in Job Interview Tips, Recent Graduate, What HR Really Thinks, What Recruiters Really Think

job search protocol

Job search protocol between the generations

Job Search Protocol, it matters

It’s funny how different generations view a number of topics, especially job search protocol.  Not having children (and don’t worry, with no interest) I have seen the differences first hand.  It’s true what they say about the millennial generation and their helicopter parents.  (Parents that hover and get too involved in the life decisions)  In the last couple of months, I have worked with a few recent grads and in both cases the parents were fairly involved.  When I would meet with the recent graduate looking to enter the work place, the parent would be there as well.  Nothing like practicing interview questions with mom right there taking notes.  I ask the classic interview question “so tell me about yourself” and mom starts to proudly answer on behalf of her first born.

I appreciate the show of support.  I don’t know whether to be envious because these parents show their love by giving brand new cars, or embarrassed for the recent graduate.  Regardless, it’s not any of my business, and I don’t have kids so have no room to judge.   I think both are right half the time, the question is, which half is right when?

I provide the following admitting that I have not funded 18 years of food, shelter, clothes and 4-5 years of college tuition.  I did not sit up at the appointed curfew hour waiting for the police to call, walk a dog that a son or daughter promised they would take care of, or explain the birds and the bees.  I do have enough flight hours with the Helicopter parent to be a certified pilot balanced with the fact that I watch a lot of Jersey Shore.  I know job search protocol.

Throughout the ages the different generations have held differing ideas on what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not.   Job search protocol is no different.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what is hipster  / cool to one generation is L-7 to another.  What is embarrassing from one lens is revolutionary shit to another.   I am a GenXer so I fall I between the BabyBoomer parent and the Gen Y/ Z recent applicant.   I currently work in a start up environment and worked in a Fortune company for my first 10 years.

My generational birthright provides a credible middle ground that will attempt to set the record straight for the two opposing generations when it comes to the job search protocol.  HRNasty, self-proclaimed, judge, jury and mediator.  The following are decisions provided (with the wave of a dismissive hand) to the questions that are repeatedly provided when parent and the son / daughter take court with HRNasty.

Mom and Dad, listen to your son and daughter on these points on job search protocol:   

  • “Mom and Dad, do not apply for any jobs on my behalf.   Do not come with me to the job fair or  interview, do not call my recruiter, and do not tell the company they should hire me, pay me more, or give me a bigger title.” 

Agree:  Unless your son or daughter is a 1st round draft pick and you are a professional sports agent this isn’t your battle.  You may have been able to get them a better grade from the professor, or more playing time in Little League, but you are only going to piss me off.   We are hiring your son/daughter and we want to hire someone that CAN MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS.  Unless you are going to be accompanying your kid to work everyday like you did in the kindergarten and are going to help them make business decisions, do your kid a favor and stay invisible in this process.  You can be involved, but don’t be heard and don’t be seen.  That Little League coach didn’t have a choice but to listen to you, that professor probably didn’t give a crap whether a student got an A or a B.  I have a choice and plenty of young candidates with no experience.

  • “It’s OK to text my recruiter.” 

Agree.  I provide my cell phone number and text is often times easier.  I want to be available to my customer (the candidate) and I want to make it as easy as possible to accept our position.  Skype, Twitter, FB, and LinkedIn also acceptable.  PS.  I always check my phone, I check my email everyday.  I don’t go to my social network everyday.

  • “It’s OK to look for a job on Craigslist.” 

Agree.  A lot of parents cringe when they hear their son or daughter they just put through school for $50-200K is looking for a job on Craigslist.  I can post a position on Craigslist for 25.00.  Monster and LinkedIn will cost me $100.00’s.  It’s the first place I post 90% of our positions.

  • “It’s OK to turn down a high paying  tech job.”

Agree.  I realize it is tough to understand that you son or daughter is not only going to make this much right out of school but to add more insult, they are thinking about TURNING IT DOWN!  If you are in the right industry, the market is good.  I can’t believe it either.  At this level of comp, I am hoping for some life experience and maturity (which at this age, just isn’t that possible) but it’s a great market for specific technical positions in industries.  If your resume lists a Tier 1 college, high GPA, and a perfect test scores, yes, the market can be good.

  • “There are no jobs listed in the newspaper.”

Agree.  The newspaper is a dead to me.  I don’t remember the last time I posted a position in a newspaper.  Everything is online.  Craigslist is cheaper and most young people are very familiar with this website.  I am a hunter.  I go to where the hunt is.  I don’t ask the hunt to come to me.

  • “It’s OK to wear jeans to an interview.”

I will agree, it is “OK”.  My disclaimer:  Even if the jeans are $200.00, I don’t think you are putting your best foot forward.  $40.00 khaki’s can make a better impression.  Slacks with a button down dress shirt even better.  Most hiring managers will sense a fool if you think spending $200.00 on a pair of jeans is cool, sensible, or both.

Parents, keep harping your son or daughter on these job search protocol points: 

  • “Send thank you cards and send them the same day you interview.”

Agree.  The hiring managers are usually a few generations older than the applicant and although OldSkool, these are a nice touch.  Just make sure you write more than 3-4 sentences.

  • “Shouldn’t you be practicing the answers to the interview questions?”

Agreed.  You should be able to recite your answers when you stumble in at 2:00 AM after a long night of drinking.  You need to know these!

  • “Please don’t get a tattoo”

Agree:  Now is not the time to be getting a tattoo.  If you insist, make sure there is absolutely no chance they will be seen in work clothes or less casual company picnic attire.

  • “Get a haircut”.   

Agree:  Seriously, get a haircut.

  • “Save money for a couple of interview outfits”.

Invest in your image.   Who am I kidding, these parents already took the kids shopping.  Make sure the stuff is ironed.

  •  “Polish your shoes”. 

Agree:  If your shoes don’t take polish, they are the wrong shoes for an interview.  As much as I am hiring you for your mind, I give the nod to Mom and Dad here.  I want to have confidence that you can impress our customers.

Hopefully this will settle a few of the battles of the ages around job search protocol.  Have any other generational differences that you want to gather around the soapbox on?

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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  • Santa

    I did go to one interview with my son, he graduated from high school in 2000. He interviewed with the Navy, I wanted to make sure he signed nothing until we could review the promises and innuendos. He went to a private college instead of Navy. The academic scholarship was more than the Navy promised and in May 2004 he had his degree and free to go as he pleased. I did call and get him a job the summer between 2nd and third year of college, he was home for 3 days and had not lined up a job, he washed windows for three months, hence he never again gave me opportunity to find him a job. Upon graduation from college he found his own job and went to his own interviews. Seems to be doing well, has never ask me for money or a place to live since graduation, over 9 years now.
    I interview and hire field engineers. If you show up with your mother and she answers my questions correctly she will get the job and you will be left in her basement eating Cheeze Puffs.

    • Santa,
      I love your story and your last line. I couldn’t have said it better. Will have to make you an honorary NastySanta! I completely see where you are coming from when you went with your son to make sure he DID NOT sign anything with the military. I have nothing against the military, and admire those that protect our freedom, but I understand where the parent in you is coming from.

      Love your Cheeze Puffs attitude!!!

      Heading to the Clearwater next week!

  • Allison

    Can you elaborate a little on “get a haircut”? Are you just saying people should get a trim to look their best, or does hair need to be cut short to look more professional and mature?

    don’t assume hyperbole on my part here, I’m not insisting that people with waist-length hair full of split ends don’t need a visit to the salon, or that all cuts, styles, and colors are equally professional, but there seems to be a debate over what hair lengths are considered professional, especially for women, so I wanted to know if you had any opinion beyond “get a haircut.”

    Also, what do you think about suede shoes? I don’t mean suede *sneakers* here. Most of my work shoes are made of suede, since I’m not generally a fan of patent leather, but I’ve always thought the styles and colors have been fairly work appropriate for the most part, especially the 4″ black heels. Are shoes made of polishable material really the only acceptable kind for interviews?