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How parents can turn the Christmas experience into interview training

Christmas Interview training

Kids that were not prepared for the big interview with the CEO of Christmas

Season of Birth Control

As we move into the Holiday season, I find I really enjoy this time of year. I am able to break out my heavy sweaters and overcoats that I only have the opportunity to sport in the coldest of weather.  The chilly weather sets the mood for some of my favorite foods including Ox Tail Stew and Beef Bourguignon with homemade pasta. But my favorite part of the Holiday season is I am reminded exactly why I chose very early on not to have any children.

I think if there were a time of year that would be called the season of Birth Control, the holiday season would be it. This is especially true for someone who makes his living managing expectations in the corporate environment. I really can’t complain, it’s job security after all.

2 questions from a guy with no kids

Kids hopped up on holiday candy and screaming like spoiled brats after seeing TV commercials for this season’s toys is too much greed for me. The fighting that results from the perceived value of gifts unfairly gifted to siblings makes me want to bring the Grinch who stole Christmas back from Whoville.  All of this is enough to make me ask two questions:

  1. How do parents do this for 25 years till the kids move out of the home?
  2. Why would I even think about going to Target between now and January 1?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, HRNasty doesn’t care for the wee ones. 

  • Crumb Snatchers think crying and screaming are the new form of barter. (I will stop crying and screaming when you give me what I want). 
  • The PeeWees have no sense of reality. “You want WHAT????”

In an era where a kid will (not can, WILL) receive a trophy for just showing up, I would be setting the family dynamic up for failure. As much as I think it would be good to have a junior HRNasty to take fishing, a kid running around screaming “You’re fired!” in the copycat fashion of the parent, doesn’t look good in public. My form of love harkens back to “This hurts me a lot more than it hurts you” days.  

Observational Research

I have a couple of close friends with little precocious monsters and watching them go through another holiday season forces me to question the future of America. There are plenty who feel I am insensitive, and that I do not believe in humanity. They would be absolutely correct, but I lay before you my hypothesis based on simple observation. I see young minds trying to enter the workforce every day. Graduates are failing because they lack the interview skills they should have learned from their parents over the past 18 holiday seasons. 

I used to think it was the Universities that failed to teach interview and resume-building skills. After going through a couple of holiday seasons, I am beginning to think that it is not just the schools. It is also the parents that are failing when it comes to teaching resume and job interview skills.

We aren’t surprised when we see infants working iPads and cell phones become good at video games and computers. Should we be surprised when we see interview failures at a young age turn into the same candidates failing interviews when they graduate college?

Case Study 1:  The Cover letter

I just saw one runny-nosed munchkin write a wish list letter to Santa. This wish list looked a lot like a cover letter and resume to HRNasty. In my opinion, the letter wasn’t going to get our candidate a meeting with the CEO of the Holidays, AKA Santa. If that letter were coming to me, it would have gone straight to the recycle bin. There were misspelled words and the thing was written in Mr. Sketch’s scented markers. Why didn’t the parents help little Boo with the formatting of this simplest of business letters?  At least she had the wits about her to address the letter to “Santa” vs. “To whom this may concern”.  

We have all received “that look”

Of course, Mrs. HRNasty gave me a dirty look when Uncle HRNasty tried to step in and help these future unemployables. Yes, Uncle Nasty knew better and held his tongue.       

There were no qualifications in this cover letter. There was nothing about how well-behaved she was the past year or what she did to deserve anything.  The cover letter got straight to her selfish little point in typical Gen (whatever letter we are on this year) fashion and started out with “Dear Santa, I want X and I want Y and I really need Z. . . .”  Oy Veyyyyy!

Interview Skills

In an interview situation, always treat the executive assistants with respect!

Case Study #2: Face-to-Face Interview Skills

I watch in horror as the parents allow their little Precious to believe that the smelly pen, and failure of a cover letter worked and actually landed the Wee One a face-to-face interview with Santa. The CEO of the Holidays happens to be the big man himself, sitting in his big executive chair with his sexy little tart of an assistant in the colored hose and a short green skirt down at the local department store.

Helicopter mom and dad may see a simple visit with Santa, and treat the Santa Elf assistants with impatience, but I see a face-to-face with the CEO of Christmas and an Executive Assistant that has the CEO’s ear. There is no excuse to go in unprepared and never diss on the EA! As we waited in line, I saw failure after failure as the applicants were hoisted into Santa’s lap and then broke under pressure unable to answer the simplest of interview questions. Practice people practice!    

Start em young, tiger mom style

Why not just have the kid show up late smelling like cigarette smoke while being interviewed on Santa’s lap? You are never too young to practice your interview skills! When our little candidate starts crying, the helicopter parent comes to the rescue. The Helicoptors hand their balling babe a trophy in the form of a candy cane for trying so hard. They then have the audacity of giving the CEO the evil eye as they scurry away with their sobbing little brat.

Don’t coddle that kid. That was a FAIL Biatches!  This is where a “woodshed whupping” or two would have toughened up a kid.  In the least, the “Get back in the saddle” life lesson could be dished out. I could already picture this same parent showing up to the job interview with their proud college graduate and then calling me directly to say the job offer was inadequate. (yes, this really happens) Next time I have an opening for a BusyBody Helicopter parent, you will find me at the mall during the holidays trolling the Santa line with my business cards.  

Practice people, PRACTICE!

Obviously, there was no mock interview or research done for this interview with CEO Santa. If it were my kid (and I am an expert on child raising) I would have asked my friend who is a Sumo wrestler to don a white beard and have that kid jump in his lap so he could get a few reps with his pitch. At the least, the kid should have had answers to the CEO’s expected questions.  We know what the top interview questions are and there is no excuse.  

  • How old are you little Johnny?  AKA: Tell me about yourself.
  • Have you been naughty or nice?  AKA: Are you qualified?
  • What do you want Santa to bring you?  AKA What are you looking for financially? 

3 questions in a row that had lousy answers. We wonder why kids these days don’t have any interview skills.

Case Study #3:  Thank you Letter

Did I see a thank you letter after this in-person interview? NOOOOOOO, . . . All I heard was “When is Santa going to show up?” and “How come it’s taking so long?” 

No wonder candidates get so mad when they don’t hear back from the recruiter after 2 days. Parents reinforce unrealistic expectations telling their special snowflakes they are a winner and will receive a prize.  

It obviously hasn’t arrived yet but I know the coup d’état will come on Christmas morning.

Not just the kiddo’s

The house will be filled with a lot of running around, stress and tension. Of course, I am only talking about the parents. The screamers will be strung out on hot cocoa and candy canes, running around with dangerous new toys. All the while complaining about the lack of batteries for their new Fidget spinner or finger monkey doll.

Gift wrap will be thrown everywhere. The short attention spans are too simple-minded to keep presents and gift tags together. This means that you can forget about any thank you letters being sent out. Maybe it is better. Who wants to receive the same cut and-pasted thank you email or text that was forwarded to every other gift giver? I have finally connected the dots because if I am lucky, I might receive a generic text/email after I interview a candidate. The hiring managers that receive these emails are ecstatic with these meager scraps of a thank you until they compare notes and find out the other 4 interviewers on the panel received the exact same copy.

Yes, the Holiday season is a season to be thankful. Job application anyone?


Have a Buddah-mas Holiday and 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 who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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