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 workplace, 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 I 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 in between the Baby Boomer 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 the 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 who CAN MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS. Unless you are going to be accompanying your kid to work every day 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 every day. I don’t go to my social network every day.
- “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 $400.00. It’s the first place I post 90% of our entry-level positions.
- “It’s OK to turn down a high paying tech job.”
Agree. I realize it is tough to understand that your 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 perfect test scores, yes, the market can be veddy-veddy 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 khakis 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. An email will get to the hiring manager quicker and I won’t begrudge any candidate for a well-written email.
- “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 shoe 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 who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.
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