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The (mis)rule of mum and dad

By HARIATI AZIZAN sunday@thestar.com.my

Overbearing: Models posing as a mother instructing her daughter ahead of a job interview. Helicopter parents may interfere in their children’s lives even after they reach adulthood, much to the chagrin of recruiters. Overbearing: Models posing as a mother instructing her daughter ahead of a job interview. Helicopter parents may interfere in their children’s lives even after they reach adulthood, much to the chagrin of recruiters.

PETALING JAYA: They used to manage everything about their children's school life from homework and class projects to co-curricular activities.

Now, the same parents are micromanaging their children's working life, getting involved in the job hunt and even the recruiting process.

A Malaysian Employers Federation survey initiated by Sunday Star found that more than half of the companies surveyed said they had encountered parental involvement in their recruiting process: it has happened “once in a while” for 45.7%, “sometimes” for 22.6% and “frequently” for 1.2%.

While most companies have experienced parents' involvement mainly in the job-seeking process obtaining information on the company's background (50.4%) and attending career fairs (40.3%) an astounding 60.4% claimed they had received resumes submitted by parents of their prospective employees and 25.2% even had parents arranging interviews for their children.

The Survey on Parents Involvement in Recruiting Process was conducted on 201 MEF members, comprising 109 local and 92 multinational companies with up to 91,500 employees.

Up to 43.9% have had parents lobby them to hire their children, while 13.7% have had these kancheong (overeager) parents attending job interviews with their children.

However, companies are not giving in to the pressure, with 63.1% attesting that parents' interference would not affect their recruitment decision.

While the parents' concern may be understandable, it reflects negatively on the potential employees, said MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan.

“Many parents are getting involved in their children's recruitment process because the current job market is very competitive.

“However, the issue is whether such job applicants are able to work on their own in the event they are offered employment.

“Employers are looking for candidates who can work independently and not always waiting for instructions from a superior,” he added.

According to the Higher Educa-tion Ministry's Graduate Tracking Study, about 40,000 graduates in the country are still unemployed as of September.

Serm Teck Choon, head of MyStarJob Network Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Star Publications (M) Bhd which runs The Star's career portal myStarjob.com, said that having a degree was very common now.

“As the job market is stiffer now, fresh graduates have to be truly outstanding since the differentiators among them are not much.”

Shamsuddin, however, gave an assurance that employers are objective when hiring.

“Ultimately, it depends on whether the candidate meets the company's requirements,” he said.

Supratechnic (M) Sdn Bhd human resource and administration manager Sue Lim, who considers people accompanying their children to job interviews as the biggest parental “offence”, said: “It shows that the candidates are not mature or independent as a working adult. Normally, such candidates are very manja (mollycoddled), cannot work long hours or cope in a company, especially when the pace is fast.”

Some parents are even “pulling cables”, said Mydin Mohamed Holdings Berhad project manager Hussain Ally, to get their children hired.

“We have had some parents telling us that they expected their children to get preference for a position since they were themselves of managerial level or close to a company director. One parent even called a politician to get us to hire his children.”

You can imagine the reaction of these parents if their precious offspring are not hired 11.5% said parents had complained if their children did not get the job.

Worse, added Hussain, if hired, these parents might continue to use their “influence” to meddle at the workplace.

“For example, they will ask why their children have to work long hours or travel, why their salary is deducted and try to iron out workplace problems.”

As the survey indicated, some parents do not stop getting involved even after their children are hired 22.3% said they had to negotiate salary and benefits with the new recruits' parents, while 7.2% said that if the rookies stayed long enough at the company, their parents would ask for them to be promoted and their salary increased.

Article extracted from The Star, 23 Dec 2012

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