can I ask my coworkers why they didn’t hire my daughter?

A reader writes:

My daughter applied for a job at the university where I’m currently employed, in a department supervised by three very good friends of mine. I’ve known them all for over 20 years. I consider them great coworkers and friends. My neighbor also applied for the job. My neighbor has been out of work for over 11 years and lived off his parents. My daughter has a master’s degree, is an alumni of the university, and is currently working. Neither of them have any experience in the field. My neighbor parks cars at an amusement park part-time and my daughter runs a full-time educational program for developmentally disabled adults. My daughter has worked with several friends of mine and all told me she was the best employee they ever had. I never spoke about her while we were working or even visited her, for professional reasons

They interviewed my neighbor, who said the interview was general and easy, and they hired him within a week. They interviewed my daughter, who said the interview was pointed and in one instance, one of my friends who interviewed her laughed at her when she said she could help him with a particular job he wanted accomplished, and she has not had a call back.

Needless to say, I am angry. I have never involved myself in her employment at this establishment or anywhere else. However, I’m baffled. I see these people every day as we are in the same office, although we do not work in the same division. Is it unprofessional to ask them why they did not hire my hard-working daughter but hired a person who hasn’t worked in years and lives off his elderly mother?

You absolutely 100% cannot do that. It will come across as unprofessional and as inappropriate interference on behalf of your daughter, and it will harm any chances she has of being considered there again in the future (because no one wants to hire someone who might come with an interfering parent).

It’s possible that their decision was as unfair as you think it is. But it’s also possible — even likely — that there are good reasons for their decision that you aren’t privy to (and wouldn’t be privy to since you’re not part of their hiring process). For example, it’s possible that your daughter interviewed poorly, or that the neighbor had particular qualities that they think will help him excel in the role, or that — as talented as your daughter is — she doesn’t have skill X or quality Y that they’re looking for.

And really, which is more likely — that something like that explains their decision, or that your good friends of 20 years were jerks to your daughter?

If you’re not convinced: Since you consider these coworkers friends, think about what you know of them. Are they fair? Are they generally good people? Assuming yes, the best thing you can do is to figure there’s more to this than you know, and trust that they made their hiring decision for good reasons and with good intentions.

Keep in mind, too, that hiring is very specific to the job in question. It’s not about whether your daughter might be more generally capable than the neighbor; it’s about who is the better fit for this particular role, and that’s not always the same thing at all.

{ 501 comments… read them below }

  1. Harvey 6-3.5*

    While I agree with Allison that there is no way for the mother to inquire about this, I disagree that the coworkers necessarily made the best hire. But that doesn’t matter, really, because this isn’t (I hope) the only job in the world. The daughter (and her mother) should move on and get an even better job.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Without knowing anything about the job or its requirements, and only taking the word of the totally biased mom of one of the applicants, there’s no way to say for sure that they didn’t make the best hire. Mom needs to stay out of it – this isn’t her business at all.

      1. Clisby*

        Exactly. No, mom, you CANNOT ask about this. If there is any chance that your daughter might be considered for another job there, you will kill it if you interfere. You know absolutely nothing about why the hiring decision was made, and it’s really none of your business. Stay out of it.

      2. L.T.*

        Another thing to consider is that since we don’t know the job or its requirements, maybe the daughter seemed overqualified for the position. There’ve been other readers who wrote in to Alison asking how they can demonstrate they’re fit for roles that might seem “below them” on the surface, but have something deeper going on there. The LW speaks nothing of the neighbor’s education, and we don’t know if a masters degree was necessary or desired for this position.

        1. LifesizeLawyer*

          Came here to say exactly this. I graduated from law school just after the recession ended, and there was a huge surplus of newly minted lawyers for every legal job. When I decided that I wanted to move my career away from litigation towards non-profit work, I applied for research associate and legal assistant jobs at a lot of organizations. I was told time and again that I was simply overqualified for these roles. Even though I was genuinely interested in the positions as potential long-term roles, the hiring managers saw me as a huge flight risk.

          1. selena81*

            My first thought as well: if they really interviewed people with such a huge gap in talent and choose the less-talented one than that was probably on purpose. I’d guess they /want/ a stupid drone and not someone who intends to turn the position into a stepping-stone.
            Maybe the ‘pointed interview’ was just them trying to figure out wat was wrong with daughter that she’d apply for such a crappy job with such a seemingly stellar resume.

    2. Amber T*

      We have a strict no family and friends hiring rule. When we had an admin opening, one colleague’s sister fit the description well, and would have probably done well in the role in general. But, she was the sister to a current employee, and the people in charge figured there are too many “what-ifs?” that could happen that would be detrimental to the company and employees. What if the sister actually didn’t work out and the company wanted to let her go? Would the current employee be perfectly fine with that, or would that color her opinion on her work place?

      Considering the roles here would be parent & daughter, where a parent is more protective by nature, I can see why an employer might want to steer clear of hiring OP’s daughter.

      1. Yvette*

        But if they had a strict no family and friends hiring rule then they should not have interviewed her to begin with. Unless it did not occur to them until after the fact that it might be problematic. It is probably like Alison said, there were reasons she was not privy to. Unless that was one of the reasons

        1. Fiddlesticks*

          I work for government, and we are required to interview EVERYONE who meets the minimum qualifications, even candidates we know we have no intention of hiring for one reason or another. It’s not fair to the candidates, it’s not fair to HR or the hiring manager, but that’s government for you. Maybe the OP works for a similar institution?

          1. Fiddlesticks*

            I realize I should have read more carefully – yes, it’s a university. So, if it’s a state-funded university, they probably had to interview OP’s daughter even though they didn’t plan to hire her.

            1. Competent Commenter*

              I think there’s some variation, because at my very large public state university, we don’t have to interview every candidate who meets the minimum qualifications. We do have to keep records of the process, however, and be ready to defend our decisions if there’s a complaint later on.

            2. LunaLena*

              I work for a state-funded university as well, and we don’t interview everyone either. For one thing, we have some positions where the majority of candidates are out-of-state, and I’ve been on hiring committees where there were over 100 candidates. Can you imagine how ruinously expensive it would be to fly everyone in and put them up at a hotel for the night?

        2. Kendra*

          If this is what happened, they may have considered the interview a courtesy, to either the applicant or her mom. It’s like saying, “we can’t hire you because you’re our coworker’s daughter, but you would have been a strong contender for the position if that weren’t the case.” It might have felt (to them) like they were giving her the brush-off if they didn’t do at least that much.

      2. Corndog Tacocat*

        Amber T, I totally get where you’re coming from, but just logically, I can’t understand why they’d interview the daughter if that’s the policy. Unless, somehow, they didn’t know that OP’s daughter was OP’s daughter until after the interview…but I’m not sure how plausible that is.

        1. Lilly*

          Thank you so much for answering my question! There is a lot more going on than I have written here. I have also considered it over the weekend and spoke to my daughter. My daughter confided that during the interview, the supervisor mentioned a particular project that he wanted to work on. At which she responded, if hired, she would be happy to help him with it. He tossed his head back and laughed aloud in her face. She was very discouraged but didn’t want to come between my friends and myself. After hearing this, we both concluded it was in her best interest to rescind her application. Being I am a professional, I will not bring up the other issues, however, I will be bringing up this one. No potential employee, or an alumnus, should be treated with such disrespect for being a team player. If I had known this from the beginning there would have been no reason to write this letter in the first place. Again, thank you so much for your input.

          1. Czhorat*

            What result do you expect to get from bringing it up?

            All I can see is harm to your reputation and relationship with your employer. The wise thing to do is to let it go.

          2. SuperAnon*

            “Being I am a professional, I will not bring up the other issues, however, I will be bringing up this one.”

            You weren’t in the room where it happened. You’re going to look way out of line.

          3. AL*

            Hi Lilly,
            Thank you for coming ‘below-the-line’ and giving more feedback.

            Any issue you raise may impact the future hiring of your daughter at this company. Are you happy to burn that bridge?

            Totally understand that you feel protective of your daughter, but any query from you most likely would not get a response from the hiring team.

          4. Fortitude Jones*

            My daughter confided that during the interview, the supervisor mentioned a particular project that he wanted to work on. At which she responded, if hired, she would be happy to help him with it. He tossed his head back and laughed aloud in her face.

            Yeah, this is incredibly rude if it happened that way, but it does go to confirm what I said down below. They obviously weren’t looking for someone in this role that was going to come in and be a super star. Ultimately, it’s good your daughter found this out now as opposed to later on if she had scored the position and then was given nothing but grunt work to do all day – she’d be miserable. I still don’t think you should raise this issue with anyone on her behalf – she’s a grown up. Let her handle her own battles. If she thought the supervisor was rude, it’s up to her to send an email to him addressing that in the most polite way she can muster (she doesn’t want to burn a bridge in case this guy can be of use to her down the road).

            This just didn’t seem like a good fit all the way around. Your daughter wasn’t harmed here – they did her a favor. Now she can go out and find a position that’s better suited to her work style and personality.

            1. Oh So Anon*

              Yup. Some roles exist because there’s an actual need for someone to do that grunt work full-time. Someone who shows up to an interview wanting to do grunt work among other things isn’t helping the department get its work done the way they need to.

          5. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’d consider that your daughter may have misunderstood what the laugh was about it. It could have been “haha, this project is awful – no one is happy to work on it, but we like your enthusiasm.” It could have been a laugh at something in his email. Who knows – there are all kinds of possibilities. Your daughter’s interpretation is actually among the least likely (because that would be such an odd response, taken the way she took it). Add in that this is your friend, and it’s really likely this is a misunderstanding.

            Let it go.

            1. Kathleen_A*

              I can think of several people I know really, really well – including people I love – who under high-stress circumstances would interpret all sorts of laughs as “laughed aloud in my face,” including times when zero disrespect is intended. This says a lot more about my people than the laughs. They are inclined to over-think and over-interpret all sorts of things when they’re feeling uncomfortable.

              I can think of all sorts of perfectly comprehensible reasons why your daughter might misinterpret such a laugh, and I can think of no reason why an otherwise decent human being might laugh such a laugh during an interview. So while it’s definitely possible that the man intended to – I don’t know – show disrespect or belittle her or something, that seems really unlikely.

              So let it go. How were you planning to bring this subject up, anyway? Were you going to say, accusingly,”Dan, why did you laugh aloud in my daughter’s face?” And what would you do if Dan then said, “I am not sure what you’re talking about” or “I assumed she was joking since it’s an awful, awful project and I’d never forgive myself if I pawned it off on someone else”?

              1. Excel Slayer*

                I totally agree with this. I had pretty terrible social anxiety in the past, and it leads to misinterpreting what people mean so often. And laughing is very, very easy to interpret as ‘laughing at me’ rather than just laughing in general. And even people with normal anxiety levels can get very anxious and uncomfortable about interviews, so I can easy see how a misinterpretation could have happened.

            2. Parenthetically*

              Yeah, I keep having the same thought — laughing aloud derisively in someone’s face is such a bizarrely aggressive response to an offer for help, particularly given that the person being interviewed was the daughter of a friend, that I cannot imagine choosing to interpret it that way when there are SO MANY OTHER WAYS TO INTERPRET IT.

              Please, OP, consider that your daughter’s interpretation of the laugh could be mistaken. Please consider that his laugh meant “Oh gosh, no, it would kill anyone’s soul but bless your heart,” or “Everyone says that but then they get five minutes into it and want to run for the hills” or “The last eight people have said the same thing verbatim, isn’t that a riot?!” rather than rushing to the most malicious interpretation.

              1. LQ*

                I have recently laughed at someone who said they’d be happy to work on a project and after I stopped laughing I said, “I don’t hate you!” as way of explaination of why I would not assign this person to work on that total horrible exhausting just bad project. And it sounds like a really sexy project, but it’s not…it’s like a toxic dumpster fire where some prankster switched out the water for gasoline behind the explosives factory.

                I would and will again, laugh when someone tries to volunteer, but I don’t want to torture anyone into quitting.

                I would laugh, but it’s not malicious at all. (Well maybe,… but not to the lovely person who wants to help!)

                1. valentine*

                  “I don’t hate you!”
                  I would experience this as condescension. It’s work. I’m there to work and maybe your conflagration is my tropical paradise.

              2. Emily K*

                Or, “Oh man, I wish my boss would let me delegate that work, but she insists that it has to be me.”

                Or, “That reminds me of the last time I thought someone could help me with this, and it went comically poorly.”

                Laughter is how a lot of people deal with “this sucks and isn’t going to change” interpersonal problems, and those are also the kind of problems someone is probably least likely to explain to someone they’re interviewing.

                I speak at professional events about my work a lot and it’s actually something I notice that I do and try to guard against – I get a question that touches on some deep dysfunction that I’ve learned to live with, and my unthinking reaction would be to laugh before giving a very delicately worded tactful answer. But I realized that while a peer who is familiar with the dirty laundry that I’m not going to air in a public forum would understand why I laugh first, an audience member who has no clue there’s a dysfunction making things hard for me in that specific area wouldn’t have the context needed to understand why I laughed before answering.

            3. Burned Out Supervisor*

              If anyone should bring it up, it would be your daughter. She could, if she were so inclined, rescind her application stating that she was no longer interested and mention it to the hiring manager in a “maybe I misinterpreted things” kind of way. I think if you bring it up to your friend, you’re going to come off badly.

              1. NotAnotherManager!*


                I would think that HR would ask why she was rescinding her application, giving an opening to share the concerns she had. But this is an issue for the daughter to raise, not mom.

              2. boop the first*

                well hold on,
                Did the daughter actually rescind the application?? It would be really weird to be angry about not being hired if she literally said “no thanks”. Of course they’ll hire the other person if that’s the only choice they have now… whaaaa?

          6. Amtelope*

            Was the project he mentioned related to the job that was being offered? I would wonder if enthusiastically volunteering to help with it may have made your daughter sound like she was really interested in doing a different kind of work than the department was hiring for, especially if she’s somewhat overqualified for this particular job.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              This is what I was wondering most of all.

              I’ve had that interview a few times before. Some over zealous person who wants their hands in everything, when they’re not experienced in anything in particular and are being hired for something unrelated. [Case and point, I had someone want to do accounting work, when we were hiring for a very general receptionist to route calls and do some general office assistance [like stuffing envelopes and sorting mail], I was like uh…cool to dream but this is going wildly off track here.]

              1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                I remember the day our new accounting person came on board. ACCOUNTING. HER FIRST DAY. We had just kicked off a promotion to try to bring in much-needed revenue and I came in early to write the copy and have it ready for the manager to approve and the graphic artist (yes, we had one on staff) to design. We were talking about the promotion and Ms. New Accountant kept bugging me talking about how she’d read a book and knew all about graphic design and she could do it etc. etc. etc. She sure didn’t show much interest in the job she’d been hired to do.

          7. JustMyImagination*

            If she were treated so rudely as to rescind her application, then they would not have hired her even if she were the best candidate. She took herself out of the running.

            1. Washi*

              Yes, I’m confused about this. Did she rescind her application and then they hired the neighbor? Or if they hired the neighbor, what was the point of rescinding the application after the fact? Just to make a point?

              1. Washi*

                Ohh I see downthread that there were two positions open. So yeah, the reason she did not get the job is…she said she didn’t want it!

                1. CatCat*

                  Yeah, really peculiar and confusing and not consistent with the letter. What is there to even ask the hiring panel about? Not that it’s appropriate to ask, but let’s say the OP did. I mean, where is there for this to go?

                  Q: “Why didn’t you hire my daughter?”

                  A: “Because she withdrew her application.”

                  I’m totally baffled as to what the OP was hoping for here. Because even if Alison had said, “Yeah, go for it, that’s totally normal” The OP already knew the answer. The heck.

          8. Close Bracket*

            Laughter isn’t a good response to a question, but you don’t know what was going through his mind. It could have been, “you couldn’t possibly help with this, you fool,” or it could have been, “you have no idea the magnitude of what you are offering and you will so regret that if it comes about.” Or it could have been something else entirely. You are choosing a certain framing, whether consciously or not. I recommend consciously choosing a different framing, which is that you just have no idea what his laughter meant. It will help if you actively choose different words to describe it. “In her face” reveals a particular interpretation that I recommend trying to get away from.

          9. Oh So Anon*

            No potential employee, or an alumnus, should be treated with such disrespect for being a team player.

            Was this project something within the scope of the position your daughter was applying for? If not, she wasn’t really being a team player by offering to help on it. The supervisor’s reaction wasn’t great, but there you go.

            In interviews, sometimes we talk about wider department goals that are way above the candidate’s pay grade or related to different functions altogether, and it’s the candidate’s responsibility to read the room and chime in appropriately.

            1. Auga*

              Feeling sorry for the interviewer who has no idea his colleague is about to ask him why he did not hire her daughter.

          10. EPLawyer*

            It is HIGHLY possible they didn’t hire your daughter for this very reason. Although you say you never mentioned your daughter at work, etc., they had to worry that you would interfere in her work. Look what happened when she didn’t get the job. They may not have wanted to risk giving her the job and having you get irate any time anyone gave her feedback on her job that wasn’t 1o0% praise.

            Also, remember, you are only things from your daughter. This incident may or may not have happened the way she said. Best possible interpretation — she thought she was innocently offering to assist, he thought she was being a know it all and saying she could do the project.

            As much as you want to handle this for your daughter, you can’t. Time for both of you to move from this application.

          11. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Oh no, please don’t bring up the laughing interaction! Although it may have happened exactly as your daughter described, there’s a very high likelihood that she misunderstood the interaction or the tone.

            You’re in a hearsay situation. Because you weren’t there to directly observe the interview, you’re taking your daughter’s impressions as fact. Her impressions are just that, and they reflect how she was affected, but they don’t necessarily provide an objective review of what happened. It doesn’t mean her feelings are invalid, but it does mean that you’re really risking your professional reputation if you bring this up with your coworker or attempt to take him to task.

          12. Artemesia*

            Please don’t bring it up — your daughter’s reputation for a meddling Mommy may suffer beyond this institution — this is the thing that people talk about at conference cocktail parties when people share hiring horror stories. There is zero good that can come from this; you will damage your own reputation and worse, that of your daughter.

            1. Coder von Frankenstein*

              Heck, they talk about it *here*. Just the other week we had a “share your worst helicopter parent story” thread.

          13. Blue Horizon*

            I have actually done this myself, or something like it. I was discussing career choices with our interns and one of them mentioned that he liked the sound of my role, which is a very senior position that requires a wealth of practical experience. I had been mentally framing it as helping them choose between entry level roles at the start of a career path, and the idea of an intern taking on my role was surprising enough that I gave an involuntary chuckle.

            I immediately regretted it (why shouldn’t he aim for my position at some point in the future?) I explained the requirements for the position, then discussed a possible career path that might get him there, starting from entry level roles and moving on from there. I think I fixed it as well as I could, but the fact remains that my reaction in the moment was less than ideal, and he could have come away with an impression similar to the one your daughter had.

            Hypothetically speaking, if I was the interviewer and (for example) the reason I hadn’t been able to work on the project yet was that it was a highly coveted assignment and there was a high stakes political struggle going on behind the scenes as to who would get to work on it, then having an entry level candidate say “I’d be happy to help” in perfect ignorance of the whole underlying soap opera might well get a similar reaction from me. That’s just one possibility, and as Alison says there are many others.

            1. anon moose, anon mouse*

              I was going to say it’s a little presumptuous on the daughter’s part of offer help on a project she hasn’t even been hired for, especially if the interviewer didn’t even mention needed help.

          14. Lena Clare*

            So… your daughter rescinded her application and they gave the job to the other guy? That’s not quite how you describe it in the letter! In the letter it sounded like they gave the job to him above your daughter, but now you say that she took herself out of the running? Ofc she didn’t get it in that case!
            I don’t get it.

            1. Shay*

              The job has been offered to someone else but Daughter is rescinding her application … um, the job is gone.

          15. AKchic*

            Don’t bring anything up.
            You weren’t there. This wasn’t your interview. Do not be *that* meddling parent. Let your daughter handle her own career, concerns and interviews. If she had a problem with what happened, and the tone of the interviewer, she needs to bring it up with someone, not you. In fact, you need to pretend as if you never heard about the interview at all and that you do not know your daughter, otherwise it could color peoples’ opinions of your daughter (should she apply with the university again) and you (as a biased person when you have a vested interest in a candidate).

            I know it’s hard. You want answers. You want to take the hiring staff to task. You feel that you and your adult daughter were slighted (and these are friendly coworkers!), but this is something to walk away from before you spend capital you don’t need to.

          16. Clisby*

            Good lord. PLEASE don’t bring up any of this to anyone. You didn’t witness it. You weren’t there. Do you realize how bad this will make you look?

          17. Melanie*

            I think that you should reconsider. It’s possible that your colleagues think that you, not your daughter, are the problem. From the tenor of your letter, I suspect that your mama bear tendencies come across pretty clearly and would certainly scare me off from hiring your daughter.

          18. Jo*

            It’s a terrible idea, but go for it. Understand the following:
            1. You were not in the interview. Interviews are naturally awkward situations that any interaction can be interpreted as encouragement or an insult. She said it was “pointed” and he “laughed at her” could it be that there just wasn’t the right employee chemistry there?
            2. You’re burning social capital and goodwill with those you are working with.
            3. You’re not objective in regards to your daughters abilities or skills. If she really bombed the interview would she have come out and told you so? It’s a high pressure situation, and you’re of course predisposed to think/see the best in her. (Do you really think friends who hired her before would tell you she was a shitty employee? If she’s so great why isn’t she working for them anymore.)
            4. Employers sometimes hire based on capability and potential, looking for employees who are going to be long term. Sounds like your daughter is pretty high achieving already and they may fear she’s not a long term prospect. (She’s running an adult education program. Doing admin work for a University with a masters degree seems like she is aiming a little low?)

            Anyway, it’s up to you . If you want to go in with guns blazing go for it. You can feel vindicated on your daughters behalf and burn bridges for both of you.

          19. StaceyIzMe*

            Bringing up something that you didn’t witness is something that you simply don’t have the standing to do. Maybe your coworker was an utter ass, but if you weren’t in the room at the time, it’s not reasonably within your purview to inquire about. You’re a bit “sticky” with respect to this issue and should completely, utterly and once-and-for-all let it go. Release it and move on. If you’re so disgusted by the report of their conduct based on what your daughter shared, you can look for other employment opportunities or a transfer. But you’d be way out of line to try and act as if any aspect of the interview presented something that is actionable by you on behalf of your daughter.

          20. PollyQ*

            Adding to the chorus of people telling you “NO, do not bring it up!” Just because you know people on both sides of the interaction does not make it one teeny tiny bit your business. You will only damage your own standing, as well as sink any opinion of your daughter, because you’ll make her look like a child who runs to mommy, rather than a professional adult.

            (And saying that “she would be happy to help him with it.” isn’t a great response anyway. Once you’re hired for a job, especially as an entry-level employee, you do the task you’re assigned. It’s not like she’d be doing him a favor to help out.)

          21. Yorick*

            Your neighbor may be a lot more qualified than you think. In fact, it seems like you at least sort of dislike your neighbor and you might be seeing everything about him in the worst light. For example, he may have been able to explain the break in work history; you see it as mooching off a parent, but maybe he was caring for the elderly parent.

            Similarly, it’s possible that your daughter isn’t as highly qualified as you think. Someone I know has a masters degree but it gave them no real experience or skills that help them find a job. They think they’re way overqualified for most jobs posted, but they really aren’t.

            If I were interviewing for a position and the candidate offered to help me with a project, it could be laughable if it’s a lower-level role that doesn’t have anything to do with that project and/or if that person clearly doesn’t have the skills needed to do it. Of course, I hope I wouldn’t actually laugh in the moment.

            1. Cringing 24/7*

              +100 RE: the neighbor!
              I was reading the letter and kept thinking, “oKAY, we GET IT – you obviously hate your neighbor something terrible!” It all just read to me as was looking for an excuse to hate on someone for not working *even after they went and got a job*!

              1. Cringing 24/7*

                Didn’t mean to imply the neighbor wasn’t already working. *A job = a job that meets your rigorous standards and (would presumably) approve of (if it was your daughter doing it).

          22. Shay*

            Actually, being professional would be staying out of something that doesn’t concern you. You are attributing an emotion to someone’s reported laugh … that is a big jump. You wrongly assumed your daughter was a shoo-in for this job. The hiring team has their reasons and does not owe you explanation. You will harm both yourself professionally and make you daughter appear as if she went complaining to you if you pursue this. Please stay in your Mom-lane and encourage your daughter to continue her job search. (And really, your neighbor’s arrangement with his Mom isn’t your business either)

          23. morethanasecretary*

            It is also entirely possible that the interaction didn’t happen EXACTLY that way, that the supervisor laughed but didn’t throw back his head and laugh in her face. It is possible that when she offered what she thought was an example of teamwork and willingness to pull her weight came across to the supervisor as (to put it nicely) cheeky and presuming it was something she could do, or it came across in a way that sounded like she was sucking up to the interviewer.

            So, if you are friends with this supervisor, would he knowingly be rude and disparaging to a friend’s daughter, or is it possible that your daughter misinterpreted his response.

            Also, PLEASE for the sake of your reputation and your daughter’s potential positions there, DO NOT bring this up. Nothing about your email comes across as having a professional quandary,it comes across as an angry mama bear coming to defend her helpless young. While it’s understandable to feel this way, acting on it will shoot HER in the foot.People are going to label you a helicopter parent when she should be handling issues on her own. People will remember this should she ever apply again. She might be perfect for the next job, but will people think that if they hire her, they’ll have to deal with you should she have any work issues.

            1. Isobel*

              My guess is the laughter and pointing was a sort of, “I see what you did there.” Like he recognized that she was using the opportunity his discussion of current projects gave her to sell herself during the interview.

              I know there are already enough theories on what the laughter could have meant. Because that’s the point! We can’t possibly interpret it.

              Another thing I want to suggest is that your daughter may, without you realizing it, have a tendency to negatively misinterpret people’s responses to her in some situations. This isn’t a terrible thing. I know very successful people who have similar issues now and then. Since the people she interacts with professionally aren’t usually close friends of yours, this is something you would not have picked up on. I mean this only as a gentle reminded that, as wonderful as your daughter sounds, and she does sound great, almost all parents have blind spots when it comes to their children.

              And won’t it be awkward if you confront your colleague and he says, “laugh at her? I have no idea what you mean. I wanted to hire her!”

        2. LW*

          My daughter and I would not be working in the same department. That is why it was allowed.

      3. Becky*

        Unless you are a very small company I actually find that overly rigid. Coworker Joyce’s husband works in another department. The mother of another coworker Brad works in a different department. Two siblings of my coworker David also work at the same company in different departments. We once had three brothers working in my department–they were always put on different teams and never on the same project together. We currently have cousins working in my department–they also are always on different teams. As long as no one has any authority over a friend/relative and no one makes inappropriate interference, I don’t think it is as big a risk as you think.

        Now, my company has over 600 employees at just my location, so maybe it just needs to be sufficiently large and with a formalized org structure. And you obviously won’t want to hire close friends or relatives in direct authority over each other but I don’t think it should always be an automatic no.

        1. Valprehension*

          For publicly funded jobs, it’s very important to avoid even a whiff of nepotism (not that it doesn’t happen anyway…), so for instance in all the public library systems I’ve worked in, there’s a rule that family members can’t work in the same department (which in practice means they can’t work at the some location, in my experience).

      4. Anita Brayke*

        My current job is in an office of 5 people with a mother and daughter working together. Mom supervises her daughter. I can tell you, in this instance (and perhaps many others), it isn’t appropriate. SO MUCH TIME is spent by the 2 of them in the manager’s office, talking several times a day with her, and she is also their good friend. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to the rest of us (the other two who are left out).

      5. mmppgh*

        It is really common for family members to work in the same university. There are usually just restrictions about reporting. For example, the daughter probably could not work in the mother’s department.

    3. Triplestep*

      Yup, I also disagree that the co-workers likely made the best hire. This is not to say the daughter was the better hire; it’s to say we just don’t know. We have as much info there as we do about what the job was – which is to say, we have none.

      As for this: And really, which is more likely — that something like that explains their decision, or that your good friends of 20 years were jerks to your daughter? They actually WERE jerks to the daughter: They hired someone else and never bothered to get back to her, which is about the jerkiest thing you can do when you’re hiring. It almost doesn’t matter what you’ve done right during the hiring process, if you don’t finish it out by tell the not-chosen candidates that they don’t have the job, it trumps all of it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’m not sure that happened here. She wrote that the daughter “didn’t get a call back,” which is sometimes how people say “wasn’t offered the job” or “wasn’t invited for another interview.” If they didn’t get back to her at all, that is both (a) rude and (b) very common in hiring.

        In any case, since I think this is getting misinterpreted: I’m not arguing that they absolutely made the best hiring decision. I’m arguing it’s possible that they may have, and the best course for the OP is to assume that they know better than she does who the best candidate is, since they’re the ones filling it.

        1. Triplestep*

          If you are not arguing that they made the best decision then you might want to edit But it’s also possible — even likely — that there are good reasons for their decision that you aren’t privy to.

          Are the things the Mom is not privy to? Absolutely! Should she stay out of it? Emphatically agree that she should. Is it “likely” that there are good reasons the daughter did not get the job? We don’t know. It sounds like it’s NOT likely even if you account for all the LW’s not very high esteem for her neighbor. Regardless I don’t think we can automatically assume that people hiring make the best choices. They are just people, after all.

          Yes, I know first hand and all too well how common it is to be ghosted by would-be employers which is why I am so opinionated about it! Maybe the LW will come here and explain what she meant by “didn’t get a call back.” Given how common it is in hiring, I assumed the daughter was ghosted.

          1. nonegiven*

            The best reason I can think of is the neighbor was willing to take the job for less money.

          2. JamieS*

            It’s not an either/or situation. The hiring manager can have good reasons to not hire the OP’s daughter while also not making the best hiring decisions.

          3. Lunita*

            We can’t know whether the hiring decision was a good one or not, but the reasons her neighbor wouldn’t be a good candidate don’t have anything to do with work necessarily. Why would an interviewer ask who a candidate lives with? It’s not even a question that should be asked!

        2. Lilly*

          Thank you for answering my question. So far, my daughter has yet to hear from any one. There were two positions open. My neighbor was hired immediately but she has heard nothing. Also, I spoke to my daughter about this over the weekend. She confided to me that the supervisor, when interviewing her, brought up a project that he wanted to work on. She responded that if hired she would be happy to help him with it. At that, he tossed his head back and laughed in her face. She didn’t want to tell me this because she knew I’ve been friends with him for 20 years. She told me she told her co-workers about this and they were all appalled by his behavior. She has since rescinded her application for the position. I agree that she made the correct choice.

          No one should be treated with disrespect, especially an alumnus who will repeat this to other alumni and any one who would potentially want to attend this school. I have also confided in other friends/managers on campus who know me and them. They are equally shocked.

          Again, I appreciate all the comments!

          1. Ginger*

            Omg no, please stop “confiding” around campus. No one is going to look good in this, especially you.

            “Laughed in her face” can be taken so many ways (see Alison’s response further up thread). I highly, highly doubt it was as malicious as your daughter took it.

            And frankly, alumni are not god/goddesses. You need to take a step back and chill on this one.

          2. anon moose, anon mouse*

            I think you need to take a step back because you’re going to potentially harm your own career if you keep on this path.

            You weren’t in the room. You don’t know if she misinterpreted something. You already sound a bit….judgmental about the employee who was hired. Let it go.

          3. Close Bracket*

            So far, my daughter has yet to hear from any one.

            “She has since rescinded her application for the position.

            She shouldn’t expect to hear more after withdrawing an application.

            There were two positions open.

            So this wasn’t a question of “they hired my neighbor instead of my daughter.” This was a question of “they hired my neighbor, and my daughter might have been hired or not but we’ll never know bc she withdrew her application.”

            1. LW*

              Actually, I think her rescinding her application was in her best interest. There is much more going on that I did not go into. I’m actually quite happy for my neighbor how has been down on his luck. It was at my suggestion that he applied.

                1. JoJo*

                  Seriously! OMG, now I’m questioning all the other characterizations if, after completely trashing him up and down and left and right, LW can say she’s quite happy for him.

              1. Close Bracket*

                Actually, I think her rescinding her application was in her best interest.

                That’s not the point. The point is that the reason your daughter wasn’t hired is that she rescinded her application. I don’t know what more you expect at this point.

              2. Parenthetically*

                “I’m actually quite happy for my neighbor how has been down on his luck. It was at my suggestion that he applied.”

                I’d hate to see how you talk about someone you AREN’T happy for.

                1. 4Sina*

                  No kidding. “He just parks cars part time at an amusement park” has a certain bitterness and condescension, never mind that that work has it’s own challenges and skills. LW also fails to disclose other involvements or strengths of the neighbor, choosing to cherry pick highest highs and lowest lows. It’s not a good look and I sincerely hope LW thinks twice before framing the conversation this way further with other people.

                  Anyway, as literally everyone else said, if she rescinded her application, then what else is there to talk about?

              3. insight is difficult but healthy*

                Honestly, LW, you don’t sound remotely happy for your neighbor except right here and this particular post sounds like justification, not honesty

              4. biobotb*

                If she rescinded her application, I don’t understand what the neighbor’s hiring situation has to do with anything. The fact that he was hired sounds like it was entirely independent of whether your daughter got hired or not. Plus, she totally blocked any chance she had of getting hired by rescinding her application, so I don’t understand why you’re upset that she didn’t get hired. Someone can’t get hired after they take themselves out of the applicant pool.

              5. Mike C.*

                Why didn’t you address the fact that Close Bracket clearly pointed out that your initial story and your comments contradict each other? It feels like you’re being incredibly dishonest with us and that’s not appropriate.

              6. Yikes*

                Maybe they didn’t hire your daughter because they thought you would be too much an interference in her success at the organization/that you would cause issues if she was hired and it didn’t work out.

                I don’t mean to sound rude here, but your daughter would likely cringe at the letter you’ve written as well as your follow-up replies; I know I would if I found out my mom had trash-talked a neighbor/friend so harshly while asking if she should call my interviewers to ask why they hadn’t hired me.

                Regardless, your daughter may not have been the most qualified for the particular role, and her rescinding her application in a huff after finding out someone else got hired will probably not serve her well if she does that any time someone else gets hired over her.

            2. Fortitude Jones*

              Yeah, withdrawing the application was a wtf for me. I mean, at that point, she didn’t know one way or the other if they were going to hire her for the other available spot. She was so incensed by the neighbor getting chosen in addition to the other role that was open that she withdrew from the process? OP, you and your daughter both seem to jump to conclusions pretty quickly without having much evidence – you both may want to chill before you do irreparable harm to your reputations going forward. These are very overblown reactions to things that are quite common in hiring situations.

              1. mmppgh*

                Agreed. Rescinding the application seems a bit childish. She could have just diplomatically turned the position down if offered it. Pulling the application seems like a “gotcha” move. I also agree with other comments that “confiding” in other people about someone’s potentially bad behavior…especially about an interview which is supposed to be confidential…is never a wise move for one’s reputation.

            3. Sara*

              For all we know, they were going to offer her the position but it was just taking longer due to vacations or something (after all, it’s at a university and it’s summer). It sounds like LW and daughter are making a lot of assumptions

          4. Murphy*

            I’m sorry your daughter had a crappy interview. I don’t know if it’s worth badmouthing the whole school over though, particularly if you still work there.

            1. LW*

              I would never bad mouth the school. The school has nothing to do with it. I’ve worked here many years and have many great relationships. What I’m saying is she talks to her friends and shares what happened.

              1. Princess prissypants*

                And so what if she does? She has what she and you think is a bad interview experience, and doesn’t receive a job offer *after withdrawing from the search!?*

                What, exactly, is wrong with “she talks to her friends and shares what happened.” ??

                1. Mike C.*

                  If it’s anything like what’s been posted here, the complete story isn’t being told. It took a while to understand that the application had been rescinded, for instance. That changes everything.

              2. Nic*

                But you have bad-mouthed employees at the school that you claim to be your friends. You literally said that you’ve been doing that too, not just your daughter. You have been spreading gossip by “confiding” in people about your daughter’s interview, behind the interviewers’ backs, without allowing the interviewers to share their side of the story. (And by the way, that’s not a suggestion that you drag their side out of them, because if there is an issue, it’s your daughter’s place to sort it out; it is absolutely not your place to go confront them and demand an explanation on her behalf.)

                1. NCKat*

                  Yes, exactly. There are two sides to every story and you are giving only your daughter’s. And what are alumni, if not the university? They may no longer be students but they will talk to people who are members of the university community. They *will* hear of it. Please encourage your daughter to put this behind her and move on.

          5. Kathleen_A*

            OP, how were you planning to bring this subject up, anyway? Were you going to say, accusingly,”Dan, why did you laugh aloud in my daughter’s face?”

            And what would you do if Dan then said, “I am not sure what you’re talking about” or “I assumed she was joking since it’s an awful, awful project and I’d never forgive myself if I pawned it off on someone else”?

            You absolutely need to let it go. You’re just going to make yourself more unhappy, and and it’s even possible you’ll make things worse for your daughter, too.

          6. SheLooksFamiliar*

            Lilly,please, stop what you’re doing: no more ‘confiding’, no more planning your interaction with the hiring manager – just drop it all. The hiring process doesn’t have to make sense to you to be valid. You’re not neutral when it comes to your daughter, but at work you MUST be neutral. Going full- Mama Bear is just not warranted here.

            You’ve already pushed the envelope too far with all the confiding and shocking your allies on campus. Your actions raise questions about your own professionalism: what you’re doing makes you look pushy, out of touch, and very unprofessional. Also, you’re not helping your daughter’s future options there. Another role could come available with a different team. If the hiring managers get a whiff of this, they’ll think your daughter can’t manage her own career, and Mommy has to do it for her. I know that’s not the message you wanted to send, but you very likely did.

            Please. Take a deep breath, step back from this, and let it go. Easier said than done, I know, but adulting is hard – and very much needed right now.

            1. Luke*

              x 1000

              Sorry OP, offered with all honesty. This is where you have to let your daughter start working life out completely on her own: hard, but that’s what this stage is. And honestly, even if she had not withdrawn her application, and been offered the role, it could only have gone very badly for one or both of you, because those Mama Bear reflexes would have caused a problem in another scenario, in no time. So it’s for the best. It’ll be much better and easier for both of you if she gets a job elsewhere, which she will, no doubt.

          7. Samwise*

            If she rescinded her application, she is not going to hear from anyone any more, because…she withdrew and they have no reason to contact her. If she withdrew, then it’s not like they chose the neighbor over her; she took herself out of the running to be chosen at all.

            I have chaired searches at academic institutions. Once someone informs us they are not interested in the position, we don’t communicate with them anymore, at all. We stop thinking about them, we stop talking about them, we go through the paperwork needed to remove them from consideration. We don’t have time or resources to keep communicating with folks who have asked to be removed from the applicant pool.

            Please do stop talking about your daughter’s experience, OP. It is doing her no favors whatsoever, and it’s not helping your reputation either.

          8. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Keep your mouth shut unless you want to tank your daughter’s professional reputation and your own.

          9. willow*

            So someone laughed at your daughter. She is an adult, she has probably been laughed at before. She will survive. Please don’t make her into a snowflake this late in the game. You should back way, way off of this situation.

          10. Middle School Teacher*

            “Being I am a professional I will not bring up the other issues.”

            “I have confided in other friends/managers on campus about this.”

            Do you not see these two statements are mutually exclusive? You are not acting professionally and if you’re not careful, you won’t just burn your daughter’s bridges, you’ll burn your own by getting a reputation of a gossip and a sore loser. Please just stop, and move on.

          11. Genny*

            Presumably the person who laughed is senior to your daughter (who it sounds like is in her early 20s). If he mentions a project he would like to/is planning to work on, he’s probably not seeking assistance from a recent college grad. It sounds like your daughter may have been eager to please and demonstrate her enthusiasm/willingness to be a team player, but ended up coming off as a little naive about the task. That may have been what the laugh was about. If someone mentions that they plan to revamp the university’s strategic vision, a recent college grad with no relevant work experience chiming in to say she could help is going to come off uninformed.

            I’d recommend you drop your end of the rope since you didn’t witness any of this. I’d recommend your daughter take whatever teachable moments she can out of this and move on to the next job.

          12. Observer*

            If you take NOTHING else away from this, PLEASE take on board the suggestion to stop talking about this.

            At this point, your daughter has already rescinded her application, so she has absolutely no reason to expect any sort of contact. It’s hard to say that she has been “ghosted” given the time line you mention. Also, as others have pointed out, it’s quite possible that your daughter misunderstood the interaction. Yes, it’s possible despite her perfection!*

            But even if ghosted her or were genuinely rude to her, your conversations about this, especially the indignant tone, ARE going to harm your daughter. You absolutely do NOT ever want someone to think that they dodged a bullet in not hiring your daughter because it would be so difficult to deal with your reactions.

            * Yes, that line is snarky. It’s response to what sounds like classic “My child, the Einstein”. I’m sure that you daughter is smart, capable, responsible and an overall great employee, but the way your glowing description of your wonderful daughter vs the unworthy neighbor has a very “mama bear” tone.

          13. Elitist Semicolon*

            I work with both alumni and prospective students and can say with confidence that spreading this story around will have absolutely no impact on either alumni engagement or student recruitment (or employee recruitment, for that matter). Unless your daughter’s degree is in Misplaced Anger from Well I Never State U., that is.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      I agree. Which means OP has a front row seat for when things go south. And she needs to stay silent when that happens too.

    5. Staxman*

      At some point I realized that hiring contains an element of subjectivity. When I haven’t gotten a job, I’ve figured that subjectivity worked against this time, but it could work in my favor next time.

      1. Sharrbe*

        Exactly. The man who go the job may have been a better fit personality-wise. Nothing wrong with that. The daughter will seem like the best fit personality-wise to another hiring committee down the line. Mom is treating this job as some sort of award that her daughter deserved to win because of her outstanding accomplisments.

    6. Who Plays Backgammon?*

      The candidates as described certainly sounded like polar opposites in capability and qualifications. I wonder where the other candidates fell in the spectrum, assuming there were more than 2 candidates?

      I agree with Harvey 6-3.5. Hiring managers sometimes hire duds, despite their upbeat website copy saying they want the “best and the brightest.” Plenty of managers don’t want anyone sharp enough to be a threat to their job. Some managers prefer malleable drones.

      1. 4Sina*

        “The candidates as described certainly sounded like polar opposites in capability and qualifications.” Were they, though? The letter very much reads as “my child can do no wrong, and this neighbor only works in a parking lot” comes off as defensive and honestly a little classist – despite admitting that the job in question was for a position that neither had experience in. I agree there were probably more applicants and not just these two. We don’t know the neighbors involvement or skillset outside of what the LW has shared.

        1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          That’s what I meant by “as described.” The person doing the describing might not be an objective source, but their descriptions come off sounding like one extreme and the other.

    7. Indra*

      But why would they NOT want to make the best hire? I think it’s more likely that the mom has a skewed opinion of either her daughter’s skills or, more likely, her personality. I’ve worked in several academic settings and in my experience, hiring managers in academia are more likely to choose candidates that are a cultural “fit” over someone with a variety of possibly applicable skills and something the daughter could have rubbed them the wrong way (did the hiring manager really laugh at her?) In any case, Mom needs to lay off. It sounds as though the daughter is at the beginning of her career, and there will probably be situations more exasperating than this one to come. For her own mental health, Mom needs to focus on her own life and let her kid figure out how to navigate the job search on her own.

  2. Aphrodite*

    You are very disparaging of the neighbor, OP. If he hasn’t worked for eleven years that might mean he has a medical reason for not doing so. It does mean he wants to go back to work if he applied for the position. And maybe he does more than “sponge” off his mother; perhaps he has been taking courses or training while he has been off work that counterbalances his unemployment.

    But whatever the reason I hardly think you are doing yourself any favors–because you do sound bitter in this letter–by demeaning him and elevating your daughter.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Agreed. The contempt toward the neighbor drips off this letter.

      OP, you’re a (naturally) quite biased observer in this situation. You need to step back. Your friends’ hiring choices are none of your business.

    2. Big Yikes*

      100% what I was thinking. Condescending attitude to the other candidate “neighbor” about their current job is ridiculous.

    3. Me*

      Right. How much does she actually know about the neighbor? And how much does she actually know about her daughter? As a parent, if you don’t think your child has a life and personality (including unpleasant traits) that you are not necessarily privy too, you are very much mistaken.

    4. SuperAnon*

      Aphrodite’s last paragraph, 100 percent.

      Honestly, I would not want to be your coworker if this is how you judge people.

    5. Glitsy Gus*

      I was very put off by her condescension towards the neighbor. There are so, so many people out there who are in that boat of not being able to find a good job for several years, and it isn’t because they are lazy or a “sponge.” He’s been working a really crappy, probably minimum wage, job, that doesn’t necessarily indicate lazy. It could show he’s sticking with a crappy job because he wants to at least try to help support himself until he finally got a chance at a better job.

      For a lot of people who have been out of work for a long time, it does become harder and harder to be considered for a position the more time passes, even when you are fully qualified. Try thinking of this as the neighbor finally getting a break, rather than a slight on your daughter. She has more cards in her deck right now, don’t grudge your neighbor one opportunity.

      1. Health Insurance Nerd*

        This is so true! A close friend was laid off, tried to find work in his field for a few years while working at a convenience store so that he could, you know, eat. Through that job, and the regulars who came in for coffee every day, he managed to network himself back into his field after three years- but anyone who didn’t really know him could look at him and see a lazy sponge working a crappy minimum wage job because they’re not motivated to find something better. You never really know anyone’s backstory…

    6. anon moose, anon mouse*

      Yeah. I’m more appalled by the tone toward the neighbor than anything else that happened. I would not want to work with someone who had this mindset. Sneering that parking cars isn’t work and then praising her daughter’s job immediately after is so, so condescending. Yikes.

      1. BeautifulVoid*

        I’m wondering what this job even is if both “lazy slacker moocher scuzz on the bottom of my shoe neighbor” and “gainfully employed educated shining star daughter” both felt qualified for it and really wanted it. I think there might be some merit to the speculation upthread that this might be more of a “grunt work” position and LW’s daughter came into the interview like she was going to elevate it beyond that, when it’s not what they were looking for. (Not that that would make her a bad person, because it doesn’t necessarily, but it might explain why her reading of the room was so off.)

        1. Pippa*

          LW implied that her daughter wanted to work at the university for the tuition benefits. Which is fine, but if it was apparent to the interviewers, it could have contributed to the overall impression of an overqualified person looking to do an advanced degree who would thus not be staying in the job very long.

          But of course the original question wasn’t about why the daughter didn’t get the job, but what the LW can do in response. And the answer, for SO many reasons here, is ‘nothing’.

    7. China Beech*

      He could very well have been his mother’s caregiver and that can be a full time job.

    8. LW*

      I appreciate your comment. However, I’m happy my neighbor has the job. I’m the one who suggested he apply for several jobs here. I didn’t mean it as demeaning since I’ve worn many hats in my career. I’m just baffled is all. If my friends thought there would be a conflict of interest, or it would place our friendship in jeopardy, I’d rather they just come to me and say it.

      1. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

        But consider that perhaps it’s against policy to discuss applications with employees not involved in the hiring process! Even if you did go inquire as to the whole scenario, I wouldn’t be surprised if your friends can’t even discuss any of it with you. I could be wrong, but that would seem like a normal policy to me.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          Exactly this. LW, did you read last week’s post about helicopter parents sabotaging jobs for their children? With each comment of yours I read, you sound closer and closer to the parents mentioned there. Please read that post and know that the more you interfere here, the worse it will be for your daughter.

      2. Larina*

        Often times, it is incredibly difficult to come to someone (especially a mother) and say “I don’t want to hire your relative because I’m worried having two related people, even in different departments, will cause drama and I just don’t want to take that chance.

        At my old job, we had a manager who wanted her son in her department, but on a different team. I and several other team leads were NOT happy about it, but the department head made us interview the son. After the interview, I and the other leads had a conversation, where I expressed that I didn’t want to have to deal with even the possibility of familial drama interrupting the workplace. Unfortunately, the mother overhead, and it colored her opinion of me from then on.

        Consider that you’re responding very personally to the (real or not) slights your daughter has faced. I would suggest taking several steps back before taking any other action. Are you in Mom-Mode, or are you actually thinking about why your coworkers and friends may have made the decision?

      3. SheLooksFamiliar*

        ‘If my friends thought there would be a conflict of interest, or it would place our friendship in jeopardy, I’d rather they just come to me and say it.’

        Here’s the problem, Lilly – they don’t owe you a thing. They don’t owe you an explanation, rationalization, or update. You’re inserting yourself in a process that you’re interested in – as I said upthread, you’re not neutral about your daughter – but you have absolutely no right to expect anything. Your daughter applied, she got a review, and the answer was, ‘No thank you.’ If your daughter wants to follow up, that’s up to her.

        1. Close Bracket*

          Your daughter applied, she got a review, and the answer was, ‘No thank you.’

          Her daughter applied and rescinded her application.

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            Thanks – I should have been more specific: the fact they had not called the daugther with an offer is a ‘no thank you.’

            When I responded, I had not seen that the daughter rescinded her application. That’s a whole other issue.

        2. Paper Librarian*

          Lilly/OP, I have two points of consideration.

          You bring up the possibility of conflict of interest and then dismiss it. “There’s no conflict because we would be different departments, etc” But, I feel like from your words and from your description of your actions…You are very much willing to address perceived slights against your daughter with your colleagues. I’m not suggesting that your colleagues sensed that, since I have no idea. But, I am suggesting that it would have been a problem eventually if your daughter had been hired. From everything I’m reading here, it seems like it was a bad fit and a lucky escape for your daughter. A person as capable as the daughter you describe will find a position in which she can excel soon enough.

          Also, I think the discussion about laughter has passed, but I’m a notorious nervous laugher, and frequently when I chuckle–to me, it is nothing more than a nervous tick. But frequently, people take it as being directed at them. If these interviewers are all long-time colleagues/ friends of yours, I’d take one of the multiple explanations people have proposed here and chalk the whole thing up to a a miscommunication.

      4. Observer*

        Given how you have reacted already, it’s not surprising that they didn’t come talk to you.

        Furthermore, as others have said no one owes you an explanation!

        And while it’s very kind of you to be happy for your neighbor, your description of him IS contemptuous. It would be worthwhile for you to think about why you expressed yourself in a way that pretty much everyone sees as contemptuous if you didn’t mean it that way. And consider that your way of expressing yourself might color people’s perception of what it’s going to be like working with your child(ren).

        1. morethanasecretary*

          Especially if she “confided” her description of him mooching off of his disabled mother to her coworkers – who are now his coworkers.

          Sorry, but the happy for him just rings so hollow.

      5. A different name*

        In all honesty: are you sure the letter wouldn’t read “Dear allison, some colleagues who I thought were my FRIENDS told me they wouldn’t hire my daughter because it’s a conflict of interests, even though she’s super qualified and not even in the same department. Isn’t this discriminatory?”

        This letter, the vitriol towards your neighbor, and the fact that you’ve been telling everyone you can that your colleague was rude (based on hearsay! There are so many ways that could have played out!) really don’t go a long way toward coming off as calm and neutral. I would

      6. Innaminna*

        Has it occurred to you that maybe they thought your daughter is overqualified for the role and more likely to find herself a better opportunity more suited to her whereas the neighbour would benefit from this challenge and more likely to not get bored so quickly?

      7. LGC*

        I think everyone has covered most of the bases, but…I’d definitely suggest trying to read your letter with the roles reversed.

        Plus, I don’t think people are necessarily arguing that you’re not “happy for him!” It’s possible to be happy he got the job and also come off as contemptuous! Your heart might be pure, but your words…definitely were not.

      8. Yikes*

        Is it possible that your neighbor said in his interviews “LW recommended I apply for this” and that they took that as your vouching for him and made the hire based on that? It is wild to me that you DIRECTLY recommended he apply for the job and are now seemingly pissed that they chose him over your daughter. What did you think would happen? Or were you just recommending he apply, secretly hoping he wouldn’t get it? I’m not sure which is worse, to be honest.

    9. LGC*

      That…was the first red flag.

      (The first comment thread turned it into a blasted color guard. I haven’t seen that many red flags since I was in marching band.)

      But I also think it’s worth noting – even if he has been mooching off his parents for the past 11 years, 1) he finally applied for a professional job and 2) way more important, he was not in the interview with LW’s daughter. He MIGHT be “undeserving,” but he had no direct role in her daughter’s experience.

    10. iglwif*


      And perhaps also he has taken on caregiving responsibilities, or helps his mum out in other ways. Or perhaps they like sharing a house!

      Underemployment and precarious employment are very, very common, and an awful lot of people have part-time or gig-economy jobs because they haven’t been able to find full-time work, not because they’re lazy mooches.

      1. Gadget Hackwrench*

        Not to mention he’s BEEN working. He’s been parking cars at the amusement park. Sounds easy at first, but then you think of the size of an amusement park parking lot, and the fact that he can’t just stay with the car. He’s got to drive it al the way out there. Park it, and then hoof it back to the valet shack to pick up the next one. And then when people go to leave, he’s got to do it all in reverse. This guy’s been busting butt running back and forth on an asphalt skillet in the hot sun all summer. That’s NOT EASY WORK.

        1. iglwif*

          Oh yeah for sure.

          By “underemployment” I meant the part-time aspect of it and the fact that he probably doesn’t make as much per hour as he could, not at all that he’s not working hard enough, because holy crap, yeah. And people are probably rude af to him, too, because that’s a staple of customer service jobs :P

          (As an aside, I have never been to or heard of an amusement park that had valet parking. Talk about seeing how the other half lives!)

    11. Narya*

      Yeah, all I could think while reading this letter was if her daughter came off in the interview anything like LW is coming off here, it’s really not a stretch to think why they didn’t hire her. Or if LW comes off like this all the time, maybe her friends didn’t want to risk *two* people like this in the office. Disparaging, rude elitism is never a good look.

  3. Close Bracket*

    “a person who hasn’t worked in years”

    Parking cars is work. All work is work. Your neighbor is not less deserving of a particular job bc he parks cars for a living.

    “They interviewed my neighbor, who said the interview was general and easy, … They interviewed my daughter, who said the interview was pointed”

    It’s possible that they had similar easy and general questions to start out with and that the difference in their perspectives came from a difference in what their answers.

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      I’m also concerned the LW questioned the neighbor about his interview with the explicit purpose of getting that info and going back to the hiring committee to complain.

      I hope I’m wrong though, and the topic came up organically.

        1. Indra*

          Geez, that’d be a stretch. Have we become so sensitive that to be labeled a valet and family caretaker is something to be ashamed of? Heaven help us.

          1. Yikes*

            I don’t know if sensitive is the right word but if I were the neighbor and saw my “friend” talking about me like LW did I would probably cut that “friendship” loose.

      1. Close Bracket*

        Well, you don’t know that. She could have questioned the neighbor bc they are neighbors and they were talking, as neighbors do, and it was only after she realized how different the interview experiences were that she wanted to question the hiring committee.

      2. LW*

        You are wrong about that. I haven’t said anything to anyone. And I’m very happy my neighbor has found employment. I’m just baffled is all.

        1. Mary*

          LW, as far as I can work out the sequence of events is:

          A) your neighbour interviewed for a job, and got it
          B) your daughter interviewed for a different job, was offended by the interviewer laughing in a way she perceived as disrespectful, and didn’t hear back immediately, so withdrew her candidacy
          C) didn’t get any feedback or a job offer because she’d withdrawn her candidacy

          What exactly are you baffled about? I don’t understand what A had to do with B, or why C is mysterious given B?

            1. Beatrice*

              Oh nevermind. I see the LW updated in comments to say that her daughter withdrew, and now I’m confused enough that I’m not sure whether the two jobs were the same, either. Please disregard me.

              1. Jennifer Thneed*

                LW says: “My neighbor also applied for the job.” Meaning, the job her daughter applied for. Same job.

        2. Insight is both difficult and useful*

          I have a colleague who always tells co-workers he’s “confused” when he means “you are wrong”

          Your repeated statement that you are “baffled” is a polite elide — you are offended, angry, and, honestly, you are over-reacting.

          I’d be willing to lay money that your daughter is over-qualified and that this played into her hiring. Some part of you knows this — let that part out from under your anger. The “most qualified” person is the WORST hire in some situations — we just did two hiring cycles in less than two years in our department due to hiring overqualified individuals and, honestly, I’m sick of people who just wanted to get into our system because of our benefits and the preference for internal transfers.

        3. Melanie*

          Your “bafflement” comes from your sheer outrage that your, in your mind, less deserving/qualified neighbor got the job that your daughter didn’t. But what if some other person whose background you DIDN’T know got the job? Would you be so spiteful? I think you are setting a daughter/neighbor binary when really, the binary is daughter/not daughter. For whatever reason, they didn’t want your daughter. The relative merits of the person they DID want aren’t really relevant.

          Also, I think your contempt is really visible and I wouldn’t discount you personally as the reason why your “friends” chose somebody who is not your daughter. What would happen if she got into a mini conflict with a colleague? If you would react with this much emotion, then your answer is that YOU are, and always were, the problem.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Or maybe he was just more comfortable with the subject matter. It could be a matter of perspective.

      Either way, without knowing all the details, it seems he just did a little better.

      1. Close Bracket*

        “Or maybe he was just more comfortable with the subject matter.”

        Which would come out in how he answered the questions.

    3. Elle Woods*

      Yes, parking cars is work, and also, do you know for sure he wasn’t a caregiver for the elderly parents, OP? You come off really unkind here.

      This may or may not have been the right hire, but the bigger point is that there’s always more to it than you know, as black-and-white as it seems to you that your daughter was robbed of this job. Whether because he was more qualified somehow or because he had an “in” somewhere or whatever. These things happen. You and your daughter have nothing to gain and a lot to lose if you make a stink.

      1. Yvette*

        “…do you know for sure he wasn’t a caregiver for the elderly parents…” At one job there was a single guy, late twenties early thirties with a very well paying job who could have easily afforded his own place. Everyone ribbed him about living with mommy and daddy. What came out later, was that he had left a well paying job in another state and came home because his father was on a transplant list for a new heart and was unable to do ANYTHING around the house and his mom was not in such great shape either. He was basically a live-in caretaker.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          I have 2 friends, both very intelligent, motivated, kind men, who are in exactly this position – caretakers to one or more parents. I have two other friends who were in this position up until their mothers’ deaths. Supporting them as they try to get jobs afterwards has been really challenging. It’s not always obvious from the outside.

          OP: Is there a chance that your daughter is overqualified for the position? Most people will be very cautious about hiring an MA for something entry-level.

          1. TootsNYC*

            this was my thought–that the daughter is overqualified.

            if instead they chose someone who has been parking cars, maybe they were looking for someone with a more blue-collar background, or a more practical vs theoretical working experience.

            There is SUCH a difference between the two job candidates as they are described that my mind went immediately to “daughter is overqualified and they fear this could become a problem”

            1. Insight is both difficult and useful*

              exactly my thought! I’ve hired overqualified people (I work for a university and our hiring process really promotes this) and — guess what, we had to re-hire and re-hire and re-hire and IT IS EXHAUSTING and we just want someone who will stay for a whole year PLEASE

          2. Comms Girl*

            Small sidenote: Where I live (central Europe, in a city full of governmental organisations, supranational organisations, and the while ecosystem of consultancies and NGOs around them), hiring people with a MA for entry-level positions is now pretty much the norm. It’s not fair to anyone, but sadly it’s how it works nowadays.

            This doesn’t seem to be the case where LW lives, however, and it also seems to me the daughter would be over-engineered for the position, at least judging by the original letter and subsequent comments. Like Alison and many commenters often say, sometimes you really don’t need another rockstar or over-achievers, but rather a “safe” and reliable pair of hands who is happy to do support work and stay where he is for a long time.

        2. datamuse*

          A very good friend of mine was in a similar situation and it dramatically impacted their ability to accept jobs in their field until one of their parents passed away.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I can confirm that too – a teammate at an OldJob, who was there on a part-time/contract basis, told me that the only reason she’d taken the job was because her mother was in a nursing home, and this job allowed her enough flexibility to be able to drive down there if/when they called. Then one day, this teammate didn’t come into the office and a card was passed around, because her mother had passed away. She immediately quit the job (don’t believe she even came into the office after that), put the house on the market, and relocated several states away, where her husband and children had already moved by then. This situation does affect people’s choice of jobs that they can realistically work in. Maybe for this neighbor, parking cars at an amusement park was all he could do in between the caregiving.

        3. AnotherAlison*

          OP can’t know for sure, but I have seen the flip side. My cousin lived with my grandparents for about 15 years starting after high school, and he only had series of intermittent short-term jobs. He would tell people he was our grandparents’ caretaker. He was not, and I am in a position to know. He did, however, take over $200,000 from them during those years, which we know from bank records. Some people support elderly relatives, and others milk them for money. Who knows, but either way, it has no bearing on who is hired by the OP’s friends.

          1. sunny-dee*

            My aunt’s stepson did this, and it happened to an elderly neighbor of my parents. It’s why I’m not on the “the OP is sooo judgy” train — it’s entirely possible she’s wrong or judgmental, but depending on how well she knows him (or his mother) it’s entirely possible that she really does have a good read on the situation and he really is a shiftless mooch.

            1. Observer*

              Well, nothing the OP says sounds like she actually KNOWS him. And what she DOES say is factually problematic. After you simply can’t say that “someone has not worked” in the same letter as you complain that he worked a minimum wage job.

            2. morethanasecretary*

              Shiftless mooches who have been doing the same thing for 11 years, suddenly gets a job at a university so he can… continue to mooch?

          2. mcr-red*

            Yeah my former neighbor lived with his elderly grandmother and his daughter. He never worked. He apparently told people that he acted as her caregiver too (I knew people who knew his family) and would you like to know what he really did? Sold drugs. I can’t tell you how many times the police were over at that house. So I’ve seen the flip side too and am not ready to jump on the OP is mean and classist bandwagon.

        4. Dust Bunny*

          I live with my parents. They’re retired now and often travel, so they have a reliable housesitter. My dad spent the last ten years of his career working overseas and Mom is . . . “disabled” is an overstatement but she has some physical limitations and needed the help. I had a dog who needed a yard and somebody to let her in and out (it’s too hot here for her to have stayed out all day, and I didn’t want her becoming a nuisance barker out of boredom). Plus, I have landlords who have a vested interest in maintaining the building!

          Living with your parents doesn’t mean your mom is ironing your socks or holding you to a 9:00 curfew.

          1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

            Yes. A buddy of mine lived in his mother’s house until he was 40. It was a huge house because they had a huge family. My friend paid rent, did housework, and he and mom lived their own lives. Mom was a widow with the health and wherewithal to take long trips all over the place to visit relatives, so when she was away for weeks at a time, the house was occupied by a reliable adult.

          2. Not Everyone Can Be An Alumn*

            I lived with my parents in my early 20s while job searching during the recession in a relatively small scientific field, and continued to be supported by them off and on while I kept trying to make a go of that career (lots of moving around, lots of short-term work for stipends, lots of part-time jobs on top of that, etc). I was called a mooch by relatives, openly and publicly, on facebook. These relatives did not have the full story, nor did they know how much my parents and I talked about how and why they were supporting me. They did not know that I recognized the incredible privilege of having a safety net with my folks, and that being completely independent was not a realistic measurement of success at this point in time. Given that flesh and blood did not know these things, or felt it was their place to spread their take on it, I find it highly suspect that a neighbor would know the full story. Regardless, the letter still reads as being downright nasty and dismissive of this neighbor.

            Also, my brother still lives with my parents. He’s 35, a high school teacher, has a social life, and spends weekends and summers helping maintain a house that my aging parents physically cannot. He’s rebuilding a deck right now, it’s quite lovely.

        5. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yup. One of my parent’s siblings lived at home, which allowed my grandparents to stay in their own home pretty much right up to the end. Had the sibling NOT been there, they would have required some sort of (very expensive) care/support both with their own health and with the upkeep of the home. To this day, there are assholes in the family that mutter about the caretaking sibling “mooching” off their parents, not being a “real adult” since they lived at home for so long, and all sorts of other disparaging remarks, but I notice their judgmental assess were not there day-in/day-out or, in some cases, even providing a respite for the live-in sibling.

          The caregiving sibling also worked a full-time job and was hospitalized after the second grandparent died from the stress of it all. Guess who was in my grandparents’ home picking out their inheritance while the caregiver was in the hospital? The judgmental assholes.

          I certainly don’t know if neighbor guy is in the same position, but I have witnessed how little the supposed “experts” in these situations tend to actually know. MYOB, LW.

      2. LW*

        I did not mean to be unkind. I see how it could have come off like that. No, he’s not taking care of his mother. He has told me and others he planned on living off of her. However, now the family situation is worse and he has to work. Actually, I’m very happy he has found employment. His family needs the money. I’m just baffled is all. There were 2 positions open and he received one. The other one is still unfilled.

        1. Bex*

          I think this is a very interesting clarification, as it means that it really wasn’t a choice between the neighbor and the daughter. Instead, it appears that for whatever reason, they didn’t believe your daughter was a good fit for the position since they decided to keep it open and keep looking.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Her daughter withdrew from the process before a hiring decision was even made for the second position. Who knows – maybe if she hadn’t done that, they would have picked her. But if she takes her ball home before the game’s even over, there’s not much else the employer can do.

        2. Psyche*

          It sounds likely that your daughter was over qualified for the position. If she has a masters while you neighbor does not and she has more experience, they may have concluded that she would not be happy in the role. The interview may have solidified the impression that she would want a higher level position than what is available. I have come across that and I have found that if I need someone for a very entry level, basic position, hiring someone with too much experience means they will be bored and unhappy.

        3. Observer*

          None of that is really relevant, though.

          Whether he “lived off his mother” is utterly irrelevant to the hiring decision.

          Your bafflement is baffling, even if it didn’t reach the point of talking to a bunch of people and intending to talk to your friend about it.

          He got one of the positions and your daughter withdrew her candidacy! What did you expect to happen? Of course she didn’t get the second position! It wouldn’t matter if she were the PERFECT candidate. She withdrew. I can’t imagine any employer chasing down a candidate who withdrew after the first interview.

          1. serenity*

            Thank you, this exactly. Each comment from the OP has emphasized the neighbor’s completely irrelevant caring for a family member and a general tone of defensiveness.

        4. wendelenn*

          Why on earth are you still so baffled that she wasn’t hired? She withdrew her application! I’m not comprehending this, at all.

          1. une autre Cassandra*

            Sounds like Daughter withdrew and Lilly got upset because no one got back to Daughter immediately after her interview—meanwhile Neighbor got an offer.

        5. I'm just here for the comments*

          Honestly though, I’ve been known to give sarcastic deadpan answers to nosy people or when I didn’t want to give a whole detailed explanation as to my life plans. I’m not sure I can trust your neighbor was being completely serious, especially if he didn’t want to talk about how his life was going at the time. And maybe his interview was easier because he aligned more with what they were looking for, while your daughter had more pointed questions as a way to suss out if she was going to stay in the job or not. And he HAD employment, remember? The parking cars gig? That pays? It’s called a job. He happened to get a better job, that’s all. And he didn’t push out your daughter – there’s still another open slot! That she decided she wouldn’t want even if they offered! So she withdrew!!

          As to the laughter? My impression from your description was that maybe your daughter got a little salesman-pitchy in a “vote for me!” or “hire me- I’m the best!!” kinda way, cue the laughter, especially if the job description would not have her near any projects. I dunno. But it all seems neither here nor there, does it? She can chalk this up to gaining interview experience and keep looking for jobs that are more aligned with her skillset. And tell her best of luck for next time.

          TL:DR – let this go, don’t make enemies of your colleagues for making normal decisions, don’t trust you have the full story from anyone, and good luck to your daughter.

        6. morethanasecretary*

          Why are you baffled that you daughter did not get the position when she withdrew her application while it was still open?

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yep. It’s also possible that they had concerns about the daughter’s match with the role, and the pointed questions stemmed from that. Or that the neighbor is one of those people who finds interviews generally easy, or he just didn’t want to get into it with the OP, or so forth.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        He might also have previous experience that was relevant, but that the LW didn’t know about.

        I work in an medical school archive, but I used to be a veterinary assistant and my BA is in history. I don’t know who else applied for my job but both of those parts of my background have been very useful, even though they don’t seem relevant at first glance.

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I also got a whiff of classism at the
      “my daughter has a master’s while my neighbor lives off his mother” Life is unfair OP, and it would be a disservice to your daughter if you try to interfere.

    6. Akcipitrokulo*

      They may have had very similar interviewer behaviour, and someone who’s been around the interviewing block a bit more took what LW’s daughter saw as “pointed” in his stride. The diffeeence could be the interviewee’s response.

    1. LW*

      Actually not a heliparent. I deal with them quite frequently. I’ve never been involved in her school or employment. The issue is more that I’m baffled.

      1. Princess prissypants*


        As someone above said,
        “If the hiring managers get a whiff of this, they’ll think your daughter can’t manage her own career, and Mommy has to do it for her. I know that’s not the message you wanted to send, but you very likely did.”

        This is NOT your problem. It’s not your situation to deal with, solve, get angry about, hunt down a coworker about why they didn’t hire her, blame the neighbor about, assume a massive level of disrespect, etc, etc, etc.

        Just stop.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        With all due respect, you know a lot more than someone who is “not involved” would know, and even *considering* talking to them about it is very involved. I understand it feels “not involved” to you, but from an outsider’s POV, you’re right in the thick of it.

        (I feel you. I have a daughter. I’ve wanted to grab people by the collar and say WHY.)

      3. Artemesia*

        Anyone gossiping around campus about this and contemplating confronting the hiring manager so s/he knows about the behavior of the interviewer is not ‘baffled’ — they are meddling. And in addition to hurting your own career, you are probably hurting your daughter’s. It is probably too late now as all that ‘confiding’ with allies around campus has already spread this ‘concern’ far and wide.

      4. Gaia*

        Real talk: I worked at the same company as several immediate family members all of which were hired before me. I never discussed my interview details with them (not do I discuss specifics with family on any interview). Because it is my career and it isn’t relevant to them nor can they really understand the specifics since it isn’t their career and they were not there.

        You’ve got to back up. You’re too emotionally invested to view this without extreme prejudice.

      5. Managery Type who sometimes hires.*

        I’m sorry, but you are the definition of a heliparent. You know those parents that call the university on behalf of their kids? That’s you right now, but even worse because your daughter is a fully grown adult and this is her career.

        “We” decided that withdrawing her application was in her best interest
        I confided to several managers and friends
        I am going to complain about this unprofessionalism
        I am going to talk to my adult daughter’s hiring manager and find out why she wasn’t hired…

        How is this not heli-parenting? Your ADULT daughter needs to make her own career decisions, there is no WE in there. You have no business talking about her career with managers in a business that she wants to work in. You have no business complaining about an interview that you were not present for.

        Quite frankly, if I were the hiring manager and was considering her (which they may very well have been before she rescinded), and I heard her mom was whining to anyone who will listen how unfair and unprofessional I was, I’d dump her application. Not because of the fact that I am unprofessional, but because she hadn’t even received a decline, no one else was hired yet, and you were running around stomping your feet and breathing Mama Bear fire at anyone who will listen. Drama is not something that is welcome at any office.

        No one was hired yet. They didn’t hire the neighbour over her., because there were two jobs. You shot your daughter in the foot, unfortunately, and the more you shock people with this, the more you are killing her rep at this university.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          + 1

          It sounded a lot to me like mom was so indignant on daughter’s behalf that she talked her into withdrawing from consideration before a decision was even made about the second post, and is now even more incensed that no one reached out to daughter to discuss the process further. Why would they? Daughter said she no longer wanted the job!

          And if this supervisor was really mom’s friend for 20 years, why didn’t she ask daughter to take a step back and give him the benefit of the doubt that his laughter may not have been malicious? They both read negative intent here and I’m not seeing why based on what was written here.

      6. Insight is both difficult and useful*

        Contacting an employer about an adult child’s employment is, actually, the definition of high-level helicopter parenting and is frequently cited as highly shocking and inappropriate by Alison in this very blog.

      7. FormerResidentHousingAdmin*

        That’s what surprises me most. Working in a university, I’m sure you deal with parents calling to involve themselves in their student’s business. Whether it is grading, housing, finances etc. I’m sure the parents contacting you about a bad rooming assignment, an overdrawn bill or a bad grade feel like they are doing the right and just thing as well, on behalf of the student and all the wronged students

        And you’re doing the same thing. Contacting people behind the scenes, judging a situation you have no role in, trying to come in like a white knight to… do what? Are you trying to champion your daughter and show your “friends” how wrong they are? Are you trying to right the wrongs for all the applicants who have bad interviews?

        At what point does your daughter get to learn how to deal with a shitty interview on her own and how to deal with the unfairness of the world. You won’t always be there for the pep talk and to tell her to pull her application.

      8. aa*

        Your daughter rescinded her application (if she hadn’t. she might have got the job, but now you’ll never know). Why exactly are you baffled?

  4. CatCat*

    Yeah, don’t overstep, OP. Sounds like you don’t really have all the facts about your neighbor and you are harboring biases about the neighbor and your daughter. You and the hiring panel are looking through different lenses.

    (Characterizing the neighbor as unemployed seems odd since the neighbor has a part-time job…)

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This is definitely the most generous reading of OP’s outrage. OP is making this personal, and it’s just not personal. OP should absolutely keep out of it—nothing good will come from intervention or demanding answers.

  5. Oh So Anon*

    They interviewed my daughter, who said the interview was pointed and in one instance, one of my friends who interviewed her laughed at her when she said she could help him with a particular job he wanted accomplished, and she has not had a call back.

    This sounds like a messy and unfortunate situation LW, but is there some possibility that your daughter came across a bit…gumption-y during her interview? Also, is this a situation where she may be somewhat overqualified for the job?

    It doesn’t really sound like your coworkers made the best possible hire, but I’ve gotta wonder if your daughter might have displayed some potential red flags during the interview that your coworker dealt with awkwardly, like with the laughter thing.

    1. Ginger*

      This is my read as well.

      OP – your daughter might have come across like she could do someone’s job better than them. Could be a case of crossed communication wires (she thought she was offering to solve a problem, interviewer heard her say she could swoop in and fix something she knows nothing about).

      Your neighbor probably doesn’t tell you 100% of everything – why they weren’t working, how the interview really went. Because it’s none of your darn business. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything about your neighbor, or your adult daughter.

      1. JSPA*

        It doesn’t even have to be that they were in fear of her stepping on toes; overqualified is overqualified. You don’t mention the nature of the job, but perhaps it’s something that’s more hum-drum in practice than how it sounds on paper?

        If (for example) they want someone who’s low key, easy to get along with, and perfectly content to fill the printer, unjam the printer, put out the cookies before the seminar, go ask Joan about whether the water under the drinking fountain is condensation or a leak, fix the printer again, stop by the mail room, check that every site has the required federal safety and nondiscrimination postings posted and visible, and then unjam the printer again…they want someone who’s affable, competent to do exactly the (possibly modest though time-sucking) duties required, and happy to be working.

        Separately, yeah, telling people that you could help them do their job better sounds like an attack of Gumption at exactly the wrong moment. At minimum, it’s a failure to verify what they’re looking for, and substituting what you think they need that you can offer, in its place. Not a winning interview strategy.

        1. Light37*

          Exactly. And they are not wrong to want this kind of person for that job, because that is the person who isn’t going to get frustrated that they aren’t doing more advanced work.

    2. Fortitude Jones*

      Also, is this a situation where she may be somewhat overqualified for the job?

      This is what I was thinking. The interview team could have thought the daughter would be itching to move up quickly if she was hired in this role (daughter sounds very ambitious, which is a good thing), but maybe they don’t need someone to move up? It’s possible they want someone who will be happy in this position for however long they need it filled, and they suspect the neighbor would be happy to be in the role without necessarily wanting to gain more responsibility.

      And if daughter has mom’s attitude, that may have come out at some point during the interview as well, and the team decided the neighbor was more congenial and would be a better personality fit on the team.

      1. Works in IT*

        This. Our helpdesk has soooo many ambitious applicants who give off an “I’m going to be phenomenal at everything so you will let me transfer to another department!” who end up quitting soon after when they realize the expected opportunity to transfer isn’t going to reveal itself any time soon because the people in those positions have no desire to move on. Someone who is ambitious in an “I’m hoping to be fast tracked to a promotion because I’m over qualified” way would not be a culture fit for us purely because they wouldn’t be satisfied with the “sorry, promotions only open up when someone moves on” reality. It’s one thing to hire someone who is overqualified and is aware they are overqualified but still willing to put in the work, it’s another thing entirely to hire someone who gives the impression that they think their over qualifications will give them the right to use this position that needs to be filled as a temporary stepping stone to an internal transfer to a “better” job.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yup – sometimes companies really do just need competent, warm bodies to fill a seat. Not everyone needs to be a rockstar and not every position is meant to be a launching pad to something greater.

          1. Works in IT*

            Or even if they are meant to be a launching pad to something greater, the “something greater” might not become available for at least a year. “I am overqualified for this mediocre job, you will see this and give me something else” is gumptiony and bad, “I am overqualified but I know everyone has to start somewhere” is more understandable. Because there are still lots of overqualified people out there whose lives were messed up by the recession and are trying to get their lives back on track.

        2. Anon for this*

          Again, can confirm. We had a situation a few years ago where we interviewed three people for one open position. All three were good. We (the interviewers) disagreed on which of the three was the best. But the person that we hired was the one none of us had marked as the best candidate; because we were all worried that the best candidates would run away screaming after a month, but that this third candidate would stick around (as they did). This actually helped me handle my own job rejections better. It made me realize that, if a company sends you a rejection or does not call back, it is not necessarily because they think you’re awful – might be the exact opposite.

          1. Sharrbe*

            Your last sentence is so true. Mom is treating this like a popularity contest. It doesn’t matter how qualified someone is on paper, they still may not be the best fit for that particular department. Her “friends” have to think about the functioning of their workplace, not the LW’s feelings about the worthiness of her daughter. They guy, for whatever reason, really clicked with them.

      2. AnotherAlison*


        Also: if the daughter is professionally employed, and the neighbor isn’t, perhaps they were able to get the neighbor hired for a rate that they didn’t think the daughter would readily accept.

        I’d also consider the OP’s friends know here tendency to butt in and don’t want her in their professional business w.r.t. her daughter. OP could be the reason.

      3. Ethyl*

        Yup, especially since this is a role in a university — a lot of times the staff positions are pretty static in that environment. Spouse has been working in IT at a university for about ten years and has had one promotion because that’s just how things are structured. There’s not really anywhere to move *to,* without someone leaving or retiring.

      4. MusicWithRocksInIt*

        Personally I’ve worked with several people who I consider great work friends, who have daughters they think are AMAZING – who I would never ever hire. Because they tell me stories about their daughters – and while they think the things they got up to are hilarious or adorable or gumptiony – it has caused some side eye from me. Sometimes when parents think their kids are the best thing ever and tell stories about them, other people can pick up problematic things the parents are blind to. No – I don’t think it’s cute your daughter woke up everyone super early in the morning in her dorm hallway because one person woke her up late at night. Other people are gonna see your kid differently than you do.

    3. always in email jail*

      This is exactly what stuck out to me as well. It’s very possible they were not looking for suggestions or input on that particular problem, and having someone suggest they could fix it without being fully aware of the facts was a huge turnoff.

    4. LW*

      She may have. I don’t really know. I know her personality and she’s a quiet sort. She’s worked on campus before and is very familiar with these folks as well as others. Either way, it’s a learning experience for her.

      1. DollarStoreParty*

        I would be baffled too, especially if they were my good friends.

        Since you are friends, will there/could there be a point in the future where your daughter sees these people either socially or while visiting you at work where it’ll be awkward and she can ask them herself about why he laughed at that statement? I personally kind of want to know too!

        Also, are the jobs the same? Was she asked more pointed questions because she’d have more responsiblity, where the neighbor was more casual because it’s less? Or, because they knew her they may have gone out of their way to overcompensate and not give her the impression that she would get special treatment because she is your daughter, even though no one, especially you, expected any kind of special treatment?
        Sometimes people go to an extreme to avoid another extreme. Ugh.

      2. morethanasecretary*

        This should be a learning experience for you as well.

        The fact that you wrote in basically asking permission to go mama bear on colleagues, and then continued SEVERAL TIMES to be “baffled” why your perfect daughter was not picked for a job (that she turned down before a decision had been made) after receiving many explanations tells me you don’t see the need to keep out of your daughter’s professional life.

    5. neeko*

      Yeah. The overqualified for the job really seems to be the issue. I’ve been there. People can tell (or perhaps just assume) that you are too qualified and would just stay until you find a better job. I find this ESPECIALLY true for people with master degrees.

  6. Snarkus Aurelius*

    Two other things jump out at me:

    1) If your daughter has a master’s degree and job experience, I’m going to assume she’s an adult. You cannot intervene in this matter even if you didn’t know these people. You have no right to this information. I would never discuss a job with anyone else other than the candidate.

    2) Your daughter “has worked with several friends” of yours? Why? If she’s in a certain field, I could see that, but, and you may not have intended this, it looks like you’ve had a steady hand in her work life for most of the time she has been working. That is definitely a problem if she has a few or no jobs that didn’t involve you?

    Plus if her bosses are friends of yours, they’re not going to tell you she’s terrible. The personal and professional lines are too blurry for that. Do consider that.

    1. ES*

      I was also wondering about the daughter working for the mother’s friends before. I wonder if that was part of what made the interview feel so pointed, if the daughter has worked in multiple fields where the only link would be that she was working for her mother’s friends?

      1. GreenDoor*

        A good hiring team would have intentionally asked pointed questions. I know I would want to really drill down to just how qualified the candidate is vs. how qualfied her mommy says she is!

        1. Artemesia*

          And we don’t know that the successful candidate was NOT asked ‘pointed questions’ — just that he found them easy. The person who finds a test easy is not necessarily doing a different test than the one who finds it hard.

          1. londonedit*

            Also, if my neighbour came up to me and asked me how a job interview had gone, I’d probably just respond with something non-committal like ‘Oh, yes, fine, thank you’. I wouldn’t go into great detail about whether I found the questions difficult or not. I’m imagining the neighbour said something similar, ‘Oh it was fine, thanks – all fairly straightforward stuff’ whereas the daughter, obviously, went into much more detail talking to her mother about her own interview. It’s a completely different relationship.

            1. Pommette!*

              (All the more so if my judgemental neighbour who works and is friends with the people who interviewed me asked me how the interview had gone).

      2. JSPA*

        Eh, this could have been babysitting or a few hours of filing or other such jobs, age 10 to 16, where leads are often going to come through your parents and their friends. Or it could be a small town where people generally know each others. Or college town, where students disappear in the summer, and competent local talent is in high demand.

        Sounds like daughter has an admirable, fulfilling, essential job. Not that they should therefore hold it against her if she want’s a change, but (again, small town thinking) it could be they didn’t want to hire her away from doing that, for the town’s sake.

        Or (again, not their call to make, but) they may feel it would be a step in the wrong direction for her, career-wise (if the job description sounds better than they know the actual job and advancement prospects, to be).

        Or they may be instituting a “try not to hire friends” / anti-nepotism policy.

        So long as they’re not discriminating on the basis of any protected characteristics (and there’s no evidence that this is so), they’re not even required to ascertain who’s “best for the job” by some neutral yardstick–let alone who’s “best” in some grand universal sense.

    2. Tango Foxtrot*

      This is definitely worth considering.

      My brother and father work in the same field, in the same state. They share a fairly uncommon last name and my father is very well-known in his field. Other than my brother letting us know when he changes companies or my father occasionally getting an email saying “[Brother] just applied with us; are you related?” my father makes a point of staying wayyy out of my brother’s work relationships.

      My uncle is also well-known in his field, and also has a son in the same field. He’s always telling us what jobs he’s recommended my cousin for, what he’s heard about their interviews, who he’s been talking to about prospective jobs.

      My brother and my cousin share the same education and a lot of the same accomplishments and skills. My brother gets a lot more second interviews and job offers than my cousin. Could be coincidence, but it’s worth considering.

    3. LW*

      My daughter is an adult. I have never discussed any job with any of her employers here or elsewhere. She can handle herself and does so quite well. The only reason she has ever worked with people I knew was because she went to school where I work. She currently has a job not on campus in her professional field. She thought she’d like to return to school for a 2nd masters–which is why she applied.

      If she was a terrible employee I would expect that they would terminate her. I made this clear to her other supervisors when she worked on campus. I do consider that. Thank you for your opinion.

      1. Honey Badger*

        LW, I think the best thing you can do here is be honest with yourself that you aren’t objective and let this go. I’ve noticed several times when you’ve contradicted yourself in the letter and in comments. Neighbor is unemployed, but also works part-time. Your daughter didn’t hear anything back, but then you later said she rescinded her application (this contradiction was sort-of kind-of cleared up in further comments?). In the above comment, you say “I have never discussed any job with any of her employers…” but in the next paragraph you say “I made this clear to her other supervisors when she worked on campus.”

        The truth is that no heliparent labels themselves as such. They rationalize by telling themselves there is something unique about their child or the situation. And maybe you aren’t a heliparent at this point, but if you approach your co-workers about their hiring decision, you will most certainly become one.

        1. Elle Woods*

          YEP, and there’s also “”i’ve never discussed any job…” and also “all of my friends told me she was the best employee they had ever had.” Well, then how did that subject come up?

          1. Anne (with an “e”)*

            +100 I have worked steadily since I was fifteen. My mother has *never* had any conversations with any of my bosses ever. I would absolutely be mortified if my mother and supervisors had ever discussed my job performance with each other. That just is not right. It should not happen.

            1. Perpal*

              FWIW, I worked several times for people my mom knew… summer jobs filing at a lawfirm, babysitting, that kind of stuff. I was pretty independent though still living at home at the time, but it did somehow get back to my mom that I was “the best employee”; who knows. (I dunno about the best employee ever but it’s easy to be good at an entry level job when some of the others are pretty unreliable about showing up every day)
              Mom also set me up on some rotations with people she knew, that I didn’t get ultimately hired on for… one was still a good experience, one was amazingly toxic in weird ways and I regret I gave up something more interesting to me for it. I’m still low-level-pissed at that other group and my mom gave them the permanent side-eye too, which I think was justified.
              LW does I think need to take a step back, but I have no idea whether something insulting did happen here vs if something pretty normal happened.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I co-sign this. I’m concerned that OP doesn’t have the distance to see how her response looks to strangers from the outside (which is fair! I don’t know that I could objectively observe myself, either). The responses and focus on “unacceptable” behavior makes OP sound even more invested than she may realize. That may be affecting the scope of options she’s considering for dealing with this situation.

          OP, I would strongly encourage you to let all of this lie, including the “laughing in her face” concern. I know that none of us have the context and additional information that you have. That said, based on what you’ve provided so far, I’m a little worried that your assessment of what happened or is happening may be off.

      2. Princess prissypants*

        “I have never discussed any job with any of her employers here or elsewhere.”

        “I made this clear to her other supervisors when she worked on campus. “

        1. I'm just here for the comments*

          This is an unintentionally hilarious line for a comedy. OP, I’m hoping you can see the irony in your words.

      3. A tiny pastry builder called Neville*

        “She thought she’d like to return to school for a 2nd masters–which is why she applied.”

        This might be part of the problem, honestly – it’s possible (as others have speculated) that having a master’s already makes her overqualified for the job and/or more expensive to hire, and they may have worried that pursuing a second master’s would make her even more of a potential flight risk or that she’d be more focused on her schoolwork than the job in front of her. (Not an inherently unreasonable priority, for her personally; but definitely not great from a hiring manager’s point of view.) Whereas your neighbor was interested in the job for its own sake.

        1. Psyche*

          It could also be availability. She may need more flexibility than they want to give in order to fit in her classes.

        2. Snarkus Aurelius*

          Plus if she said that to me, I’d think she was looking for any job because the school environment was more important than the work environment, which would also explain why it’s a new field for her. I would be turned off a little.

        3. Light37*

          It might be that they want someone who sees the job as an end in itself and not a stepping stone.

      4. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I want to leave you with one question for yourself: do you think you are a little too emotionally invested in your adult daughter’s work life?

        People don’t get jobs all the time for a variety of reasons that may or may not have to do with them. But the parents who want to complain about their adult children’s professional interactions are not the norm. Not by a long shot.

        I’m asking you to take a step back and really evaluate how much emotional energy you’ve put into your daughter’s career and whether that’s a good idea.

        Heh I’m a Gen Xer, and I’m not sure my parents know what I do. They know I work for the government, but that’s it.

        1. Rainy*

          Yeah, I’m also an Xer and my parents know where I work (I think, I’ve bought them gear at least!) but have absolutely no idea what I do, despite having been told a few times.

        2. Gaia*

          Millennial (elder variety) here: my mother and grandparents have zero clues about what I do. My mother knows it has something to do with IT (nope) and my grandfather thinks I’m a scientist (not even close). I see no reason to correct it, it rarely comes up.

        3. iglwif*

          I’m a Gen Xer, and my mom knows quite a lot about what I do, because we’ve worked in similar and overlapping areas for a long time. She has even met some of my co-workers! As a teenager, I got many of my jobs (babysitting, cat-sitting, house-sitting, and a variety of office-dogsbody-type things) via the good ol’ method of “this person knows my mom, has known me since I was in diapers / in kindergarten / in middle school, and thinks I’m responsible enough to handle whatever the work is”. If I went on a job interview, I would probably tell her, at least in general terms, how I thought it went.

          And … my mom knows very well that if she ever, in any way, tried to get involved in any actual or potential employment relationship of mine, I would be absolutely furious. She knows very well that if I’m complaining about a work situation or telling a work story, it’s 100% because I’m venting or need a sounding board or think she’ll be amused, and 0% because I want or need her to do anything about it. (And vice versa, of course.)

          ONE TIME, when I was in high school, she phoned a department head and made a case for me to get into a class that required an 80% mark in the previous course even though I’d barely scraped a 79%. She had never done anything like that before. It didn’t work out well, and she apologized and said she’d learned her lesson and would never do it again. And she hasn’t.

      5. Antilles*

        If she was a terrible employee I would expect that they would terminate her.
        As an aside, this isn’t even remotely true.
        There are many, *many* terrible employees who retain their jobs. Read the AAM archives; we literally can’t go two weeks without at least one letter that could be summed up as “this guy should have been fired months/years ago, but the manager in charge is refusing to do their job of enforcing discipline”.

        1. BRR*

          It took me a couple of times reading this but I think the LW meant they made it clear to their daughter’s managers that the LW expects the daughter to be fired if she was bad. Aka no special privileges

          1. Artemesia*

            I just shuddered at the thought of making my presence that large in the lives of my daughter’s managers. Saying ‘I want you to treat her like everyone else’ is implying that you have the power to expect or demand otherwise. Shudder. Poor kid.

          2. morethanasecretary*

            And that is the problem. She shouldn’t be making ANYTHING clear to her daughter’s supervisors. She shouldn’t have contact with her supervisors unless it was an emergency.

      6. Sharrbe*

        Not getting this job doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an exemplary work record. You seem to assume that getting rejected means that this particular hiring committee has deemed her a bad person and potential employee when neither of those are true. She sounds bright and ambitious and kind…………but still young and not certain what she wants to do which is FINE and great for someone in their twenties. Don’t, though, hold it against the hiring committee for believing that she wasn’t the right fit for that particular job. They are probably looking for long-term and settled (because hiring and trianing is a daunting process). She’s done nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong. They just have different goals. Move on! You are not teaching your daughter to handle disappointment well by harboring this resentment. She is in for a lifetime of disappointments (as we all are) and she needs to know how to pick herself up and move on to better things. Heck, she may be so ecstatic about her next job that she will tell you that she’s GLAD she got passed over for this one.

  7. serenity*

    Not getting hired can sting sometimes, for sure, but as Alison said there are scores of reasons why some people get hired *for a specific job* and others do not, despite more experience or more credentials. For your sake and for the sake of continued good relationships with your colleagues, I would move on, OP. And not for nothing, but your letter is quite pointedly judgmental about your neighbor’s son with what seems to be some low-key classism showing up in the language you’re using.

  8. YikesOnBikes*

    Yikes. So much judgment about your neighbor. Do you really know that he “lives off his parents”? Do you know their rent system? If he helps them in the house? If maybe they just enjoy a really close relationship? I’m guessing the neighbor is a nice dude. If he weren’t, the tone of this letter makes me think you would mention it. The worst thing you can say about him is that he doesn’t have a high-brow job (that you know of). Are you sure he’s not in school? Or operating his own business on the side?
    Further, it’s funny that you use the fact that he described the interview as “easy” as proof that your friends took it easy on him. Could it be… in fact… that he’s a smart, charming person who knows how to get along with people? Or is that skill set reserved for people who don’t work at amusement parks?

    1. a1*

      She may very well know all this. Some people know their neighbors quite well. That doesn’t change the fact that she should *not* ask her friends about the hiring decision, though.

    2. LW*

      I do know the situation since I’ve known them for almost 30 years. I have been trying to help him out.

      To clear up the situation, I’m actually very happy he has found employment.

      I’ve worn several hats in my life, one of which was cleaning houses. I never said I didn’t like him. Just that I didn’t like what he did to his mother.

      1. Ella Vader*

        You don’t fully know what goes on inside your neighbor’s house any more than they know fully what goes on in your marriage. You only know what people want you to know.

  9. CatCat*

    Also, IDK about the daughter here, but I’d be LIVID if I found out my mother had been nosing around about my interview with the hiring panel.

    1. The Original K.*

      Me too. I always think that when I read helicopter parent stories, that I’d be furious and mortified by such parental interference.

    2. MsM*

      I think it’s a little weird daughter went into so much detail to begin with. I don’t generally give my parents more info on my job interviews than “I thought it went well/could’ve gone better, but we’ll see.”

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This depends on your relationship with your parents completely.

        I give my parents all the details, why wouldn’t I? I also share that information with my partner and my closest friends. The difference is that my parents aren’t meddlesome and they never use this kind of information to then try to “do something” about a rejection.

        So yeah, if the OP’s daughter knows that it’s normal for her parents to overstep, certainly they should be more cautious. However we also know a lot of people around here that have overbearing parents who they cannot seem to get to accept the minimal “It went well, we’ll just have to see.”

        So in general, that’s a pretty unfair statement as to it being weird having shared more information than you personally would have.

        1. MsM*

          Fair. I might’ve been less judgmental if OP hadn’t decided to include the “competition” living with his parents as part of her argument for why he didn’t deserve the job, though.

      2. Works in IT*

        Eh, my parents have so many friends at the place I work (only big employer in this small city) that I expect them to eventually hear that I applied for any positions here I apply for. Might as well give them updates so they’re hearing from me that I applied for this position that I don’t expect to get but I’m making sure my resume makes it through the electronic application system without being auto rejected, so that when the position I want opens up I will be able to apply with no problems, rather than from dad’s coworker going “awww, it’s too bad Works in IT didn’t get the position. My son (who works with me) is so confused, she was obviously the most qualified candidate who applied!”

        If they hear it from me, they’ll be puzzled by my general “meh” attitude to the whole situation, but assume my mehness is because I’m a worthless excuse for humanity. If they hear it from someone else, they’ll go on an angry warpath about how dare you people not hire the best candidate! (Still not sure how I’m simultaneously Smart and Qualified and also a worthless excuse for humanity in their minds, but oh well).

      3. Jill March*

        During my job search, that’s how I answered the question. But I could see going into more detail if one of my parents knew/worked with/was good friends with one or more of the interviewers. (Actually, imagining that scenario in my head… I would not apply for that job for that exact reason. Don’t cross the streams!)

      4. Lizzy May*

        My mom and I worked for the same national company for a few years in different locations and when I interviewed for internal jobs, I shared everything with her because she was the only person in my life who would get all of it. But I did so knowing that she respected my boundaries and would never interfere in the process in any way.

      5. Adminx2*

        If it’s how they were raised to be so enmeshed, they see it as totally normal, maybe even a sign of how close and strong their relationship is.

      6. LW*

        I agree with you. I never hear anything about any of her interviews in the past. However, this one was with people I know as well as people she’s known since she was a little girl. That might be why she shared with me.

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          Personally, I would be very reluctant to hire anyone I had known since they were a child. Too potentially fraught with mixing business with personal attachments.

        2. nonymous*

          ha! When I’m working with people who I haven’t known since childhood, if they have kids my age, there is a percentage that mentally categorizes me as “one of the kids”. It can be hard to overcome when professional friendliness is not enough to get routine transactions processed.

      7. iglwif*

        If I had a job interview, I’d probably talk it through with my mom pretty thoroughly.

        But I also know that she knows that — just like when I complain about a work situation or tell a funny work story — I am doing that 100% for thinking-it-through-out-loud or venting or amusement purposes and 0% because I want, need, or expect her to do anything about it.

        If I thought for a second she’d react like the LW here, I wouldn’t tell her anything.

  10. Veryanon*

    Parents of young adult children: your role in your child’s job search is to coach from the sidelines and offer advice if requested. That’s it. Don’t call interviewers on your child’s behalf. Don’t contact the recruiter and ask them why they won’t hire Baby Snookums. Just. Don’t.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Preach! Not just young children, it doesn’t stop when you’re young. I’m 35 and my dad is still unaware of this, it’s the “You stay young as I grow old” trap parents can find themselves in

      My dad thinks I’m perfect and will go into a dad-tirade if I don’t get something but it’s all just his love spewing out of his mouth in that “How dare they not see that you’re the smartest person who can totally literally move mountains if you wanted to because yeah, that’s my kid, sheer perfection!!!!! Everyone who says differently is the worst and clearly possibly Satan himself. Silly people, just cannot see the angel standing in front of them, poor unfortunate souls.”

      But does he ever try to talk to anyone else that way? No. Let alone talking to a potential employer, no no no no no, never crosses his mind. He’s aware that it’s inappropriate and will only do harm, it’s also just incredibly out of place.

      He just grumbles and breathes his dad-fire all over the comfort of his own home. While I just put the phone on speaker and do the dishes while he dads-it-up for awhile.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          He’s pretty fantastic. He’s slightly exhausting when it comes to trying to explain reality to him, such as “no dad, I do not make a million dollars a year because that’s absurd.” “Some people make more than a million dollars a year, so IDK why you think I’m the crazy one!!!”

          I’m well aware that when the worst thing you can say about your parents is “They think I’m too awesome and will not listen to me tell them I am actually just a mortal.”, I can find my own seat ;)

      1. Veryanon*

        LOL. I’m 50, and my mother *still* does this. So I don’t think it ever stops. As the parent of two young adult children (well, one young adult and one high schooler), I have to keep reminding myself on a daily basis to stay in my lane.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s all good, it’s a good instinct to have when you can still keep the voice in the back of your head telling you to slow down and let them handle it themselves ;)

          I didn’t go on to have kids of my own but I sure got that personality trait in the sense that when my friends are “wronged”, I go on my dad-like-rants. Which is mostly just for the comic relief of it all in the end but I can do grind an axe in the name of Someone Important To Me waaaaaaaay longer [usually forever, not gonna lie] than if someone were to “wrong” me.

      2. Clisby*

        I think I love your dad. I feel the same way when my kids want to do something and it doesn’t quite work out, because they are the most amazing kids on the planet! But I keep that to myself, eat some extra chocolate ice cream, and get over it.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Just make sure you share it with them in small doses as well, since a lot of adult kids don’t get the pleasure of their parents being so blindly devoted to them. I know too many people who have the problem of “I’ll never get my parents approval, they think I’m such a putz, etc.” and so therefore it has really kept my head on pretty straight over the years knowing my parents have never and will never be disappointed /in/ me. They’ll be disappointed FOR me when necessary and that’s been an absolute weight off my shoulders when I’m already down on myself.

  11. Maude*

    OP, Do you live in an extremely small town? The applicants to an opening in your department were your daughter and your neighbor? Unless there are absolutely no other openings in her field, your daughter should reconsider working so closely with you anyway. Many places would not want to hire family members that work under the same reporting structure.

    1. LW*

      Very good point, Maude. I don’t think she’ll apply in this office again. The only reason she did is she would like to return to school to get a PhD or second Master’s.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        If they’re aware of that, that may very well explain why she was not the chosen canidate.

        1. MissDisplaced*

          I was also hoping for a university job back when I was starting my masters. I did get one, but only part-time, so no tuition benefits.

          In thinking about this, that could very well be the reason. I know that tuition usually is a perk, but perhaps it’s not available or they just felt it was her only reason for applying and she had no real interest in the actual job and/or it didn’t match her career trajectory.

        2. Mel*

          Yes, I learned (from great advice I got here) to NOT mention that I was interested in going back for grad school in a few years. After getting this advice (from a fellow reader), I was able to nail the interview and was hired. I love where I’m working, and my career plans changed, so not mentioning grad school worked out perfectly.

      2. Oh So Anon*

        Oy vey. Look. Everyone knows that tuition benefits are a big perk of working at most higher ed institutions, and in some cases hiring managers will be okay with a candidate being transparent about their educational goals if they’re pursuing a credential that will help them long-term in the job they’re applying for. The best example I can think of is all the BA-holding student affairs folks who do their MEd’s and EdD’s where they’re employed.

        Someone applying for a job completely unrelated to their current credentials, who sounds like they’re aiming for a graduate program that has nothing to do with the job for which they’re applying…nope nope nope. This isn’t even about the need to hold up the polite fiction of not wanting the job for tuition benefits, it’s because it’s transparent that she didn’t want or should have the job to begin with.

  12. Blossom*

    Maybe they didn’t want to hire her *because* she’s your daughter and they’re your friends? Potential for (more) blurred boundaries. Nothing to stop her asking for feedback, anyway.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      That’s another good point – they probably already know OP’s temperament and don’t want to deal with that should they ever need to correct the daughter about her work.

    2. pcake*

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Your friends could see potential bumps in the road ahead if they hired a friend’s daughter.

    3. Kimmybear*

      This was my first thought. My second was that maybe they thought the daughter would get bored with the position quickly.

    4. Essess*

      Also, without being in the room you don’t know your daughter’s attitude in the interview… Did she go in all cocky expecting that “of course” she has the job because they know her mom and expected to just coast in the interview, while the neighbor expected it to be a standard interview and so he prepared for standard interview questions? if she did, then actual questions about work and experience would seem “pointed” to her but easy for him? Everything mom knows has been filtered by the daughter’s viewpoint. The interactions in an interview are give and take between the interviewer and interviewee so the daughter cannot know exactly what impressions the interviewers had from her and be fully objective about her side of the experience.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Yes, this. I’ve learned to not trust any report of another person’s words except the actual words themselves. The actual question, quoted exactly? Sure, and my opinion might differ from yours. But you just saying that the questions were “pointed”? All I have there is your opinion, and I’ve been in too many multi-party conversations where I know what was actually said, and I disagree with other people’s assessments. Add the 3rd-party aspect to it (meaning, we are getting Mom’s report of Daughter’s report) and it’s just a giant game of Operator.

  13. Flipping Burgers Thinking About My MFA That Cost Way Too Much*

    It didn’t click until I reread the letter and saw “university.” Academia hiring is pure politics at every level. I think not being more involved in your daughter’s hiring might have even backfired in this instance. The other guy likely knew someone on the inside who was fighting for him. While it might not have been a good idea for you to interfere or butt your head in on the hiring process on your daughter’s behalf, it likely would have been a good idea to enlist someone to go to bat for her in your stead.

    I think AAM gives smart advice, including in this case. Academia and universities are a weird, weird beast, and generally very culturally cut-throat and often outright unjust. It is likely your daughter was not given a fair chance. But it’s not a good idea to make a fuss about it now.

    1. mcr-red*

      That’s good to know, I’ve applied for several university jobs where I thought I fit the description perfectly, had a good interview, and then NOPE.

      1. Flipping Burgers Thinking About My MFA That Cost Way Too Much*

        I feel for you. Many of my peers are in academia and honestly, it’s often a level of dysfunction that’s astounding. In my city, I know that the two really big, nationally-recognized universities/colleges never actually hire from the outside for non-tenure or staff positions, they only go through the motions of doing so because it’s “required” by the university by-laws to interview people outside the university. And in general, networking and conferencing and who-you-know are almost more important in university settings than they are elsewhere, it’s that bad. (There’s also the small problem of universities producing way too many Masters and PhDs than they can realistically give work to…)

        Anyways, I’ll stop ranting there. But yeah, it’s all politics and who is going to bat for you. It’s a tough sector.

        1. Clisby*

          About this: “(There’s also the small problem of universities producing way too many Masters and PhDs than they can realistically give work to…)”

          Surely the expectation isn’t that people who get Masters and PhDs are going to work for the universities where they got their degrees?

          My daughter is in a PhD program and has no intention of working in academia. Plus, I thought universities tended not to hire their own PhDs (not sure about Masters candidates). Maybe I’m off-base there.

          1. Close Bracket*

            The “they” is collective. Universities collectively produce more advanced degree holders than they collectively can hire back.

          2. BethDH*

            Yeah, I’m betting that was actually a different way of saying “more than they can place” not direct hiring. It’s a common topic of conversation in certain academic circles, and to some degree more widely, that programs are accepting many more students than can reasonably find jobs at the other end.

            1. Clisby*

              OK, I can see that perspective. It just never occurred to me that universities (collectively) would themselves be hiring all the advanced-degree students they had graduated. I mean, there are industries out there that really want MA/PhD people. (I’m thinking of the science/tech positions, but I’m sure there are others.)

              1. PollyQ*

                There mostly aren’t other career paths for MA/Ph.D’s for the non-STEM fields, though. If you want to put your degree to work, academia’s pretty much the only game.

          3. nonymous*

            My PI in grad school specifically said she could not give me any career advice b/c she had always worked in academia. In my mind this was a complete cop-out, because she had other students who went on to industry, right? Why couldn’t she recommend me to a former student in a mentorship capacity?

            Half a decade later I am watching someone from my cohort (same PI) self-fund her own post-doc and just recently get hired at less than the grad student stipend rate. So literally, my former PI got grad school research, 2 years of free post doc work, and now is paying less than 1/2 the cost of a grad student for a highly productive researcher. Meanwhile my former classmate is singing this PI’s praises b/c she thinks the position might be converted to TT one day, and is living a state away from her own husband (with a toddler). I think the current goal is to bring in a big grant with her name on it to “force” the University to convert the position.

      2. Pommette!*

        I’ve applied for maaaany university jobs (I live in a small university town), and have been hired a few times.

        One thing that I learned, and wish that I had known sooner, back when I was disheartened by the steady rejections: many university jobs are essentially earmarked for existing internal candidates. Many roles are primarily funded through short-term grants or short-term internal funding allocations, and are therefore filled using temporary contracts. This is true for any research-related staff position, but it’s also true for a lot of admin and technician positions. So often when a new job is created for official purposes, it’s really just a continuation of an old job. Universities tend have a lot of rules about hiring (meant to avoid nepotism and political hiring), and the result is that positions that are essentially already filled have to get posted, and that people will get brought in to interview for those positions. There’s no good way to distinguish between pro-forma postings and “real” ones.

        And then you also have to compete with people who worked in the department you’re applying to and did a great job, but lost their contract. When a new and different contract comes up, they may get preferential treatment if the hiring committee already knows and likes their work.

        Anyways, good luck with your search!

    2. Hermione'sAtTheLibrary*

      If it’s a state run university, it may be the exact opposite — there are very strict rules for how candidates are assessed and reviewed, and having someone on the “inside” usually makes exactly zero difference. My husband applied for a position at my university, and even though they knew him and liked him, they couldn’t even give him a courtesy interview because he didn’t meet enough of the requirements in the PD compared to the rest of the pool. I think OP was smart to stay out of it and should continue to stay out of it.

      1. Anonymeece*

        I work at a community college, and this. We have very strict policies on how we can hire, including, like you said, not even granting courtesy interviews to candidates who don’t meet the bare requirements.

        While higher-up jobs (like deans, VPs, etc) can be a matter of who-you-know, most jobs below that level tend to be very by the book.

        I wouldn’t bank on this being, “Oh, it’s just academia!”. More likely, the daughter didn’t interview well, or they were worried that since she has a Master’s, she’d get bored… I can tell you in my department, we get a lot of adjuncts who apply for jobs because their classes didn’t make that semester (so they plan on jumping ship next semester) or are trying to get any job so they can be an internal candidate for F/T professorships. I literally have had one put, “I’m just trying to get my foot in the door” on their cover letter. There’s a lot of reasons why the daughter may not have gotten the position! But it’s up to her to ask, politely, for feedback, not OP.

        1. Oh So Anon*

          Absolutely agree. And the who-you-know situations below the dean/VP level tend to be a matter of knowing someone through your professional network because you’re both active in your professional/sector organization. The people active in that kind of professional development usually meet or exceed the bare requirements, so it’s not even as though they’re getting an interview entirely because of nepotism. Then again, the types of jobs where this comes into play are almost always at least a bit above entry-level.

      2. Belle of the Midwest*

        State university in the midwest, and it’s the same way here. It has not always been thus–we suffered under an assistant dean who was the golden mentee of a way-too-powerful vice chancellor several years ago because the rules were loosey-goosey. But a couple of years ago, our university system clamped down on confidentiality and now our hiring process has so many firewalls that hiring committees cannot discuss applicants or first-round interview candidates with the director who will be supervising the candidate, until we get to the final round. We may have gone too far the other way with these rules, but I like them better than I did the old way.

      3. LunaLena*

        State-run university staff here, and my experience has been the same as Hermione’sAtTheLibrary, not FlippingBurger’s. I’ve been on several hiring committees now, for both faculty and staff, and there are policies in place to ensure that every applicant has a fair shot and politics aren’t involved. I’ve even been on searches where staff applied and an external candidate was chosen in the end, because each committee I’ve been on has been focused on finding the best candidate, not the easiest one.

    3. Oh So Anon*

      I work in academia, and while some of its politics are super weird, I’m not sure if this situation invokes the specific political weirdnesses of academia.

      FWIW, when I worked outside of academia, a lot of this happened as well – often-overqualified/misqualified candidate who’s a friend or relative of a current employee interviews badly despite hoping their connections would make them a shoe-in, things become awkward for everyone involved. This was really ramped up when the position in question was something entry-level or temporary, a position that a candidate may see as a “foot in the door”.

      The other thing – not sure if this is entirely relevant here – is that regardless of sector, having someone who themselves doesn’t have great political capital at work go to bat for a candidate can easily backfire. It can also be awkward to supervise your colleague’s adult children, unless you know for certain that they will be very hands-off about whatever happens at work and you’re pretty sure their child will do well in the role.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        The other thing – not sure if this is entirely relevant here – is that regardless of sector, having someone who themselves doesn’t have great political capital at work go to bat for a candidate can easily backfire.

        This so much. When I was fresh out of college, unemployed, and couldn’t pay someone to hire me, my mom kept insisting I apply for jobs at her company (she’s in insurance). I did because I was desperate, but I never heard back, not even for roles I was actually qualified to do on paper.

        Then I started really listening to my mom’s conversations (more like rants) about her job and instantly realized why I was never called in for an interview – my mom has no concept of diplomacy or tact, and her prickly attitude has rubbed people higher up the ranks than her the wrong way. She didn’t figure that out for herself until she decided she wanted to transfer to another department internally and was rejected for every position she applied for, sometimes without even getting a courtesy interview. I told her that had she brought up issues in a calm and constructive way, and had she made sure to get face time with the real decision makers in her company, she probably would be much further ahead in her career than she is.

        Sadly, she’s now realizing that it’s too late – her reputation as being a hardworking curmudgeon has been cemented, and she’s reached the ceiling at her current employer. She’ll have to leave if she wants to do better, higher paying work.

        I ended up working for a law firm, and then another, bigger insurance company where I was promoted twice in four years – Mom then understood what I was talking about. I had a reputation for being a hard worker and no nonsense too, but I was also friendly, approachable, and easy to work with, so that made people want to lift me up when those opportunities for advancement arose.

        1. Oh So Anon*

          Also the other thing to think about is the difference between political capital and social capital at work. You may have long-standing friendships at work but in a lot of circumstances that’s not quite the same as people trusting your judgement professionally. My mother’s a good example of this – she was very good at being part of a large clique at work and well-liked by the people within the clique as well as clients, but she didn’t have good managerial or supervisory judgement, to put it nicely.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Exactly. My mom is very well liked by her work friends, but those friends have no clout whatsoever in her company. I kept telling her to branch out and try to strike up working relationships with others in positions of power and influence, but she wouldn’t listen. *shrugs*

    4. Murphy*

      Eh, I disagree that this is always the case. I’ve gotten jobs at two universities and in both cases I didn’t know anyone at all.

      1. BRR*

        I also disagree. It sounds like MFA might be specifically talking about professor positions which I don’t think there’s enough context in the letter to know if that’s what the daughter applied for. But for both teaching and admin jobs I wouldn’t describe it as pure politics.

        The answer anyways is the LW should not follow up on this with their friends in any way, shape, or form.

    5. BethDH*

      I don’t know that you should say “it is likely your daughter was not given a fair chance.” We don’t have any evidence of that — I know you have direct experience, but so do I, and mine is not the same. And don’t forget that OP was able to get hired by this same institution, presumably without inside connections.

      I think in situations where there are multiple qualified candidates, nepotism is much more likely to play a part as a deciding factor, and probably in job postings where there is significant flexibility on the nature of the job (certain teaching-based postdocs, for example).

      I have also found that academic job postings tend to be misleading. Often the position descriptions have to be approved by an outside committee, which takes a long time and makes getting changes approved difficult. That leads to very generic descriptions that can be used for a lot of roles, or descriptions that are outdated. I applied for one where it turned out that the thing that was listed at the bottom of the “nice to have” qualifications was the only thing they really needed. That was frustrating for them and for me, but they couldn’t get a new description approved during their hiring window so they had to cross their fingers that they’d get an applicant who happened to have it.

    6. Anon for this one too*

      Yeah, the entire time I’ve been reading the letter and LW’s comments, I’ve been thinking it must be a small college town. I had an SO for a couple of years who lived and taught in one (an expensive private liberal-arts college). He liked his town and his friends more than he did my city and my social circles, so I spent a lot of weekends in his town around his friends (who were coincidentally also all his colleagues). My god, I still get panic attacks when I think of that period of my life. That town was such an insular mess. They were hiring during that time too, and I thought their hiring policies were absolutely bizarre. (“the two candidates are equally good, but one is from Faraway Country, and our sponsors like it when there is diversity on our team, so he’s the one we hired.”)

      Honestly, I’d look for jobs out of town/out of state/across the country if I were LW’s daughter. Unless she has a family of seven tying her down or other circumstances that make it impossible for her to move, it’ll probably do her good to get away from all of this.

    7. Samwise*

      Well, that can happen, but probably less than you think. Any search that I have chaired, inside connections have made zero difference to how well any applicant did. (In fact, I make sure that the committee members have not held that kind of interference against any candidate.) And most of the people I have encountered over my 30+ years in academia have that kind of integrity as well.

      There are always bad actors, but it’s not rampant. And no, I’m no pollyanna — I’m pretty clear eyed about the problems of working and hiring in academia, and inside-pull is not one of those problems.

  14. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I think your judgement is clouded right now and your “parental bear, protect the cub” is clouding your otherwise good vision! That’s okay, you’re her parent, that’s normal.

    However now you have to step back and put on your professional face and assume that this wasn’t your daughter, that you didn’t know and adore her for all the qualities she has.

    You also need to pump the brakes on the hate towards your neighbor for getting a job when your daughter didn’t! That’s misplaced anger and unfair to the neighbor, you only know them from what you see and hear, which sounds like he’s probably really not looked favorably upon because he’s parked cars and lives with his family. Maybe he’s taking care of his family and can work part time due to his obligations! You just never know his situation, just what the neighborhood wants to look at him and judge him by, which is often cruel and uninformed [I know this from experience.]

    She had stiffer competition than he did, perhaps?

    Universities have strict criteria they go by. So if she’s a month shy of the right amount of experience then it’s a total “no” in some places! Yet he has old experience but it’s the right amount, boom, hired. Blame this in the red tape that the university has and don’t blame it on your actual coworkers.

    1. LW*

      You’re right. I just want to make it clear that I do not hate my neighbor. I don’t like what he did to his mother, but I was the one who suggested he apply. I’m actually very happy for him. His family needs the money. My daughter has a job and a promising career. Maybe now, he will too.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’m glad you’ve calmed down and can see the positives in the end!

        It makes sense to be outraged at first and need to cool your heels a bit after a painful rejection. I’m glad you wrote in and hopefully the letter writing process was therapeutic.

        Your daughter will certainly do very well given her background and may still get hired to your university just not that opening!

  15. ElizabethJane*

    OP, your disdain for the neighbor is … astonishing. Your neighbor does work, you just don’t think the work is worthy apparently. You also don’t specify what the job is. Perhaps it’s entry level and your daughter is over qualified. It sucks to be taken out of the running because sometimes you have too much experience, but that’s life.

    I have successfully asked for feedback on referrals before (“Hi hiring manager, I know you went with Person A over my referral, Person B. I was wondering if you had any specific feedback for me regarding the referral so if I can make sure I’m sending the company the right type of candidates in the future”) but I don’t think you can do that for a family member without being a heliparent.

    1. ohdear*

      I also thought the daughter might be over-qualified and this was a good job for someone who is trying to get back on their feet. Based on the OP’s description of both candidate’s backgrounds, I’m really surprised they would both be applying for the same job to begin with.

      And yes, any kind of work is better than nothing, but I am going to try to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and assume she does have details and reasons for her disdain with this neighbor. OP – just see it as the neighbor going through a difficult time and now working to make up for it.

      1. ElizabethJane*

        The OP also says “out of work” which makes it sound like she thinks the parking cars isn’t real work.

  16. Falling Diphthong*

    OP, I type this as a parent: That your friends only say complimentary things about your child does not mean anything beyond that they have rudimentary social skills. Your daughter could be great, could be fine with caveats, could be problematic–your friends are not likely to give you honest, unbiased, like you weren’t even her mom feedback on this.

    Back all the way off. I get how much this stings, but any intervention on your part is going to make her seem like she goes to you to fight her grown-up battles.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      This! Who insults a kid to their parent’s face? Not a lot of people, tbqh.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          Right! It’s not a bad thing. But it just means that a parent is really, truly not well-placed to have a realistic sense of their adult child’s work performance.

      1. Yikes*

        Especially based on the letter, I would bet money OP isn’t giving off a strong “I will accept criticism of my child well and in a calm manner” vibes.

    2. JSPA*

      Another thing:
      Tone. I’ve been called out for using my “slow voice” or over-defining terms. People feel I’m talking down to them.

      I cultivated that voice a) teaching in a situation that including a lot of international students b) making scientific presentations to an international audience c) dealing with my family, including some who were slowly going deaf, some who were or are on the spectrum, and some who were or are highly specialized PhD’s without a lot of real-world experience (insert wry “which end of the hammer do you use” joke, here). An IQ of 120≠ communication skills.

      If your daughter works with disabled adults, with the family of disabled adults, and with people who work with disabled adults, this almost certainly has affected her speech patterns and intonation, in ways that may grate on interviewers. She may have to very intentionally code-switch. Or switch up whatever code switching she’s currently doing.

      For that aspect alone (with her assent, and only with her assent), it MIGHT be worth asking…NOT “why did you not hire her” (!!!!)…but “daughter has been worrying that the speech habits she uses for effectiveness in her current workplace might color her tone during interviews; was any of that evident when she interviewed with you?”

      THAT would be helpful information for future interviews. But frankly, it would still be better coming from her.

        1. valentine*

          (with her assent, and only with her assent), it MIGHT be worth asking…
          No to both, even if it weren’t moot on two counts: Daughter didn’t really want that particular job, in the first place, and she withdrew her application because the interviewer laughed.

      1. PollyQ*

        Nope, regardless of possible reasons why daughter might have been rejected (although it seems she withdrew her application), the ONLY person who can ask that question is the daughter herself. Mom needs to stay completely out of it.

  17. MuseumChick*

    OP, there are millions of reason why they hired your neighbor instead of your daughter. Honestly, my first thought was that your daughter is over qualified for whatever this position is. It sounds like she has a strong resume and likely good references. While that makes for a very strong candidate is most cases, for certain roles it can make an employer worry that the person will pretty quickly find a better role.

    Follow Alison’s advice and let this go.

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      “…for certain roles it can make an employer worry that the person will pretty quickly find a better role.”

      Several years ago I found this out the hard way. I ended up omitting my master’s and doctorate in order to find a job…any job. It was either that or homelessness. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. MuseumChick*

        Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! I was pretty lucky to land a job fairly quickly after getting my degree.

        But, yeah, I think that may be at play here as to why Daughter didn’t get hired.

  18. Booksalot*

    My husband quit his job two years ago to care for a parent with dementia. I’d hate to think people are speaking as unkindly about him as LW is about his neighbor.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This breaks my heart as someone who has been touched by dementia personally, I’m so sorry that your family is going through this and that this is an all too real worry in an already difficult time.

      Or maybe he’s been stuck in an awful rut due to the crippled economy from the Great Recession.

      One of my best friends only just got a job a couple years ago, it was retail. She was caring for disabled parents in the meantime and actually has multiple degrees, only until recently has retail establishments gotten over themselves and their “worry” she’s just going to leave immediately.

      It’s so easy to cast judgement and assume people are just lazy, etc.

      1. Jadelyn*

        I have a friend who had a similar experience – he worked at the same small company for 15+ years, until it closed precipitously during the recession and everyone wound up out of work. He had plenty of experience but couldn’t find work for anything because nobody was hiring at that point in time, and of course the longer you’re out of work the harder it is to find work. I was able to help with his resume and stuff, and he finally landed a position (support staff in academia, actually) last year. The recession screwed over a lot of otherwise entirely qualified professionals and sometimes people can’t just bounce back from it.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Seriously, once the economy sends you sideways, it can be for years upon years. The peak of the recession was in 2009(?) and just now, ten years later people are starting to get back on their feet.

          I was terrified for my former coworkers when our company sold and therefore restructured back in 2015 when I finally left for another job due to relocation. They were men who had worked for the same place for even longer than I had, since I was the youngest, who started when I was 22. So these were 50+ men, who had worked there since they were in their 20s! Thankfully they kept on the one person I was most terrified for, he was very, specialized in what he did and also had a lot of demons that were under control [just enough] to stay steadily employed by someone who would work around his quirks.

          I’m blessed in the way that I present well, I have universal skills and also am willing to do a lot of undesirable tasks on top of my office work. However anyone who is a little “odd” or “quirky” in either personality or appearance, had the deck truly stacked against them. I’ve seen it over and over again as a bystander. Even for some really low rung jobs that when the economy is great, you cannot even fill.

    2. YikesOnBikes*

      This too. I have a relative who struggles with severe social anxiety and lives with his parents. He doesn’t work but he does drive them everywhere, grocery shop, clean, fix stuff around the house, babysit for the whole family, makes sure his parents take their medications on time, etc. It’s so gross to make assumptions about someone’s situation.

    3. LW*

      Nobody said he was taking care of a mother with dementia. My own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. He opted to “live off his mother” his words, not mine. Also, I’m the one who suggested he apply for the job. His family needs the money. I’m actually very happy for him. There were 2 positions open. My daughter didn’t even hear any feedback from the hiring managers.

      1. Washi*

        I’m really confused about what you wanted the outcome to be here. You suggested that he apply for the job, so presumably you would be happy for him to get it. There were two open positions, so even after he got one, your daughter could have gotten the other.

        So it would only be acceptable for them to offer the neighbor a position if they hired your daughter first? And it was so outrageous that your daughter didnt get the first offer that she rescinded her application and now you wonder why she hasn’t heard back? This is all making no sense to me.

        1. PVR*

          I don’t think she’s upset the neighbor was hired at all, just why her daughter wasn’t also hired.

          1. Auga*

            Then why did she feel fit to rather contemptuously set out his history? It is completely irrelevant. If she thought he was good enough to get the job, what is the point of this rather scathing comparison?

      2. Rainy*

        Why would she hear feedback from hiring managers about a job for which she withdrew her application, though?

  19. A different name*

    Bullet dodged, I think. In this case the colleagues did the dodging and the bullet is OP.

    I’m sympathetic to wanting your kid to do well and be recognized for their accomplishments, but there is so much nastiness in this letter it’s staggering. I wouldn’t want to set up conflict with LW any time I had to coach my new hire or ask her to stay late or something. It would be hard for things *not* to get messy…

  20. Amber Rose*

    You are letting your anger turn you into a mean snob, LW. I’m willing to bet this isn’t who you usually are. Take a good look at yourself and ask if you’re too invested in your daughter’s job hunt right now, and if this is really the person you want to be.

    Then step back, and let your adult daughter handle her life like an adult without interference, the way you presumably have been living your life.

    1. Ms. Ann Thropy*

      Whoa. Being upset that your long-term work colleagues didn’t choose to hire your well-qualified daughter to work with them does not make a person “a mean snob.”

      1. Close Bracket*

        No, but slurring the other candidate for parking cars for a living and living with his parents does.

      2. Amber Rose*

        Insulting your neighbor who works part time by saying they are unemployed and live off their elderly mother is absolutely mean and snobbish.

        1. BookNerdish*

          “I’m happy for him. His family needs the money”.

          Oof. It’s condescending and suggests that he got a pity job rather than one he deserved for which he was apparently qualified.

      3. wendelenn*

        And it’s not even that they “didn’t choose to hire your well-qualified daughter”. She withdrew her application. That’s what has me scratching my head–how can LW possibly be upset and what does LW want?

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yup. Daughter overreacted, and instead of mom talking her down off the ledge, she fanned the flames and made it worse. I’m reading one of the stories linked here that’s very similar, and something Artemesia said is very apropos for this current situation. She said, “A person enduring the frustrations of searching really doesn’t need to have her paranoia stoked or be fed sour grapes.” This is EXACTLY what the letter writer is doing – feeding her kid sour grapes.

          Does the daughter even want this job? I’ve heard nothing from mom about the daughter even being upset about losing this particular position because of X cool thing she would have been doing had she gotten it. So far, it’s just mom relaying how baffled she is that someone seemingly low-brow was hired over her high-brow daughter when the timeline of the situation actually shows exactly how this situation happened – her daughter didn’t wait to hear one way or the other about the second position and withdrew from consideration in a snit. There’s nothing else to be said at this point.

  21. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    Why do you, OP, not think that your daughter is overqualified for the position and that the hiring committee (asking pointed questions…about her future plans, goals?) thought that she was using this lower level position that does not require her educational or professional background to get into the university? They hired someone with less work experience and education for a reason. I think that reason is: They don’t want to be repeating this process in 18 months.

  22. That Guy*

    Is this an entry level position and/or one with few educational requirements? If your neighbor has limited educational and work experience but still got the job, I’m thinking the required qualifications must be fairly low.

    In that case, your daughter’s educational and work experience are actually going to work against her. The employer will worry that because she’s overqualified she’ll quit for a better job after a short period with them. Also, they’ll have to pay her more and that means less money in the budget for other things. In some cases it actually makes sense for the employer to hire a less qualified person who barely meets the requirements as long as that person seems reliable and willing to learn. Someone with fewer options will remain in the job longer and accept lower pay.

    Regardless, it’s not your business and you need to stay out of it.

    1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

      We don’t know anything about the neighbor’s education (unless I missed something). He may have an education in a field where it’s hard to find work, so he parks cars and looks for better jobs. He may have studied during those 11 years. This job may have been the great chance he’s been waiting for.

    2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      I was scrolling through comments to see if there was something new. We posted the same thing at the same time. I agree. I think that any “pointed questions” were specifically to get daughter to explain why she was looking at the position at all.

  23. softcastle mccormick*

    Wow, seconding what everyone else has said. This is super inappropriate, your daughter is an adult, and you cannot meddle in their choices. We had a similar situation at my old job, where we had four interns and decided to hire one on for a permanent position. One of the interns, who actually displayed a lot of immaturity and red flags during her tenure, was really upset that she wasn’t hired. Next thing we knew, her mom barged into the office and demanded to know why she wasn’t hired. She had an actual laundry list of her daughter’s good qualities, and disparaged the candidate we hired, including implying we only did it for “diversity’s sake.” It was so, so inappropriate and reflected so poorly on both the mom, and the intern.

    1. Media Monkey*

      wow indeed! the subtext of your experience (the “diversity hire”) makes this story all the more disturbing

  24. staceyizme*

    I think that it’s far less important that you successfully discover why she apparently wasn’t given a fair chance and far more important that you encourage her to find interview opportunities where she is fully supported while also being fairly evaluated. For whatever reason, it didn’t come together. It could be anything from a gender bias to a “no nepotism” to something else. What, exactly, is to be gained by pursuing this? (And if nepotism/ favoritism was their fear, havenyou amply proven their point?) Seriously, let this go. Literally shake it off and move forward. And resolve to never, ever, EVER put yourself in play, even in theory, on behalf of your child’s professional life. In that context, you’re kryptonite to her superman. Your involvement will suck her credibility and professional reputation faster than an ice cube melting in the fires of Hades.

  25. Dracarys*

    Chances are your daughter either wasn’t a great interview and/or has too much expereince. When my old boss hired me… he told me there were over 150 applicants. Many had Master’s degrees, some even had PhD’s. I only had a BA. It wasn’t that the other candidates couldn’t handle job, they didn’t get hired because they were over-qualified.

    But honestly, get your nose out of your child’s business. She’s an adult. And stop being so judgmental of your neighbor. You probably don’t know exactly what is going on in his life. There’s a lot people don’t tell you.

  26. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    OP, if you did ask your colleagues and they told you why they chose not to hire your daughter, what would you do with that information?

    1. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

      Good question! Also, hopefully they don’t discuss internal hiring matters with other employees!

    2. dear liza dear liza*

      This was my reaction! Sometimes we all have to stop and think, What do I hope to get from this?

  27. your vegan coworker*

    “…laughed at her when she said she could help him with a particular job he wanted accomplished”

    I know we’re all looking at this from the perspective of distrusting OP’s report due to bias, but is it possible that another kind of bias was at play? We have here a male interviewer laughing at a female applicant for saying that she could do something. Let’s trust mom for a moment and accept that they hired a male with fewer qualifications and a less stellar work history that the laughed-at female applicant.

    While OP certainly should not intervene, OP’s daughter could and maybe should write one of those asking for feedback follow-up emails to see if that shakes loose any reason why the less qualified man was hired.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      mm – the AAM commentariat is usually pretty fast to jump on potential discrimination, and there’s a reason you don’t see us doing that this time. If two people with job histories / qualifications *that* different were applying to the same job, one of them is a very bad fit for the job. It is really most likely that OP’s daughter is overqualified for some entry level job.

      1. valentine*

        Even if he’s sexist and Lilly/LW/OP didn’t notice in 20 years or thought he’d keep it out of hiring, withdrawing wasn’t the right response and her withdrawing, not sexism, is the reason they didn’t hire her.

    2. fposte*

      We have here a male interviewer laughing, anyway; I’m not as convinced as the OP and maybe her daughter that it was laughing *at*.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would have to know a lot more…

      I’ve had people say they can “help” with projects too, which they’re wildly out of line assuming that it’s something they’re capable of doing. I wouldn’t laugh at them, I have better restraint than that [thankfully], so it could have been that nervous “LOL okay then” that was totally founded. Not just “Awwww this little lady over here thinks she can help on this big-boy project.” nonsense [which maybe it was but meh, again,I need way more information here.]

      The parent thinks daughter is Qualified For Everything but that’s not always the case. It’s rarely the case honestly.

    4. Turquoisecow*

      Eh, I read it as this is an entry level job at a university, and the interviewer mentioned a huge project he’s doing that he might need entry-level assistance for. Like, filing papers or the like. OP’s daughter, being qualified to help the interviewer with said project, started talking about how she could help with research or other academic type stuff. Okay, but the role is entry level and she’ll be busy filing paperwork and other lower level tasks, and also, helping the interviewer won’t be her job. So he kind of laughed like, yeah, sure, but knowing realistically that it’s not going to happen.

      Meanwhile the neighbor is happy to do the entry level tasks that they’re hiring for, rather than trying to help researchers or whatever.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        That’s what I read too. I felt that daughter was indicating that she has skills and abilities as well as interests that are not suited to a position this entry level. If the interviewer did laugh/smile knowingly it’s more because he realized (or more correctly, he decided, since he doesn’t know for sure) that daughter is not the person who will start, learn and grow here. She’s the person who will start and then jettison ASAP once she’s in the institution.

  28. Hiring Mgr*

    Putting the OP’s rude assessment of the neighbor aside and assuming it’s accurate as far as their qualifications… And assuming this job came down to the neighbor and the daughter, then a simple explanation might be that it’s a somewhat entry level role and the daughter is way overqualified? In the end, it doesn’t matter though.. have to move on.

  29. SometimesALurker*

    One of the things I really appreciate about this column is the way Alison gives negative feedback without doing so in a way that would put most people on the defensive.

  30. irene adler*

    (I didn’t see a description of the position, so not sure how the job description and the daughter’s resume line up.)

    Maybe with all that education + experience, the hiring committee assumed daughter would not stick around too long in the position because they felt she would soon outgrow it and leave, thus putting them right back to hiring again.

    That doesn’t in any way imply that they looked down at the daughter.
    The world needs car parkers, too.

    “one of my friends who interviewed her laughed at her when she said she could help him with a particular job he wanted accomplished” – I doubt if this was a laugh of derision. Surely your friends are more professional than that. More likely the interviewer liked her willingness to help solve a problem. But then it became obvious that daughter has more education & experience than the job itself requires.

  31. SuperAnon*

    “Is it unprofessional to ask them why they did not hire my hard-working daughter but hired a person who hasn’t worked in years and lives off his elderly mother?”

    I’m still gobsmacked over this line. For all the reasons.

  32. RUKiddingMe*

    OP if all your descriptions of your daughter and the neighbor are 100% accurate, that is not biased because you’re “Mom,” then the answer is…oh…I don’t know…sexism maybe?

    That said, stay out of it.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      oooooor: two candidates with wildly different qualifications don’t both match the requirements of the job? And they picked the one that was closest to their actual requirements….

      Depending on the job, OP’s daughter may well be overqualified, and a lot of people don’t want to hire overqualified.

  33. This letter made me angry*

    Parking cars sounds like work to me. Want to know how I got my foot in the door of my first non-minimum wage/tips based job , OP? I waited tables at a place where the director of a power utility came to every Friday. I waited on him every week, he got to know me, and offered me an entry level role to “get my resume started” as he put it. That’s all I needed because once I had my foot in the door I took off. I live quite comfortably now but I’ll never forget the feeling of people looking down on me for waiting tables despite me working my ass off for every dollar I earned. Your daughter doesn’t deserve this job more because she’s had roles that you deem more respectable and clearly your neighbour did something right because he was offered the job.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Well said. An AVP at my former company (a large and respected insurance company) got his start at the company by serving as the CEO’s driver. He was 18, didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life yet (he eventually went to college and earned a degree), so he took a job chauffeuring around one of the company bigwigs. When it came time for him to graduate from school (and I believe the company paid for his education as we had tuition reimbursement), he interviewed for an entry level role in one of the failing divisions and worked his way up over the years.

      If CEO had looked down his nose at the driver, and had the supervisor of that entry level role done the same, he would have never gotten his job that he was actually very good at.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      My first permanent job out of college (fancy-pants private school, no less) was cleaning kennels in a vet’s office. My coworker in this was a high-school dropout who couldn’t spell his own name consistently (not kidding). But I moved up. I still use the stuff I learned in that job.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yes, it’s awfully hard to get your start not office work, I only got here because of dumb luck of knowing someone who wanted an assistant but didn’t want to “look” for one. Then I had to keep clawing myself up slowly to be able to get where I am in my much nicer roles. I had to buy mud-boots for one of my jobs because along with doing all the office work, building that office from scratch because it was still in start-up phases, I was also tasked with checking in big-rigs of raw material in the middle of whatever weather was happening.

      So I too seethe at the idea that his background doing menial labor jobs makes people poo-poo that he’s as capable of doing a great jobs, just because someone else came up a different, more privileged route.

    4. Enginear*

      As a minority who was less fortunate than some of my college colleagues, you definitely see how privileged people have it way easier.

    5. ..Kat..*

      Waiting tables is hard work. I very much appreciate good service. And, if I get bad service, I remind myself that it is a hard job and maybe they are having a bad day.

  34. S*

    Hate to say it but this could be about the OP herself. If the people hiring anticipated too much intervention or drama from having a parent and daughter working together, they may have opted for someone else. Sorry but the fact that she wants to find out why her daughter wasn’t hired points to that, when it’s overstepping bounds and strictly between the hiring managers and people applying.

    1. Enginear*

      Right? OP makes herself sound so nice in the intro but who knows… based on her reaction of her daughter not getting the job, the colleagues probably already know her attitude and decided to avoid the drama altogether by not hiring the daughter.

    2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      I hadn’t thought of that. “I’ve known them 20 years. Why wouldn’t they hire my daughter?” Because they’ve known you 20 years and you think it’s a good idea.

  35. Me*

    OP is making a lot of assumptions about her neighbor’s life that she likely has very limited insight into. And how much does she actually know about her daughter’s adult life? Do your parents know everything about your adult life good bad and indifferent? If you don’t think your child has a life and personality (including unpleasant traits) that you are not necessarily privy too, you are very much mistaken.

    I also find it interesting that when your daughter told you one of these professional people who you know for so long and so well laughed at her during the interview your assumption was that he laughed at her as your daughter said (which would be terribly mean) and not perhaps that you daughter misinterpreted his response in a stressful. This isn’t saying your daughter is lying – Simply think about what is more likely…someone you’ve known to be professional for a very long time suddenly behaving cruelly OR that a situation colored your daughters perception of something which is a totally human normal thing by the way.

    I get you are all the way on your kids team. That’s not a bad thing. But to really be team kid, that means helping them not take rejection personally. It’s helping them be resilient and strong. It’s saying gee hun I’m sorry this didn’t work out but there’s great things out there for you. It’s demonstrating class and grace and the ability to not view other peoples success as an obstacle to her own.

    If she was thought to be the best fit (notice I said fit, not person) for the job then she would have gotten it.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      I want to like your last two paragraphs so hard. Losing with dignity is a skill that OP and her daughter need to learn.

  36. AngryAngryAlice*

    I definitely agree that the way LW presented the differences in their interviewing experiences sounds unfair, but I’m extremely hesitant to consider LW a reliable narrator.

    In the 1st paragraph alone, LW presented this… questionable description of the neighbor: “My neighbor has been out of work for over 11 years and lived off his parents. […] My neighbor parks cars at an amusement park part-time…” It’s interesting that the neighbor can be unemployed for over a decade(!!!) while simultaneously working a part-time job. I would LOVE to know how he accomplished this seemingly impossible task – a time-turner, perhaps?

    So yeah, LW, it sounds like you are very fond of your daughter and her capabilities (perhaps rightfully so!) but disproportionately dismissive of your neighbor, who is employed part-time and apparently interviews well. I don’t really trust your narrative, but even if I did, I would still completely agree with 100% of Alison’s response. This isn’t your business even a little bit, so stay out of it.

  37. Cyrus*

    Does AAM have a FAQ? I can’t find one, but maybe I’ve missed it. If so, one entry should go something like this:

    Q: My daughter/son/spouse/sibling had a problem at their job interview/first day/first performance review/average Tuesday/last day on the job. What should I do about it?

    A: If you work with them, either you or they should immediately start looking for a new job. If you don’t work with them, nothing. It’s not your problem and there’s nothing you can do with/at/for their workplace that won’t make things worse.

  38. XtinaLyn*

    The best insight I’ve gotten from this site is that you never know what other candidates had in their wheelhouse that another candidate may not have. The mom may have thought she’d be “the best person for the job,” but without knowing what other skills or experience the other candidate brought to the table, there’s no way to say for sure. And who knows? Maybe the position would have morphed into something where the daughter and mother would be working in a boss/subordinate role, and the hiring committee was concerned about potential nepotism. Whatever the case, it happened the way it did for a reason–mom just doesn’t get to be privy to that information.

  39. Jennifer*

    I understand your disappointment and confusion. I must say I didn’t much care for your judgmental tone toward your neighbor. I don’t think you’d be as upset about this if they had hired someone besides him. The facts that he parks cars at an amusement park or that he lives with his parents are none of your concern and there may be reasons for that you are unaware of.

    Your daughter is gainfully employed and well-educated. She’ll land on her feet. Be happy that your neighbor is getting an opportunity to better himself as well. Maybe your employers wanted to give him that chance.

  40. Marty*

    ” and lives off his elderly mother?”

    … I caution you to think that a caregiver role is unworthy in comparison.

    I have a professional career (not unlike your daughter, in the adult education field requiring graduate professional credentials) and it is still “easier”, mentally, than my years as a caregiver. Being a caregiver is so. darn. hard. for many reasons. There’s a very good chance that this applicant demonstrated a number of desirable traits for the position. The “best person” for the job isn’t always the most qualified on paper. As someone who works with a number of PhDs, I can’t emphasize that enough LOL.

    Let it go.

  41. NW Mossy*

    OP, I’m going to try to say this as gently as I can – the intensity of your reaction (as you lay it out in this letter) could very well be a factor in why it didn’t pan out for your daughter.

    This is one of those situations where the other face of professional network can start to show itself. You have been working at viewing your daughter’s candidacy as wholly independent of you, and attest to us as much in saying you’ve never interfered in her working life previously. But the fact remains that these interviewers know YOU. They’re your friends. They may genuinely like and appreciate you as a friend while also not wanting to be part of a work triangle with you and your daughter. And while it may not be pleasant to contemplate, they may see aspects of you that have them concerned that you would begin to interfere in ways that create conflict with them (such as your proposal to intervene in their hiring process and give feedback on it, and your pointedly unflattering description of your neighbor).

    In reading your letter, I’m struck by the sensation that these aren’t necessarily new feelings you’re experiencing right now. Do you often find yourself rising to your daughter’s defense when you think she’s been treated unfairly? Have you jumped in to rescue her in other situations of hers that are things she should be able to handle as a fully fledged adult? Do you trust her to be able to manage her life well on her own? Do you see clearing away obstacles in her path as a part of your role in parenting an adult child?

    These aren’t easy questions, but some time spent thinking about them with some honesty in your own head might be a useful exercise to help you understand why it is that you’re taking your daughter’s rejection for this job so firmly to heart.

  42. Susana*

    LW, I realize this is a rationalization many of like to tell ourselves if we don’t get a job, but… is it possible your daughter was OVER-qualified? It would explain a lot. As for the laughing, well, maybe it seemed a little cheeky to offer to help on a senior person’s project. Or maybe – seriously- the person was talking abut something sort of grind-like and it seemed silly that a persona as accomplished as your daughter would want to make that her job. Seriously, I do think this might be one of those rare cases where it’s actually true that they didn’t think she’d be happy in a job that didn’t use her knowledge and talents. And bravo to you, for raising a woman who is working with developmentally challenged adults! That’s impressive.

  43. Clementine*

    I know this has been mentioned before, but it’s so strange that this university seems to be solely between the neighbor and the daughter, both of whom the OP knows. Your daughter would be well-served to start fishing in bigger ponds, I think.

  44. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

    This could be as simple as they don’t hire relatives of close friends.

    Courtesy interview, but no real chance at the job.

    1. Enginear*

      I’ve seen this way too many times lol. Sometimes some people never even had a chance; they just needed to make HR happy and interview some people.

  45. Jennifer*

    “My daughter has worked with several friends of mine and all told me she was the best employee they ever had. ” Re-read the letter and this line stuck out to me. Have you been instrumental in helping your daughter get most or all of her previous jobs? Please keep in mind that it may be difficult for someone to criticize a child to their parent’s face, so some of the complimentary comments made about your daughter might be a tiny bit exaggerated. This is not to say that she’s not a good person or employee.

    Please try stepping back and letting your daughter fight her own battles from now on. She has the education and experience.

  46. mcr-red*

    I’m going at this a different route. Lily/OP, you need to take a step back from this and look at the situation objectively. First of all, does your university not like hiring relatives, even if they work in different departments? That really would have been something to ask before she applied. I’ve often thought I could do a job that my husband’s company can never fill for long. My husband asked and his boss absolutely will not hire relatives of his staff. So there you go. That could be the problem right there.

    If you don’t think that is the issue, look at the job description versus your daughter’s qualifications. If you got her resume in the mail and didn’t know her, would you think she qualifies, or is she over qualified/under qualified/has no direct experience?

    If you think she still was a better candidate than the neighbor, again pretending that she’s not your daughter and just a random pool applicant, then I think you need to take a step back and take a hard look at your friends. Just as we can be blind or forgiving of relatives faults, we can be to friends as well. Is it possible your friend would rather hire men over women? (That was the first thing I thought, actually, he didn’t hire her because female.) None of that means you should say anything to him, but it could be you may get some better insight into the people you work with/are friends with.

  47. Detective Rosa Diaz*

    OP – you seem very kind and supportive of your daughter. Please, for her sake, stay OUT of her job searching in the future. You’re helicoptering and it’s doing her no favors. Also, your daughter isn’t hearing back from anyone because she RESCINDED HER APPLICATION. They are under no obligation to reach out to her about their hiring process at this point, and probably don’t want to since she has dropped out of the hiring process – what would they gain from that? She’s basically made it clear she doesn’t want to hear from them. I am surprised you expected that she would.

    Please butt out and let your daughter launch her own search. And stop spreading gossip around campus. No one will care as much as you do (I am sorry! I mean this kindly – she’s your kid, no one else is invested like you are, and what happened was so mild). IF you’re friends with these people as well, why are you so jazzed to tarnish their reps over a PERCEIVED slight? Please watch like Big Little Lies with your daughter instead of interfering with her job hunt.

  48. Gazebo Slayer*

    Didn’t we just have a thread of helicopter parent stories? OP, don’t be another helicopter parent story.

  49. LW*

    I appreciate all your comments and have read and responded to several. I believe my daughter made the correct choice to rescind her application. I know these folks and there is a lot more to the office dynamic besides what I said in my original letter. I wrote it looking for some real advice, which I have received. I have never interfered in matters such as these before and I never intend to do so. I am friends with these folks for over 20 years.

    I also want to state that I do not hate my neighbor. I’m actually very happy for him. I’m the one who has been telling him to apply here for years. I told him about this job. There were 2 openings and I thought it was be awesome if he and my daughter were chosen. At least one of them was and that’s a good thing. It’s not that I looked down on him because he parked cars. I used to clean toilets. He was taking advantage of his mother–who is not sick. She does not suffer from any diseases and is quite independent.

    The purpose of writing was to gain insight and to just put it out there. I have maintained my level of professionalism and have not said a word, nor will I. If one of them asks me later why she rescinded her application, I may make comment about the laughing, but that is about it.

    Again, thank you for your comments. I very much appreciate them.

    1. Princess prissypants*

      Here’s what I don’t understand about all of this (helicoptering aside) –

      If she *withdrew* her application for one of the two jobs, and neighbor got the other one, *how on earth!* do you assume they didn’t/wouldn’t have hired her?

      SHE QUIT the process. *That’s* why the didn’t hire her….

      1. Washi*

        Yep. Should they have reached out to ask her to reconsider or something? The normal thing when you withdraw from a hiring process is to not hear anything else about the hiring process.

        1. Close Bracket*

          Should they have reached out to ask her to reconsider or something?

          No, not in the usual course of events. Once you withdraw, don’t expect to hear anything further.

      2. Jennifer*

        Yes! There were two positions and they may have been considering her for the other one.

      3. Jimming*

        Based on my understanding of the situation (which is a tad confusing), LW wrote in to Alison before her daughter told her she withdrew her application. (But I could be wrong.)

    2. Observer*

      I have maintained my level of professionalism and have not said a word, nor will I.

      Well, the fact that you’ve discussed it with others already presents a problem. But it’s good that you don’t intend to do any more of that.

      If one of them asks me later why she rescinded her application
      Why would you even expect them to do that? If they care enough to find out why would they ask YOU? The person who would be the person to ask is your daughter. The fact that you think that this is even a realistic possibility speaks to a much higher level of involvement than you seem to recognize.

      I may make comment about the laughing,

      Why? If they care enough to ask, then you should direct them to her. It’s her story to tell (or not.) You’re more involved that you should be, intentionally or not, and there is also more than enough “broken telephone” going on. Don’t even consider contributing to it.

    3. Gumby*

      He was taking advantage of his mother–who is not sick.

      If his mother is not sick, then she is perfectly capable of making her own decisions even if they include supporting a child through a rough patch of long-term underemployment. That is what family does – they take care of each other. Sometimes they choose to do that in a way that appears out of the norm to outsiders, but that does. not. matter. because it is *their* choice.

      And frequently, when one is accepting help from others, one makes uncomfortable jokes about it because it is more socially acceptable than to burden an acquaintance with your feelings of shame / inadequacy / fear / hopelessness / whatever.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        That was my first thought, too, when LW said the neighbor son said he was living off his mother. That’s the kind of self-deprecating half-humor type of thing people say when they don’t really want to be doing what they’re doing but are trying to make the best of it (esp when neighbors ask them about it). I would totally be the one to crack a joke like that, and there are relatives of mine who would totally misinterpret it as me being serious and tell everyone what a horrible person I was.

        1. Liza*

          Ditto. I lived with my parents as a result of being unemployed over several years. I reached a point where I was so resigned to it I made jokes to people about planning to live off my inheritance. Someone phoned up to sell me life insurance and asked “how will your father cope financially if anything happens to you?” and I laughed and said “he’ll be better off! I’m more of a burden on my father by being alive!” We basement dwellers are all too aware of what the world thinks of us, and there comes a point where you just start owning it, because all you can do is laugh at the situation.

    4. BRR*

      Thank you for taking the time to reply and provide more information. if they ask why she withdrew her application, tell them to ask your daughter. Put as much distance between your professional and personal life as possible and this includes if any of your coworkers initiate it. Even if this wasn’t your daughter, I’d recommend staying out of this unless it’s somehow directly part of your job.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        “…if they ask why she withdrew her application, tell them to ask your daughter.”

        This right here. Mom shouldn’t be explaining it, the daughter should.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think you’ve done a good job of explaining some of the points that really stroked the fires of the comments here, thank you for that!

      Your original letter just was really negative towards the neighbor and didn’t mention that you had this reason behind why you felt so poorly towards his situation. It’s easy to do, you are trying to condense the story and it’s really easy to forget some important details that us outsiders really need in order to digest your disapproval of his living arrangements.

      You’re a good mom and you care a lot, that’s important. Nobody will ever agree with your actions or your heavy involvement in your daughter’s adult life but that’s not really not an issue, since whatever makes you both happy is more important than the opinions of a bunch of advice column commenters who have our lens to look through, usually that which is tainted by our own relationships with our parents!

    6. ..Kat..*

      If the two jobs were the same, and if you are assessing both your daughter and your neighbor correctly*, then I think your daughter was overqualified for the job. She might have been offered the job if she had not withdrawn her application a week later – a week is not a long time to wait to hear back from an interview. But if she is overqualified, I assume this would be a big pay cut (and lesser responsibilities). So, they probably would not have offered her the job. I assume they want someone who would be happy with the pay and responsibilities – otherwise, they will just be hiring again soon.

      *some people have commented that maybe the neighbor has lots of great qualifications that you don’t know about. But, if he hasn’t worked much in his field for 11 years (which it sounds like you are saying), that experience is pretty old and unlikely to help him.

    7. YikesOnBikes*

      today in “My Former Profession as a Toiler Cleaner Immunizes Me From Looking Down on Others”

  50. Kendra*

    OP, you say that your daughter hadn’t heard back from the hiring committee before withdrawing her application, but I wonder about a few things that I didn’t see mentioned in your letter:

    1. You mention that they were hiring for two positions, but we don’t know if the two positions were the same, or completely different, or what. If they were different, then your daughter’s qualifications and your neighbor’s probably have nothing to do with one another; they’re looking for people to fill two very different roles, so someone who’s great for one may not be remotely qualified for the other.

    2. How long did she wait before pulling the application? Because if she “didn’t hear back” for a week, even though your neighbor was hired faster than that, that’s still totally normal. Maybe (assuming the two positions were different) your neighbor was one of the last interviews for his position, and your daughter was one of the first for hers (which would make total sense if they wanted to get one position hired first, before interviewing for the other). Scheduling conflicts happen, and sometimes it just takes a week or two to get everybody you want to talk to through the door, and there’s not really much to say to your other applicants while that’s going on. It sounds like you may be reading a lot into a completely normal delay.

    1. Lindsay gee*

      Also to add to this:
      3. She may have been overqualified and too expensive. I have a masters and applied for a LOT of jobs that didn’t require it and I never heard back from any of them.

      4. If she’s reporting the interview laugh accurately…it may be because what she suggested WAS ridiculous enough to laugh at. Just a random example, what if the project she volunteered herself for was WAY WAY above her skill level/area of expertise. That could have been an indication to the interviewer that she was not smart, didn’t understand the scope of her position, didn’t understand the project, etc etc. She could have made herself look incompetent, hence the laughing.

      5. I know you trust your daughter, but if the laughing behaviour seems out of touch with what you know of your friend for 20 years, maybe something is up with your daughter’s perception of how the interview went/how their own interview skills are etc.

  51. Princess prissypants*

    If I was daughter, I would have withdrawn at the first hint of my helicoptermom being all up in my business at my potential employer.

    1. L.S. Cooper*

      Boom. This. I worked with my Dad (see below), even in the same department, but both of us know how to be professional adults– it helped that the office was generally pretty friendly and relaxed (software R&D), but still, there was no helicoptering.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      The daughter shouldn’t have even applied if that were the case. The daughter already was told to apply for a job by mom, then gave her details of the interview itself, then shared with her the rejection. It’s not just mom’s fault, they’re both adults here and some adult kids are totally okay with being helicoptered.

  52. L.S. Cooper*

    Hoooh boy. I’ve been the daughter-of-employee hire (as a summer intern, doing work I was qualified for, but still), and even I know the answer to the title question is “OH SWEET BABY JESUS NO.”.
    Obviously, my case was different, because it wasn’t a real position that was open, but a startup saying “Sure, we could use an intern”, but the point still stands. (And, in my defense, the haphazard nature of the internship program at the company extended to other people; one other intern was someone who met the company at a job fair and asked about an internship program, at which point they said they didn’t really have one, and she said she was really passionate about the work and the company, so they just sort of hired her as an intern anyway.)

  53. DataSciGeek*

    You don’t describe the position, but my thoughts are that your daughter appears over qualified. If she’s that good I’m guessing the feeling is she won’t stick around long enough, for a job where someone ‘parking a car’ would also be qualified.

    As a hiring manager, I’d go with someone who I felt would stay long term, and would like to be in the position for at least two years. The right person for the job isn’t as simple as who’s qualified. There’s certain times where it makes sense to hire the highest qualified person you can. And other times it doesn’t make sense.

    1. M2*

      THIS my sister works in higher ed and a few years ago was on the hiring side. she says how so many hiring managers pick people based on if they think they will stay long or not. She always argued against it saying you shouldn’t assume anyone will leave after a couple years. Maybe the daughter was overqualified, maybe she wasn’t the right fit, or maybe they thought she would leave before they wanted. You don’t know. Just be happy she can find an organization that will appreciate and want her. I know it stings now as it happens to all of us, but hopefully she will find the right fit. Lw good luck to you and your daughter!

  54. This Is A True Story*

    Once upon a time, I was a graduating high school senior and I wanted to made one of the graduation speeches. I wrote a speech, auditioned, and was not chosen. My father asked me what happened. I was hurt that I was not chosen so I told my dad that the other person was favored because of and cried that it was unfair. My dad MADE ME GO WITH HIM to the school board president’s house. A man that worked at the same place as my dad. My dad made a big noisy fuss. I was MORTIFIED. My dad looked like jerk. And I still did not get to make the speech. Because the other guy WROTE A BETTER SPEECH. I am still cringing. (Sorry, Dad.)
    The End

    1. This Is A True Story*

      Sorry, it should say “I told my dad the other person was favored because of reasons that I made up, and I cried that it was unfair”.

  55. M2*

    To the LW if this happened like you said be grateful your daughter isn’t working if under them. Your daughter may not have been the right fit for the role but I have always heard from hiring managers (I am one but Do Not agree with this) that do not pick the best person for the role because they fee threatened by them. They also may have a no hiring friends or family rules which many universities abide by.

    I’m sorry this happened by stay out of it. If you really think there are other hiring issues outside your daughter (they hire manly men etc) then maybe go to HR or your Title IX office. But it can’t be about your daughter and has to be a pattern of possible discrimination going on.

  56. ElizabethJane*

    Also, can we clarify that an adult child (child as in biological child of a parent, not child in regards to age) can live with a parent and in fact be reliant on that parent’s financial resources without actually being a burden to said parent or otherwise taking advantage?

    When my grandfather was at the end of his life and dealing with cancer and dementia my aunt, at that point in her 50s, quit her job a few states away to come live with him and be his full time care taker. She had no income during the last 3 years of his life and used his bank accounts to fund both of their lives. She wasn’t taking advantage but every once in a while she’d take herself out to lunch, or go buy a new pair of shoes, with his money because hey, that was basically her salary. And I will fight anyone who says she was mooching off him. Maybe the neighbor only works part time because he is caring for his elderly mother the rest of the time.

    1. valentine*

      Also, can we clarify that an adult child […] can live with a parent and in fact be reliant on that parent’s financial resources without actually being a burden to said parent or otherwise taking advantage?
      Yes, but all the stories are about caregiving, which is work that should be paid. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a parent supporting their child of any age.

      Lilly/LW/OP, Your description of Neighbor is classist, at best, and I’m thinking he’s caught a whiff of this attitude. I would be reflecting on whether Neighbor volunteers information or whether I ask, whether Neighbor simply states facts and whether I experience them as emergencies or assign myself the task of helping/solving. I’d dial back and respond as though Neighbor is just FYIing. I’d be aiming for fewer details and not involve myself again.

      And the same with Daughter’s job search. It’s worth considering whether she voluntarily confided in you or whether you kept bringing up the interview. Even if you swore your shocked colleagues to secrecy, mightn’t they spread the word about you/r daughter, not your laughing friend? Let’s say she didn’t withdraw and it were appropriate for you to ask why they didn’t hire her. What answer would satisfy you?

      Your friends/colleagues didn’t reject Daughter. She removed the decision from the interviewers. Daughter withdrew, yet you meddled by gossiping about your laughing friend, including sharing the laugh story with prospective students (which is several levels more over-the-top, whichever of you may do this). Both are unnecessary and disproportionate responses. In your shoes, I would reflect on how else I insert myself into Daughter’s (especially professional) life and work on doing nothing.

  57. Quake Johnson*

    “He hasn’t worked in 11 years”

    “He parks cars at an amusement park.”

    Insert that Oprah “So what is the truth?” gif.

    Unless you think that less prestigious jobs than yours don’t count as “real” work. In which case, yikes.

  58. Delilah*

    So I’ve read the majority of the comments and seen OP’s updates. The most shocking thing here is tan OP still does not get what everyone is telling her. The lack of insight into her behaviour is astounding to me.
    There none so blind as those who will not see.

    1. LGC*

      Eh, I KIND of get it. She made the mistake of Internetting While Angry and ended up dumping all of AAM (including you and me) on her head.

      I think a huge part of it is defensiveness – I’d find it pretty hard to be perfectly gracious myself if I wrote in about my close family being wronged, only to be told I was in the wrong. And that can go a few ways – some LWs have doubled down, some have changed their ways, and some have done both (I’m thinking of the high school bully and especially the un-manager here).

      Hopefully, LW logs off of AAM, ignores my terrible posts, and comes back in a few days. I’ve found a little time goes a long way.

      1. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

        I don’t think anyone here has been rude or unkind to LW, quite the contrary! The comment section has been remarkably gentle with LW today, while still being firm about letting her know where the boundary is and that she’s already firmly trod upon it.
        I think most of us truly understand the emotions behind it, we know she is coming from a loving place. But intention isn’t magic, and it doesn’t make this any less an explicit overstepping of boundaries.

        1. sheepla*

          I agree.

          I also think if any of the interviewers were reading this thread, they’d be nodding and saying, THIS, THIS IS WHY we didn’t hire the daughter.
          LW is not doing her daughter any favors here.

        2. LGC*

          I didn’t say anyone was unkind – I can’t definitely say everyone was perfect, but in general, people were respectful of her. But also, even respectful comments in volume can sting – when I posted yesterday, there were over 300 comments (now it’s at 450).

          If I had to phrase it better, I don’t think Lilly expected the vast majority of people here to find her in the wrong (according to Alison’s answer and the vast majority of the comments I’ve read). That’s tough to deal with, even if we’re being respectful of her. And it’s part of the nature of being on the internet – sometimes your message doesn’t land the way you hoped. I know from experience.

          (I mean, this doesn’t make us as commenters wrong! Honestly, I’ll agree that the tone of the comments section has been pretty good, especially considering how it could have gone.)

  59. University Campus Escapee*

    I think OP’s feelings are pretty natural. But I agree she needs to let it go and move on. Let her daughter deal with her own career.

    Universities are interesting places. All sorts of hiring practices are common. Some cronyism, some nepotism, etc.

    Move on, OP. It’s the adult thing to do.

    I do think some posters were a bit hard on you. Sorry for that!

    1. Clisby*

      I don’t think her feelings are the problem. We all have feelings. The problem is acting on them.

  60. MissDisplaced*

    Oh no OP! Please don’t do this!
    There are all sorts of reasons why people don’t get hired. From what you’ve shared here, I suspect it may be that your daughter may have been, or was perceived as being a little to overqualified for the role, or there was a reason they thought the neighbor was a better fit (they could also be wrong—but that’s their decision to make).

    This happens with job searches all the time. Just let it go and move on and please don’t hold it against these people.

  61. Jennifer Juniper*

    OP, think of it this way. If your daughter did indeed get laughed at, why on earth would you want her to work in a company full of assholes? If they acted this badly at the interview stage, the toxicity would only get worse from there!

  62. Oilpress*

    Sometimes connections can work against you. Last year I had an applicant whose mother worked with us. The mother kept hounding me about her child’s application and interview process. By the end of it, even though the applicant was qualified, I just couldn’t stomach having to deal with their mom and chose someone else for the role. Connections can be more trouble than they are worth, especially for a very junior role.

  63. Robin Ellacott*

    Something else to consider: even if the hiring folks WERE out of line or unfair, which I’m not sure is clear third hand, your daughter would probably hate the idea of people thinking her mum was leaping in to defend her.

    I’ve had some unpleasant experiences at work which were absolutely objectionable and unfair, but I would have been truly mortified if either of my parents had tried to step in and defend me. That would have felt far worse than the original slights, which reflected poorly on them, not me.

    We pretty much all want to be perceived as standing on our own two feet professionally. And those who haven’t got there yet probably will, because ultimately that kind of thing hurts the defendee’s reputation.

  64. Auga*

    I don’t get it. You said you recommended he apply for several jobs (including this one?). If you thought he was capable of getting and doing the job, why are you setting out his “track record” and in such a judgmental way?

  65. Jimming*

    This is a great example of why not to recommend your friends/family for jobs or vice versa. Personally I want to be able to confide in my fam/friends. And I think the daughter was sincerely taken off guard by the laugh during the interview and didn’t know what to make of it. If that had happened with totally unrelated people the LW could just support her daughter and move on. So now that the personal/professional lines have been blurred, best thing to do is put it out of your mind. You wouldn’t follow up with any other person who interviewed your daughter so definitely don’t do it here.

  66. Mid to late twenties male*

    Lots of people get stuck in a shitty situation where they have to live with their parents, especially for reasons you are not privy to. This guy next door might have been a programmer in freelance, or this was his 1mil+1 job app and he got lucky. Maybe your daughter was overqualified. But also, maybe you thought your daughter was a shoe in for this job because you worked there, and maybe she did too.

    1. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

      He could have depression or a chronic illness or a disability. He could have been selling items on eBay. Taking classes online. Writing a book. They are a close family that see no reason to live apart if they enjoy living together. There are myriad reasons adult children might choose to live with their elderly parents, and there’s no one proper way to adult.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Agreed. It could be something as simple as the son needs to be around in case mom falls, so it was best to move in. My sister did this for my dad during his last five years or so. He was having balance issues the doctors couldn’t figure out, so she moved in. It was comforting to him (most of the time LOL) to have someone there in case he fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

  67. gsa*

    Someday I will get over of the “Can I” questions…

    Can I sit on my best friends little sister’s head and f@rt? Yes, I can and was fully able and prepared. It seemed like right decision at the time… :D

    Whether or not I should’ve done that is definitely debatable. To this day I believe it made her a stronger woman!

    1. ..Kat..*

      A stronger woman who will hunt you down and get even with you when you least expect it…

  68. Loretta*

    I understand LW’s emotion here. It is baffling and painful to have a family member apparently treated with contempt. It will alter in some way LW’s friendship with the interviewer, and I think there could be some slight grounds to ask a question just to make peace with this person. But it’s a touchy issue at best.

    Very very very few situations merit intervening on another adult’s behalf.

    If a person is very elderly, or trapped in an oppressive/discriminatory situation, or failing health or disability, MAYBE. That’s all I can think of of the top of my head.

    Any other time we intervene on another’s behalf we are communicating our belief that either they are not an adult or they are is some kind of disadvantaged position in society. It sounds like the daughter here is in fact quite privileged in many ways. But, like many of us, she will have to face occasional sexism and workplace jerks. You can be a listening and consoling ear, but trying to force the world to be fair for her is a Sisyphean task. She has to learn to deal, as an adult, at some point.

  69. G.Ramirez*

    I once had a coworker’s daughter apply for a position. I work in finance, so for internal controls, I absolutely 100% do not allow related parties (or nonrelated parties living in an employees home) to be supervised by family members, or to serve in a position where they are the backup supervisor of the family member. Even after explaining this and confirming the validity of my position with our attorney and audit partner, a very pushy employee questioned this in a way that I would consider grossly inappropriate. What she doesn’t know is that I did work with her daughter in a volunteer role a few years prior. On one occasion, when I asked the daughter to help with a project (we were scrounging to fill in for a lead volunteer who was out), her response: “its not my job”. Well, little darlin’ its surely not my job either, but was stepping up as a volunteer. Her attitude told me volumes and I would never want her on my team. All this to say, people may love your daughter, but who knows if she stepped on some toes years ago.

  70. TechWorker*

    I find all the assumptions that LWs daughter is likely over qualified interesting because I made the opposite assumption. Presumably neighbour at 11 years had a job that LW considered being ‘in work’ and was therefore not parking cars… a newish grad vs someone with potentially years of experience (even with a big gap) I don’t think is automatically ‘the grad is over qualified’…

  71. Berlina*

    Maybe they were mean. Or maybe your daughter showed the same hint of arrogance and entitlement you kinda show towards your neighbour? Maybe she got “laughed at” because she wanted to immediately solve a long running problem without any further knowledge…? Who knows.

    If she’s so great, she’ll soon get another job. ;)

  72. londonedit*

    I can sort of see where OP is coming from – or at least sympathise with her for being disappointed in the situation. She had this idea that both her neighbour and her daughter would get jobs at the university, she probably got a bit too invested in that as an awesome plan, and then it didn’t quite come off.

    The letter does read as if she and her daughter were offended at the fact that the neighbour was offered a job ‘immediately’ whereas her daughter didn’t immediately heard back – and if that’s correct, then I do think the daughter was a bit hasty to withdraw her application before the interview panel had even had a chance to come back to her. Who knows what the hiring timeline looked like for that job – they might have just been taking more time to think. The neighbour and the daughter could have been applying for two very different jobs (it sounds as though that might be the case, seeing as the neighbour’s employment history is completely different from the daughter’s).

    That said, there’s absolutely no way that OP should talk to people at work about her daughter’s application. However sensitively she may think she’s discussing it, it’s never going to come off as anything other than ‘You didn’t hire my daughter and that’s SO UNFAIR’. Maybe it is unfair. Maybe the interviewer was a total arse who laughed in the daughter’s face. It’s still not something OP can or should be getting involved with.

    1. Shay*

      What if the hiring team had the daughter in mind for something else??? There is so much here that Mom doesn’t know but she feels empowered to argue the team’s decision.

  73. Joaquin Apart*

    LW – One of your responses upthread said “I’m the one who suggested he apply for several jobs here.”

    Am I reading that right? The person who got the job ahead of your daughter was someone who might not have applied for the job if you hadn’t suggested it to him?

    If so, might that be what’s making things seem a lot worse?

    1. Oilpress*

      Definitely. I think the LW thought she had more control over the situation than she actually had. I also think that the LW’s reputation (good or bad) could have hurt her daughter’s chances.

  74. IWishIHadAFancyUserName*

    I would be absolutely furious if my mother interfered in my professional life in the infantilizing manner OP is proposing.

    If Daughter is mature enough and has chops enough to have a Master’s degree and run an educational program for disabled adults, she doesn’t need Mommy helicoptering in to save the day. While it might be personally satisfying to call out co-workers on the perceived slight, long term effect is more likely that OP will gain a reputation for butting in on decisions that are not hers to make, and Daughter could be quietly and informally blacklisted to avoid potential future drama.

    Don’t do it.

  75. HigherEd Person*

    Yeah, I’m gonna need the LW to come back and elaborate on the fact that her daughter *RESCINDED* her application, yet she’s pissed her daughter never heard anything back? What the what?

    Don’t bring anything up about this, ever. Never. Not the laugh, nothing. It will reflect horribly on you and your daughter. You only know what she told you, you don’t know the whole story and the reasoning behind it. You’ve backpedaled a TON here about the neighbor, going from “he’s a slacker who parks cars and lives with his mom” to “No! I’m happy for him! I told him to apply!” – which shows that you’re really not over this.

    Please. For the sake of you and your daughter’s professional reputations.

  76. CoffeeAndScones*

    So this is the thread that’s finally gotten me out of lurking.

    I keep thinking about the neighbor telling the OP that he has “decided to live off his mother.” Yes, that may be what he said, but I think it’s very possible that “live off his mother” is an attempt to make light of something else, perhaps something like “I haven’t been able to find other work.” I’ve seen friends and family struggle with unemployment and underemployment, and many have expressed that the emotional toll is more difficult than the financial hardship. Perhaps especially for a guy, where in many places there’s the assumption that you’ll make enough money to be the primary support of a family. Maybe the neighbor decided to take advantage of his parents, which is what the OP seems to believe. Or, maybe he didn’t feel like discussing his employment situation in detail and he finds it too difficult to tell people that he’s struggling. I can totally see certain people that I know making a similar joke under these circumstances.

  77. Former Employee*

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but the OP said that her daughter has a masters degree, is an alumni and works full time running a program. She also mentioned that neither the daughter nor the neighbor has any experience in this particular area, which puts to rest any speculation that the neighbor has experience from back when.

    They asked the neighbor what he described as easy questions, but seem to have grilled the daughter.

    I hate to say it, but it does sound like a set up. Perhaps the OP’s friends felt sorry for the neighbor and felt that he needed the job more than the OP’s daughter. If so, they should have been honest about what they were doing, but may have decided that if they said anything, they could have been in trouble because that’s hardly the way to determine who is the best person for the job.

    There are other possibilities involving less charitable motives.

  78. Safetykats*

    Unless you are working in a hugely unprofessional organization, nobody should be able to tell you the rationale for a hiring decision that is really not your business. And if you’re not on the hiring committee, it’s really not your business. They might be willing to tell your daughter if she asks, but they aren’t obligated to tell her either. And this is actually a good thing. I was in the position a few years ago of having to rescind an offer to the child of a former coworker because they failed the background check. I know my former coworker was unhappy that I wouldn’t tell them the reason, but I’m sure everyone involved would have been much more unhappy if I could have shared that information..

    Please at least consider that it’s probably better if you don’t ask, and don’t know what happened here. Maybe your coworkers are jerks who treated your daughter poorly – and maybe there is a valid reason she wasn’t hired, one which should be kept confidential.

  79. Smithie4Life*

    It sounds to me like you work in a boys’ club and they didn’t want any women around. If your *daughter* is upset by the situation, have her contact HR and file a complaint.

  80. Smithie4Life*

    Interesting how many people assume that it’s the *mother* writing this note. Why couldn’t it be the father? What if it’s a position typically/historically by men?

    I’m stunned that so few people see the gender possibilities and problems here.

Comments are closed.