In every job interview of my adult life, I have been asked about my marital and parental status. Technically, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for an employer to make a hiring decision based on your reply. So, what could possibly be the reason they are asking such a risky question?
An interviewer may make false assumptions about a newlywed, single adult, divorcee, or parent. Single parent? Some employers consider that a double whammy.
When employers hear that a possible employee is a parent, they hear limited hours, call-outs, distractions, and really boring soccer game stories, right?
Possible. But once upon a time, when I was involved in the screening process, hiring a parent meant something very different for me.
Benefits of Hiring a Parent
Conflict management is a must-have skill in the workplace and in the home. Whether it’s refereeing fighting children, smoothing things over with a partner or friend, or managing a staff conflict, it is important to have staff that is capable of maintaining a respectful demeanor to ensure steady operation of the business. Parents provide top-notch conflict management and resolution.
Finding missing socks and coordinating health appointments require some serious problem-solving skills. As a parent, you become trained to constantly think about the solution to these problems. Whether in the home or on the job, we balance the possible outcomes to problems and choose the most crowd-pleasing or beneficial option.
Going hand-in-hand with conflict resolution, patience is a skill few young adults possess. Parents deal with incessant crying for hours, but still love and care for their loud, puking baby. This skill easily transfers to the workplace. Tough clients, co-workers, and even managers require a special level of tolerance.
Team management and motivation is a transferable skill as well. Compromising is essential for working with a group of employees. Parents are less likely to have an individualized approach or mindset. They possess the ability to work together to solve problems or strategize. Overall, team building in the workplace enables better communication, relationships, and productivity.
Multiple kids mean multiple schedules; so much to do in so little time. Time management is an imperative skill to have as both a parent and an employee. Both must prioritize the workload efficiently to ensure everything is running smoothly and that the household is hitting all its marks. Having excellent time management skills can come in handy even if there are interruptions to their work calendar.
Once becoming a parent, you have to really get on top of your household budget. With a baby, your personal finances dramatically change. This means there is a need to have a great understanding of how to properly budget and manage finances to guarantee everything is paid on time, making a profit, and the materials are ordered.
The above list is pretty basic, right? Every adult in general needs to possess these skills.
However, according to my friend at TinyPulse, marketer Andrew Sumitani, parents uniquely possess the following: “Ruthless prioritization, scrappy problem-solving, ability to embrace change. These [skills] pretty much apply to any tech startup where people need to wear lots of different hats, unravel problems quickly, and execute.”