Opinion

Charlie Mullins: Acting like a football agent won't get your child a job

5 min read

07 September 2015

Most parents will do almost anything for their kids, but a story about a Spanish pensioner trying to pay employers to give his son a job nearly made me choke on my paella!

I was actually in Spain when this story broke and hot-footed its way over the Pyrenees and across Europe before landing in the pages of the British press. 

It caused some heated discussion on the Costa del Sol, I can tell you, which centred on the belief that no business owner should take what amounts to a bribe to give someone a job.

Basically, the pensioner from Zaragoza, up in the north east of the country, placed an advert in his local paper offering €5,000 (£3,660) to anyone who would give his 39 year-old son a job.

Apparently, more than 20 companies have responded to offer a job to the bloke, who, according to his dad’s ad, is “qualified, responsible, hardworking and has a good professional record”.

While this old chap is obviously very well intending and job seekers are always my preference over benefit addicts, any business person that takes up such an offer would have to have rocks in their head.

If someone is not up to the job then no amount of money means having a round peg in a square hole is going to be a good idea. And trying to make it work could end up costing a business more than the five grand’s worth of euros that the geezer will bring with him in his lunchbox on his first day at work.

I wonder if he’d applied previously to any of the firms that are now clambering for him to join their workforce. Of course, the job market is tough in Spain with unemployment at around 23 per cent, which is the equivalent of about five million people. So yes, you have to make yourself stand out from the crowd, but you have to do it yourself and not expect mum and dad to do it for you.

Read more from Charlie Mullins:

I’ve always said parents that get involved in their children’s job hunting are more of a hindrance than a help. We regularly get parents calling our recruitment team to see if there are any jobs for their son or daughter. By doing this, they’ve only helped their kids to fall at the first hurdle.

It always makes me laugh when we get these calls followed by a CV sent by the parents that says their kid is a “self-motivator”. I’m all for giving someone a leg up, but they need to be right for me, and one of the prerequisites is that they need to have the gumption, drive or whatever, to front themselves up and ask for the job.

If they can’t stand on their own two feet when it comes to applying for a job what chance have they got in the big bad world?

But, unfortunately, despite me and plenty of other bosses telling them to the contrary, it hasn’t stopped some parents from becoming the equivalent of a footballer’s agent touting their little darlings around the job market. 

And, even though they haven’t gone to the lengths of taking out an advert containing a cash incentive, it’s not unusual for parents to approach me to give their son or daughter an apprenticeship if they pay the wages. They’re always surprised when I decline their offer. It’s just not the right and fair way to do it.

Jobs are given on merit based on aptitude, qualifications and skill. The well-meaning actions of the Spanish dad should fail to pass muster with any employer.

To be honest, the pair of them would be much better off investing the money in starting a small business – properly putting their money where their mouths are.

What are your thoughts on the €5,000 offer from the Spanish father? Let us know in the comment box below.