Did I mess up?

I am a recent industrial design graduate and two weeks ago I was flown in for an interview. They company paid for all of the expenses. The company explained that they were located in a remote area and that almost all of the employees commute an hour or more to work everyday. Because of this, they STRONGLY encouraged me to check out the surrounding areas (they are located close to the border of a state, so the surrounding areas included two completely different states, both which I had never been to).

I only had one full day to explore all of these locations, about 5 cities, so my mom flew up (on her own dime) with me to help drive and offer criticism about all of these locations since I could potentially be living in one of them. We shared the rental car and hotel room, however, I realized that this might have seemed unprofessional to the company (they asked about the stay/drive/what I thought about the area). I did not intend to be unprofessional, just due to the short amount of time I was there it seemed easier to split the hotel and rental car. Should I not have done this?

The only way this would be unprofessional is if your mom came in to the building with you and waited in the lobby…

Other than that I don’t think they would mind that you bring a relative with you, especially at your young age, it’s a big move and moms see things we don’t. Now if you are 40 and had her come with you it may seem a little weird.

As long as you didn’t bad mouth the local towns then I wouldn’t see any alarm bells ringing, what was their reaction to you telling them your mom came with you to make you paranoid about the interview? By the sounds of it if they have to fly people in to interview then it may just take them a while to pick the right candidate as there won’t be an abundance like there is in the big cities. Congrats on the interview.

Totally fine to have your Mom (or anyone) tag along and share the rental car/hotel the company was already paying for. I don’t think that in and of itself would be an issue at all. Now if you spent the interview talking about what your mom thought about each area, that would be weird, but barring anything odd like that, should be totally OK.

Any updates? Did you follow up with an email at all to thank them for their time and paying expenses? If they haven’t responded to this then perhaps send them another one on Monday morning reiterating how much you enjoyed speaking with them. If there was something particular they said that stands out maybe bring that up too.

Alternatively someone on the design team may have given you their contact info, might be worth a follow up call but lets have senior member of the board chime in on which would be better…

Something similar happened to me once… I was visiting LA with my girlfriend, pretty soon out of University and still living in NC. I had an informational interview at RKS and we didn’t know LA so I didn’t want to just drop her off on a corner somewhere for the interview, soo… she came in with me. Their meeting rooms were full, so had the interview in the lobby table and since she was obviously with me, they invited her over to join us! I played it cool, but was so worried about the same thing - was it professional, did it make me look bad, what did I do!? It all went smoothly, they actually thought it was cool she joined. Believe it or not, one of them later said they thought I did it on purpose to get a second opinion on how things went!

Anyway, my point is that it probably didn’t appear unprofessional at all - since we all have Moms, all sometimes need a someone for a second opinion, and the reality is that work lives can overlap with personal lives in the professional world and how you handle it can actually make you look better.