Guide to Job Interviewing While Pregnant

by | May 13, 2024 | Interviewing

As if being pregnant is not enough of a challenge for a person, imagine also being pregnant while conducting a job search. It seems to be like taking a near impossible task and making it that much more difficult.

This is especially true because most pregnant job seekers are doing so because they lost their most recent position and have found themselves unexpectedly in the marketplace. This is the likely scenario because most pregnant workers will generally avoid the disruption of changing jobs due to medical benefits and any potential issues with their current physician network.

While there is no perfect recipe to follow when pregnant and job seeking, there are (as you would expect) some tips to consider if you find yourself in this demanding situation.

• You Are Protected Under Law – There is legislation under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (and some other related laws) that makes it illegal for an employer to not select you for a position based solely on your pregnancy. While that is a relief, the reality is that unless the Hiring Manager is dumb enough to do something very overt (such as asking pregnancy related interview questions), it may be hard to tie your failure to obtain a position directly to your physical condition.

• Consider Focusing on Larger Companies – Once again, discriminating against someone in an employment decision because of their pregnancy is illegal, but it does occur on a frequent basis. A larger company is more likely to be familiar with a pregnant applicant and how to properly conduct themselves in the hiring process. They should be less tempted to discriminate since they will have formal policies, training, and a greater size capacity to manage an employee who is pregnant (or on related leave). You can also do an online search and go on social media to get a sense of how pregnant-friendly an organization appears to be.

• Focus On Roles Without Restrictions – In order to ease any concern that an employer may have, you could place the focus of your job search in positions that are not physically demanding to the point that you will need restrictions. This would allow you to avoid going through the interactive restrictions process immediately and may allow you to work longer into your pregnancy (if you so desire).

• Do You Disclose? – Of course, it is your decision to disclose and when to do so. If you are fairly far along in your pregnancy, your visible situation will be the “elephant in the room” during the discussion. In most situations, disclosing when you are scheduled for the interview will not only prevent any surprise, but show the Hiring Manager that you are open and honest. I do not recommend doing it earlier, such as in your cover letter or during a phone screening.

• Be Savvy When Scheduling Your In-Person Interview – You know your body better than anyone and when you typically feel better than other times. For example, if you are regularly ill early in the morning, then you should avoid an 8 am meeting, as you may not be at your best.

• Share Your Plans – To further the spirit of transparency, share with the Hiring Manager your plans to come back to work after your leave. You can even let them know you have already worked out whatever day care type plans that will be needed upon your return to the workforce. The Hiring Manager won’t be (or they shouldn’t be) asking for that detail, so you would need to feel comfortable enough to share.

• Emphasize Your Immediate Impact – Since you will be departing sometime soon after starting, you will want to make sure you communicate that you plan to make a great first impression. The message should be that you will be productive immediately and will instantly add value.

• Communicate That You Learn Quickly and Retain – All positions require a level of training, so you will want to stress that you pick up key points quickly. Since you will also be entering a leave situation and then returning, your aptitude to retain what you have learned will be important. Relay that you will not need a long runway of training when you return in order to be productive.

It is important for you to obtain the information you will need to move forward with your decision to accept an offered position. You will likely need knowledge on the company’s leave policies and information on its benefit programs, especially medical offerings.

The stress of being without a job is compounded by a person who is also pregnant and having to go out to interviews. There are options to consider that will make the situation as livable as possible for the job seeker, while also placing the prospective employer in a position to do the right thing.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein

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