As if job hunting weren’t stressful enough, adding a pregnancy into the mix can really complicate things. In 1978, the U.S. government passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which barred companies from denying expectant mothers jobs based on their pregnancies. But it isn’t always so simple. Are you in the middle of a job search of your own? Take our tips for interviewing while expecting:
Choose the right time
Choosing when to disclose your pregnancy is key. If you’re in your first or second trimester and haven’t started showing – or if you interview by phone or video call – keeping your bump under wraps will be easy to do. Even though companies are legally obligated to consider your candidacy, you may still be pushed out of the running if you disclose too early. However, wait too long, and you may feel dishonest. A recent study out of the United Kingdom showed 76 percent of hiring managers would not offer a woman a job if they knew she’d be pregnant in the next six months. Illegal? Yes, but unfortunately it’s the times we live in.
The bottom line? If you can perform the job well while pregnant, sharing your news shouldn’t make much difference. Get through the interview process and let them know your news after you’ve been offered the job.
Know what’s right
Understand that it’s against the law for a hiring manager to ask if you’re pregnant. But he or she can legally ask if there’s any reason you may not be able to fulfill the duties of the job. Let’s say a big project is slated right around your due date, or you must be around potentially harmful chemicals. Those are two reasons you, as an expectant mom, may not be the best fit for the role.
Consider maternity leave
Maternity leave can also muck up the waters. Securing a job is one thing, but then talking to your boss about taking time away is quite another. Know your rights. And then, be proactive about discussing your leave. Talk up your flexibility, organization and responsibility to assure your supervisor you’ll have things well under control. If you can start your job early, you can ensure you have enough experience under your belt to take your leave in good standing. Be positive and confident in breaking your news – and your employer will most likely feel the same.
The bottom line
Although discriminating against pregnant women during job interviews is illegal, it can be awfully tough to prove. We suggest being intentional about your big reveal, choosing the right time to share your news. Give thought to your maternity leave, too, and assure your boss you can have the infrastructure in place to leave your work organized and moving forward while you’re away.