As a pregnant person, you might be wondering if your baby bump will get in the way of landing the job you want, especially with things like maternity leave on your mind.
Pregnancy discrimination while job searching is a legitimate fear for any mother-to-be, but this shouldn't stop you from giving your best performance and landing the job. This guide will help you in preparing for and handling the interview process while pregnant.
You are under no legal obligation to tell a prospective employer about your pregnancy, but it might be a good idea for several reasons. It is best to be open and honest about parts of your life that will affect your employment.
Three key points to keep in mind:
They say a mother’s work is never done, and that same rule applies to the work a soon-to-be mother must put into applying for jobs. If you’re applying for positions while pregnant, you may want to specifically look for resources that connect you with companies creating better work environments for mothers.
Take a look at job boards designed to help mothers, whether you’re in your first trimester or already have a little one running around. Wherever you are in your search, Teal’s Job Tracker can keep track of the jobs you’re interested in, as well as where you are in the application process. Soon-to-be mothers have enough on their minds but with Teal’s Job Tracker, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Before you apply, give yourself a better chance of landing that coveted interview by tuning up your resume. While you’re busy getting ready for the arrival of your bundle of joy, you won't want to spend hours on your computer reworking your resume to suit all of the applications you need to fill out. When you use Teal’s Resume Builder, Teal does that work for you, increasing your chances of getting called for an interview by 10 times.
With these helpful resources, you’ll land that interview in no time. But now you have another important question that only you can answer: Should you disclose your pregnancy in the interview process?
If you can start your job search early on in your pregnancy, you absolutely should. Your body is working hard to grow a tiny human, and the further along in your pregnancy you get, the more of your energy will get used up. During the first trimester you may find that you have more energy to spare, making the interviewing process a little less daunting.
Many women don’t disclose their pregnancy to anyone during the first trimester, so you may not want to discuss it with your prospective employer yet. And that’s your prerogative. At no point in your pregnancy do you legally have to disclose that you’re pregnant. During your first trimester, you’re likely not showing much yet either. It’s worth noting, however, that there’s no law that can prevent your interviewer from asking you if you are pregnant. Such a question may place you in a difficult position but the decision to disclose is still yours to make.
Even if you opt not to share that you’re pregnant, you’ll still want to question your prospective employer about their maternity leave options, healthcare coverage for families, remote work opportunities for new mothers and childcare stipends. As much as an interview is a chance for an employer to learn whether you’re a good fit for their company, it’s also a chance for you to learn whether the company is a good fit for you. If you’re a new mother, you may find that your priorities have shifted from when you were first starting your career.
An additional concern you may have is the potential for needing to reschedule. Morning sickness is typically most common in the first trimester, and it’s difficult to prepare for. If you wake up on the day of your interview with morning sickness causing problems, you may have to reschedule your interview. You may also need to reschedule if there’s a health complication and you need to make a last-minute doctor’s appointment.
If the need to reschedule arises, call the hiring manager as soon as you’re aware of the issue, apologize sincerely and ask for a new date and time. You should offer a reason for cancelation, but if you don’t want to tell them about your pregnancy, you can simply say that you’re ill.
When you enter your second trimester, you may be showing more. You still do not have to disclose your pregnancy but it may be more likely to come up naturally, especially if you’re interviewing in person rather than via a video call.
If you decide to disclose, you are technically protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Regardless of whether you’re already an employee or interviewing to be one, an employer cannot legally discriminate based on your pregnancy status. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prove that you didn’t receive a job offer due to pregnancy. Most hiring managers won’t outright say that your pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave are the reasons for you not getting the job.
Another thing to think about: the beginning of the second trimester is frequently when women announce their pregnancy to friends and family, and for many women today that means sharing a post on social media. Although we don’t like to think of our lives being on display for the world to see, many hiring managers do social media checks before their interviews. If you have announced your pregnancy on social media, your interviewer might already be aware of your status.
Many advocates for women’s rights in the workplace say it’s best not to tell your potential employer about your pregnancy until after you’ve started the job. Due to some of the unfortunate biases that still exist concerning mothers in the workforce, it’s possible that you may be discriminated against in the hiring process—despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. However, during the third trimester you will likely be noticeably pregnant, and your prospective employer may expect you to disclose your status.
You'll also want to keep in mind the timeline of the hiring process. If you’re early on in the interviewing process, you may have to undergo several more rounds of meetings, which might inch closer and closer to your due date. If you disclose your status before you’re hired, your prospective employer may appreciate that you’re giving them ample time to find someone for your maternity leave.
It can be nerve-wracking to talk about your pregnancy in a job interview, but today’s hiring process for mothers looks very different from how it looked decades ago. It’s always your decision whether or not to disclose your pregnancy, but if you find yourself interviewing with a company that clearly creates a supportive environment for mothers, you may feel comfortable sharing the news. And many employers will appreciate you being up front with them, giving them time to prepare for your upcoming maternity leave.
Being adequately prepared for what your time at the company will look like can put you among the top candidates for the job. Perhaps the most important thing to remember here is that you should be linking everything back to your capability for the role.
Discuss the months ahead and what they will look like for your potential employer. Having a plan for your maternity leave and discussing this in your interview will show the employer that you are committed and reliable.
Interviews are a two-way street. Once you feel confident and prepared to tackle any question they throw at you, you might want to consider asking the interviewer some questions. Some questions you might want to ask include:
These questions will help uncover whether the job is really for you. If you learn that the company cannot provide adequate support to pregnant women and families, then maybe the role isn't worth pursuing.
Additionally, if you experience significant discrimination in the interview, that company might not be worthy of your talent and skills.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits unfavorable treatment towards pregnant people at any stage of hiring or employment, including the interview process.
It might make interviewing more complicated, but you can absolutely get hired while you're pregnant. You might want to emphasize your commitment and eagerness for the role despite your situation. You could even use your pregnancy to your advantage. For example, if you've worked while pregnant recently or in the past, you could use this as an example of your ability to multitask and prioritize.