Pregnancy is an incredibly exciting time, but if you’re looking for a job while you’re expecting, you may find your growing bump an interview hurdle. But Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster Jobs, says interviewing for a job while pregnant can be done successfully. In fact, she’s recently seen two pregnant women successfully land the job. It may not be the ideal situation, but if done correctly, there’s no reason why you—and your little one—can’t land the job.
The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more difficult the decision may be to reveal your situation to a potential employer. If you’re interviewing during your first trimester, for example, and are not showing and may not even have revealed the news to your friends and family, you would likely feel uncomfortable sharing your pregnancy news with a potential employer. Salemi says you are absolutely under no obligation to disclose your pregnancy. In fact, it’s against the law for potential employers to ask you any questions about pregnancy, marital status, or family plans.
If you’re visibly pregnant, it may be more challenging to avoid the topic. Instead, your bump may become "the elephant in the room" that the employer knows they’re not allowed to ask about, but are thinking about during the entire interview. In this case, Salemi says it may be wise to be upfront with your potential employer. "Quickly mention it, then focus on your interest in the job," she says. Mentioning your plans to return to work can help you deflect any concerns that the interviewer has regarding your pregnancy. "Hiring managers may unfortunately have assumptions and may automatically want to dismiss you," says Salemi. Stating that you plan to take six weeks off after giving birth, and that you already have child care set up for when you return shows the interviewer that you have a plan, and it makes it easier for them to disregard your pregnancy as a reason not to hire you.
After you get hired, don’t make the first conversation about your pregnancy. "You definitely want to tell your boss sooner rather than later, but you don’t want to say, ‘Hi, thanks for hiring me, by the way I’m pregnant,’" says Salemi. Allow some time to go by to get oriented to the job, and then request a face-to-face meeting with your boss, where you can lay out your post-pregnancy plan and how you intend to work both during and after the pregnancy, including any accommodations you may need, such as the ability to work from home in the later stages of the pregnancy.
Consider how your pregnancy and your child may impact the type of job you want to look for. If you’re a few months along, you may want to consider a contract position that will allow you to be off work with your new baby. "For anyone looking for a job, you really need to look at your stage in life and what your priorities are at that time," says Salemi. If flexible working hours or the ability to work from home is important to you, you may want to tailor your job search to take into account your new lifestyle. But, Salemi says, "Look for a job with full gusto as you would even if you weren’t pregnant." Being overly nervous about your pregnancy will only interfere with your interview success.