Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, and it changes the life of the would-be parents in many ways. Both the parents, especially the mother take various important steps to make this experience an enjoyable one. But if the mother is a working woman continuing her job or getting ready for a new job, being pregnant can pose some challenges. If you are pregnant and wishing to take some new work opportunities, you may have to consider certain vital factors. Usually expectant mothers remain concerned about how to deal with interviewers during the hiring process. Whether to reveal your pregnancy to potential employers, how to reveal and what will be the future of the job are some questions that baffle the minds of expectant mothers a lot.
Pregnancy, in no way, should be linked to a woman’s academic background and professional achievements, which are the basic parameters for any logical hiring interview and decision. Yet there are some practices, which you must know to keep your focus on the interview process itself and not your bump. Some beforehand preparations and strategies will surely make you a winner. Let’s discuss the various aspects:
1. Before the interview: If you want to search a real good job, you have to start early. Be practical. Scouring websites, contacting friends and colleagues, making calls for checking vacancies, doing some basic preparation for interviews are not that easy. When you are pregnant you may lose energy more quickly and suffer from mood swings. So doing all these will take bit more time in your case than a woman who is not pregnant.
Secondly, there are chances of you not getting too many offers if the hiring authority comes to know about your pregnancy. Whether to disclose the truth is a point that we will discuss later. But yes…no company can deny you employment legally because of your pregnancy. What happens in reality is not always what should happen. A hiring manager may look at you with raised eyebrows during the interview process when you show up with that bump. They may doubt your productivity and availability at work. They may even interview you although they decided to reject you at your very first sight. This is illegal, but you cannot do much to prove that your pregnancy was the sole reason for you not getting the offer. In this way, you may lose many offers. Since you have to keep trying on, you must start early.
2. During the interview: You might already have learnt about all the contradictory ideas regarding whether to disclose or not your pregnancy news to your employer. There are two sides of the coin:
- It is not mandatory to reveal your pregnancy. But you can inform your employer, if you want. If you desire to work for 7-8 months during pregnancy, it is better to make them informed as they will eventually come to know when your tummy will go bigger. So chances are that your manager will like your honesty and help you during tough times. Even if you are newly pregnant and choose not to reveal the fact, your manager may feel resentful thinking that you could have told them something sooner during the interview process.
- According to many career coaches, it is best not to disclose the truth while job hunting. Until the point you get a good, firm offer, you must not reveal. In many cases, this truth may act against your favour. Once you join the job, try hard to please your manager with hard work and great presentation skills. This is possible in earlier months of pregnancy. Once your suit jacket doesn’t button up, you may talk with your boss in a polite way. Now, if you are fifth month pregnant and going through the interview ordeal, you may also choose not to reveal. If this is a telephonic or online interview, you need not. Once you get the confirmation letter from the company and if you need not go to the office throughout the entire process, don’t disclose the matter. Once you start going to the office, look for some befitting situation when you can tell your boss about the reality. And if you are fired, you may go for a pregnancy discrimination case.
3. Dealing with doubts of the interviewer: Your interviewer may express their doubt whether you will able to give your 100% at work, take maternity leaves at an early period, or quit your job, to think of the worst. Here you must show your eagerness for the job, your preparedness for the coming times and how you plan to manage your family and work. Devise some strategies well in advance and let the employers know how responsible you can be as a professional. Talk about your future plans and how your availability and skill sets will fit what the organization strives for.
4. Use your experience: If you are an experienced mother, you can speak from your previous experience regarding how to create balance between job and personal life.
5. After the interview: It might happen that the entire interview process has happened over telephone and you have been called to the office to meet team member, some specific clients or simply to collect the appointment letter. You haven’t disclosed your pregnancy. You are thinking about the fears your manager or clients may have regarding your work ethic and availability. The best way to address these fears is to look confident, prepare for the typical questions-answers as discussed above and talk about your skill sets and commitment level. The sight of any office member looking at your belly must not lower your confidence. Break the ice with some words like “surprise” and tell them that you are ready to answer their questions regarding your availability and professionalism.
Thinking about all these issues is normal. But that does not mean you start ignoring new opportunities. If you are miserable in your present office, looking for ways to adjust with your manager, fired because of a huge company layoff or relocated to a new place due to family matters, you will have to search for a new job. Again there may be other situations also. You start searching for a new job and find yourself pregnant. In both the ways, you need to be careful while being interviewed. To score the job, you have to convince the interviewer by your professional attitude, strategic planning skills, ability to think differently and manage situations accordingly and of course, by your smartness and sense of humour.