Whether this is your first, second or fifth pregnancy there's a very good chance that you're feeling a bit of anxiety and stress about the new addition, and adding a job hunt into the mix can only pile on to that stress. If you're wondering what you're going to say to a prospective employer about your pregnancy, take a deep breath, and remember that the right employer will be one that honors your right to be a worker, mother, wife and domestic goddess all at the same time.
It's not just uncouth for employers to ask about your pregnancy status, it's illegal, and there's a specific law forbidding it. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers can't discriminate against you in hiring and firing, how much you get paid, the type of work you do -- or in any aspect of your employment with the company. If you don't want to say you're pregnant during the interview, the law says you won't have to.
Not Visibly Pregnant
If you're not visibly showing a baby bump, your pregnancy status may never come up during the interview. You could choose to be totally open and reveal the information yourself -- but that's not generally recommended, and could put you at "unnecessary risk" of not getting the job, advises employment law expert Peter Hillman in an article in "The New York Times." The employer likely won't come right out and say that your pregnancy was the reason for choosing someone else, but in a tight job market you might not want to take that chance.
When you're visibly pregnant there's really no way of getting around the fact -- and in that stage of pregnancy, the discussion about maternity leave and health benefits has to happen sooner than later. If you're already showing and attending interviews, your best bet is to be direct about the situation; the employer is still barred by law from bringing it up so it's up to you to do so. During the interview, or in final negotiations, offer information about how you plan to minimize the impact your pregnancy and family status will have on your co-workers, suggests human resources manager Cheryl Smith, in an article in "The New York Times."
When to Tell
If you're not visibly showing yet you still feel it's important to reveal your pregnancy status, wait until the final negotiations or the second interview. Bring up the issue during the portion of the interview when you're expected to ask questions of the hiring staff, which is essentially your chance to "interview" them. Let the hiring managers know that you're looking to work for a company that offers you the right fit, and that the company with the right fit will be one that considers and accepts your pregnancy and future parenthood. Following that, it doesn't hurt to reiterate what benefits or special skills you'll bring to the team should you be hired.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.