Pregnant women involved in a job search face the dilemma of when to reveal the information to their potential new employer. While under no legal obligation to mention the pregnancy, many mothers-to-be deem it best to start the employment relationship without secrets. Others worry that sharing the news will lose the opportunity, even though federal law forbids discriminating against job applicants based on pregnancy.
"Whether or not to disclose your pregnancy during the job interview process is a very personal decision and needs to be one that you are comfortable with. Every situation is going to be different," says career coach Elizabeth Koraca.
Consider the pregnancy's stage
An initial consideration is one's trimester. A woman who is seven months into pregnancy has little choice but to acknowledge her condition during an interview (though the recent popularity of Zoom interviews could potentially buy some women more time). Someone only a few weeks in has more leeway. If you haven't made the news public to others in your life yet, revealing it to an employer can feel strange or unnecessary.
Weigh your revelation options
A woman who is showing is best off providing basic information to an interviewer rather than making the person wonder. Knowing a due date aids the company with planning if hired.
The situation becomes trickier when your physical state doesn't broach the subject for you. Consider building rapport and a solid case for why the organization should choose you over other candidates before any announcement. You'll establish yourself first and foremost in their mind as an applicant of interest, not as the pregnant lady seeking a job.
In the spirit of starting on the right foot, letting the employer know sooner rather than later can feel right. Some women decide to reveal at the end of the first interview or bring the pregnancy up early in the second interview. Others fear the news is a ticket to the exit door. They conceal information until the company extends a contract or even until after the job starts.
Each woman needs to explore what seems right in her situation and act in the manner with which she feels comfortable.
Sell your candidacy
All job applicants, pregnant or not, need to convince the employer of their worth. Focus on what you bring to the table and why the company should hire you.
"When you do decide to tell your prospective employer that you are pregnant, keep it positive," Koraca says. "Be confident to proactively discuss your appointment needs, maternity leave plans, child care situation, flexibility, and commitment. Provide examples of how you know you'll be successful in the role. The main goal for the employer is to find great talent — engaged and productive employees."
It's normal to feel a bit of trepidation when sharing the news. Remember, however, that mothers make up a large part of the workforce. Smart companies know that supporting women builds loyalty. Respecting you from the get-go builds the type of long-term relationship both employer and employee benefit from for years to come.