Friday, August 2, 2013

Interviewing While Obviously Pregnant

I got called last week for an interview on Monday for an accounting job I applied for at the beginning of April. 

Then I got a call for two interviews later that Friday at other locations, and adding a second round interview from the one on Monday.   

It mushroomed clouded to more calls for interviews and follow-up interviews.  

I decided to take this opportunity to interview because the jobs were appealing and it would be a good experience for me to see what is it like interviewing while pregnant.  I'm more than halfway, and starting to show!  

If you're pregnant and looking for a job...

Do your part to make sure that the hiring decision was based on your ability to do the job, not because you'll give birth and need time off. 

DO NOT bring up the pregnancy during the interview process unless asked about it.  Bring up your pregnancy if you get an offer, and deal with that from there.  

In general, interviewers rather not know that you're pregnant because they need to make the most objective decision possible based on your ability and other candidates' ability to do the job, not because you're pregnant or about to get pregnant.  

Good hiring managers are interested in your skills and abilities, not your personal life.  Plus they don't want to run a risk of a lawsuit.  

Having these thoughts ingrained in my mind helped a lot with being able to focus on preparing for questions in the interview that do matter.  

If possible, hide your bump but don't freak out if you can't hide it any longer. What's wrong with you being pregnant, healthy and looking for a job anyway?  Nothing!

Things I discovered:

  • I realized that interviewers can ask a lot harder questions than the question of "are you pregnant?" 
  • I realized that I couldn't control what they'd ask me but I could control my response and reaction to a difficult, off-topic and/or illegal question.
  • I realized I couldn't control a hiring manager's decision or reaction if she/he noticed my bump.  
  • I realized that just because there are biases with interviewing pregnant women, doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for jobs you are qualified for.  
  • I realized that there's no reason to get upset or sad if I wasn't hired, pregnant or not pregnant.

You still need to answer the question.  

If you don't answer the question, or fumble your answers, this will grossly affect your chances of being hired, or in this case below, lose the crown.  Especially if the question is easy to answer.  

You don't want your interviewer having the same expression as Giuliana's
And WHY did it have to be Miss Utah out of all the contestants at Miss USA...

BTW the pageant question was...
"A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does it say about society?"

Miss Utah USA should have answered something like this:
"I think it's amazing that more women today, especially mothers have opportunities for full-time employment outside of the home, but the fact that women are still being paid less than men for the same level of work experience means that society hasn't made much progress for working women"

Booyah!  I self-crowned myself with that answer.

Be positive with your answers even though it may not be an answer they're expecting or like to hear.  That's their issue, not yours.  

Based on my research and talking with experienced managers and co-workers, here are common legal pregnancy questions and best answers to respond to them.  

How long do you plan on being employed with us?  

I would like to pursue my career here as long as I have the opportunity to
The "I plan to work until I have my baby" answer doesn't make sense to a hiring manager.  

Are you expecting to take a leave of absence in the near future?

Ask them "What is your maternity leave policy?  I will follow that policy"
That way you let them know (1) yes you will take a leave of absence, (2) they know what it's for, and (3) you won't bend rules just because you're pregnant, and will follow whatever they have in place for leaves of absence.  

If you do get a question that really is illegal...Are you pregnant?

Please don't walk out of the interview or say "That's an illegal question!"  College textbooks say to do this but don't. 

Turn it around into a positive response, and quickly get back on track focusing on your qualifications for the job.  

You are not going to die by telling the truth that you are pregnant or vice versa.  

But do report it to HR.  Some interviewers are clueless with what questions can be asked so HR can step in and assist hiring managers into the right direction.  

If you didn't get hired, and illegal questions were asked...
Consult a lawyer, win the lawsuit or...just consider yourself lucky not working for a company that focuses more on age, marital status, race, and physical characteristics rather than your actual qualifications as a viable candidate who possesses the required skills necessary to perform the essential functions of the job! 

Before my interviews I ate a very light meal so that my tummy wouldn't stick out too much and sucked up my tummy as best as I could to practice walking in and out of interviews but according to some of my friends and family, I still look pregnant so...I gave up on doing that.  ^_^

What I ended up doing was covering up my bump with my big purse on one hand and my leather notepad on the other hand as I walked in to interview and did that again as I got up to leave.  I don't know if I look obviously pregnant when sitting down at a table.  Oh well.  Who cares?





Whether they noticed my bump or not was not my biggest concern!  My bump may be a concern for a hiring manager, but that is something I cannot control!  

My biggest concerns at interviews were:
  • Doing well with answering the questions asked and
  • Determining if this is where I'd want to work, especially since I'm having a baby, so the work/family life balance is of greater consideration.

So far I had 5 in-person interviews while pregnant at 24-25 weeks.

Only today I had a question about pregnancy and just answered the question.  It was concerning leave of absence and they wanted to know what the leave of absence would be for.  Personally I wouldn't have asked details about leaves of absence during the interview process but oh well, it is what it is.

If you are confident about doing the job, that will show more than your obvious baby bump to a good hiring manager.  A poor hiring manager will not see that, and that is the last type of person you want to work for whether you are male or female, pregnant or not pregnant! 

I wasn't selected at the end for a job I initially interviewed last Monday but that's okay!  More interviews to come and waiting for responses from other places I interviewed.

Interviewing while pregnant has been a great learning experience for me.  It taught me to keep positive, not take things personal if I wasn't selected for a job, stay very focused on presenting myself as the best job candidate, and most importantly, be able to see what type of place I want to work at when our baby comes.

It would have been easier to get discouraged, or avoid interviewing altogether during pregnancy because it's never fun being discriminated against for a job.  I don't know when I'll get a job, but I'd still interview regardless if I was pregnant or not.

On a final note...check to see if you fit in your work slacks before interviewing so you have time to rush to the mall to buy a pair that fits. Out of the four pairs of slacks I own, only one still fits.  Hah.

If you get called for an interview and you're pregnant--don't fret, just prove that you're the best person for the job.

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