Tips For Interviewing While Pregnant
If you're going to have a job interview and you're pregnant, you'll already know that this interview is probably going to feel a lot different to any you've done when you weren't expecting. It's normal to feel a little more nervous than you usually would. The good news is that whether or not you are already showing, the interviewer is forbidden by law to focus on your pregnancy and not on your skills - so you stand just as good a chance as any other candidate of getting the job. Furthermore, you are not legally obliged to let the interviewer know that you are pregnant. Whether or not you decide to tell the interviewer about your pregnancy, you should try not to get too focused on that issue, but instead prepare for the interview as you would any other. There are some things you can incorporate into your preparation, however, which will help you to be ready should the pregnancy issue arise...
In addition to your usual preparation - namely, being ready to state your skills and experience and explain how these can serve the needs of your employer - you should know before you step into the interview room whether or not you are going to discuss your pregnancy. If you decide not to, fine, you are perfectly within your rights. However, bear in mind that an employer may outline the demands of the job and ask you whether or not you would be able to meet all of them. Try to think of what these might be in advance and be ready with possible answers. Try not to let yourself get into a position where you have to lie; it's never a good idea to be untruthful in a job interview. You are, however, entitled not to answer a question if that question is illegal. An interviewer is never allowed to ask you if you are pregnant or if you are planning to get pregnant soon. If the question does come up, you could politely remind the interviewer that it's not appropriate. This is quite a difficult thing to do and you should go over what you would say in your head before the interview and perhaps even rehearse with someone else.
Likewise, if you decide to tell the interviewer about your pregnancy, you should know in advance what your plans are regarding maternity leave and coming back to work. Be ready with your answers to such questions before you arrive at the interview. Again, rehearsing with someone else may be helpful.
In The Interview Itself
If you have decided to discuss your pregnancy, be careful not to talk about it too much! You want to show the interviewer that the job is important to you too. If the interviewer asks questions only about your pregnancy, be ready to steer the conversation back to the job and your skills and experience. Thinking in advance of scenarios in which this could happen will help you to do this. At the end of your interview, thank the interviewer sincerely for his or her time. If you don't hear anything about the job within the stated time limit, be ready to follow up with a polite and friendly phone call. If you don't get the job, ask why and be ready to accept feedback. If you have reason to believe you've been rejected because of your pregnancy, seek legal advice.
Just as you want to show the interviewer how good you are for the job, you need to know how good the job will be for you. As an expectant-Mom, the factors that make a job a suitable option for you will be affected by your pregnancy. You should inform yourself about a company's maternity benefits and health insurance policies before accepting a new job. Questions to ask are: is the company obliged to hold your position for you after your maternity leave? (The laws differ in some states.) Does the company's health insurance policy include a waiting period for pregnancy? Are pre-existing medical conditions excluded from insurance coverage? What type of prenatal, postnatal and pediatric coverage is offered? How much maternity leave can you take with or without pay? If in the interview you don't want to reveal your pregnancy, or get stuck talking too much about these issues, you could ask for copies of policy documents to read at home.
The Good News!
Remember - there are now plenty of modern-thinking employers who are more than ready to offer women with families the career opportunities they deserve. Just because we are advising you to protect yourself and be prepared for the interview, does not mean that every interviewer will try to take advantage of you.
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