The other day I received a phone call following up on a job I applied to months ago. Still in a bit of shock, I excitedly accepted the meeting and began to ready my interview essentials which included the typical things like a briefcase, up-to-date resume and cover letter. Then a strong feeling of nervousness hit me as I passed by one of my mirrors and was quickly thrown back into reality–I’m almost eight months pregnant! I guess you could say that things have certainly changed in my life since applying for that job.
Now, I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to actually go on the interview once I stopped to think about the possible hurdles I would have to go through to make a good impression. Who the heck wants to hire a pregnant woman, one who will be delivering in the next couple of months? Should I even bother? They probably think I won’t even be productive before maternity leave. “Quit assuming you know what will happen and just go see what happens,” my husband told me. You know what? He’s right; the only way I would know the outcome is to actually go through.
Being pregnant is not some death sentence that automatically means you can’t work. Sure, it might stir up some unspoken hesitations from potential hiring managers, but we are more than just pregnant women, we are professionals with experience. I kept telling myself this as I went on the job interview which actually went pretty smoothly. In fact, we focused so much on the job at hand and my experience that my belly never came up–though I am sure it was a wee bit obvious.
The point is to keep on carrying on regardless if you are in the beginning stages of your pregnancy or see the finish line. We never know the reasons why things tend to fall into place when they do but shouldn’t feel nervous about seeing how they pan out. Should you be pregnant and get that random call for an interview, here are some tips to help you through being pregnant and job hunting.
- Focus on the job at hand. It’s super easy to feel as if you need to wear a shirt in neon colors that says “yes, I am expecting,” but that shouldn’t necessarily be the first thing you lead with. Focus on the job, as too much attention to the fact you are pregnant can actually do more harm than good. For starters, some hiring managers may think it’s so much of your focus (it kinda is but you know what I mean) that you would be unable to complete your job demands.
- Decide if and when it’s best to bring up your pregnancy. Depending on how things go during your interview, you may not feel the need to immediately disclosure you are pregnant–you may even wait until the second round to tell your potential boss. While you should never lie, do what makes you feel comfortable.
- Lead with a list of accomplishments. Do you want to be remembered in your interview as the pregnant person or the kick butt woman with a long list of talents who happens to be with child? Position yourself as a strong candidate for the job by coming out the gate with accomplishments you know will be super beneficial to the company. Go over the job listing and pair your skills with their demands to show you are willing and capable.
- Be on the look out for possible discrimination. Obviously, things like this happen where it’s not said to your face, but do keep your ears open for any signs of discrimination. Laws dictate that employers are not able to ask you certain personal questions (think religion, if you’re married and have children) that may sway them from hiring you. If you honestly feel like you were overlooked because you’re pregnant, do speak with an attorney.
- Turn up your swag. One thing that I had turned up during my job interview was confidence. I knew what I was capable of, my list of accomplishments and what I would bring to the table. This is the type of attitude that we all should have when interviewing for a position. Confidence is key.