Interviewing While Pregnant

Woman shakes hands with interviewer.

Growing your family doesn’t mean you have to stop growing in your career. If you’re planning to return to work after your baby is born and are interested in finding a new job now, there’s no reason to put your search on hold just because you’re pregnant. 

Pregnancy is a known variable in your job search — you know when you’re due, you know how long you’d like to take off after you have your baby, and you know when you plan on returning to work. These are all dates you can plan around in your new role with a company.

If you’re considering interviewing while pregnant, you’re not alone. Women are waiting longer to have babies and 86% of women ages 40-44 are mothers. 

Illustration of a pregnant woman, interviewing while pregnant

Show up with facts: Hiring moms is good business

Savvy employers know hiring moms is a smart move. But, if you need backup, a study by WerkLabs, the research and insights division of The Mom Project, revealed that managers who are moms are rated more favorably by their teams and are more likely to encourage collaboration.

Moms in the workplace drive higher employee satisfaction, performance and retention among their fellow employees: 

  • Female employees with mom colleagues rate their anticipated productivity for next year 12% higher than those without mom colleagues
  • 81% of managers who are moms are rated favorably for encouraging collaboration among teams
  • Female employees with mom colleagues report having a 23% more positive workplace experience than those with no mom colleagues

Get started early

The average career search can take several months, and the due date ahead of you is a very clear pause in your efforts. Getting started early gives you time to work through a few different interviews and roles to find the right fit. With this big life change coming up, you’ll want to take some time to get to know the companies you’re interviewing with. Plus, starting early means you might have more time to work in your new role before taking your maternity leave.

Pregnant or not, a great job search begins with some prep work on your part. Freshen up your online career profiles, update your resume and set up a few coffee dates or virtual check-ins with contacts who might be helpful in your search.

Even if you don’t get hired before the birth of your child, these networking conversations and interviews are great ways to get the ball rolling on finding a new job after your maternity pause ends.  

Finding the right career fit

Making a career change while pregnant is a great way to test out how family-friendly an employer actually is. Their attitude toward your pregnancy will give you a sense of their company culture and their overall attitude toward moms. 

Even if you’re not ready to disclose your pregnancy just yet during the interview process, be sure to ask about things like:

  • Parental leave policies
  • Health benefits and coverage for families
  • Childcare stipends 
  • Flex schedules and remote work opportunities

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👉 A note about parental leave: When you ask about leave during an interview or review a company’s leave policy once you’re hired, the company policy may not reflect the full amount of leave you’re legally entitled to take based on city and state laws. Familiarize yourself with local laws to make sure you understand your rights.

Do some detective work if you’re onsite for an interview. Note if there’s a mother’s room. See if you notice other pregnant women in the office or family photographs on employees’ desks. These aren’t telltale signs that an employer is family friendly, but you know you won’t be alone as a working mom in the office.

Even if you’re only able to interview remotely take a look at the company’s profile on LinkedIn. Look through their employees’ profiles to get a sense for how many women might also be mothers. Look at how long their female employees have been with the company. Longer tenures mean these women are more likely to have had babies while being employed there.

Determining the right time to share

Sharing your pregnancy is a personal decision. The right time to share depends on several factors like whether or not you’re already showing, how far along you are in the hiring process, and your own personal comfort level disclosing this information.

When possible, Daphne Delvaux, the “Mamattorney,” recommends waiting until after you begin your new position to share the news that you’re pregnant. As an advocate for women’s rights in the workplace, especially mother’s rights, she’s familiar with the challenges women face in the workplace and the incorrect biases many employers have toward mothers.

Legally, you’re under no obligation to disclose your pregnancy to a potential employer before being hired. However, if you’re meeting in person and noticeably pregnant, expect it to come up and be prepared to acknowledge the pregnancy. Then, redirect the focus to your excitement about the position, your long-term plans for the role and the contributions you’ll make as a member of the team. 

Pregnant womanMothers' Rights At Work

In this virtual session, Daphne Delvaux a.k.a The "Mamattorney", shares insight into critical rights that affect working moms, including  pregnancy discrimination, maternity leave, accommodations and more. View session

When deciding on the right timing for you, you may also want to consider your relationship to this company. If a personal contact referred you for the role, it’s a good idea to be forthcoming sooner rather than later (even if that’s still right after officially being hired). 

The size of the company matters, too. If the company is large, there are likely some redundancies built into the organization that can cover for your tasks while you’re on maternity leave. But if the company is a small startup with minimal staff, having no one to cover your role while you’re on leave could be a big sticking point. 

Once you are hired, Daphne recommends sharing your news sooner rather than later because once you do, you are legally protected against discrimination.

👉 A Note About Discrimination: Discriminating against a woman because she’s pregnant is illegal. But just like ageism, pregnancy bias is rarely openly expressed by employers or recruiters. While you’re interviewing but not yet hired by a company, you aren’t legally protected against pregnancy discrimination. Once you’re hired, you are legally protected against discrimination once you disclose your pregnancy.

How to acknowledge your pregnancy

It’s obvious that you’ll be taking time off to have a baby, but your job is to show the employer that the overall value of hiring you is far greater than the downtime you’ll experience while you’re on maternity leave. 

Keep it simple: Yes, I’m expecting a baby in this many months, and plan to be back to work right after my leave. I’m excited to join the team in this role because I can… and focus on your value. 

Search smart

If you need to find a new role and generate income quickly, consider expanding your job search parameters. Look outside your current industry, or consider contract work, part time work or even maternity coverage for an employer. Just remember that contract and part-time positions typically are not entitled to any type of paid or protected leave. But they are a great way to test out an employer and lay the groundwork for something more permanent in the future. 

It’s a great time to job search

With the massive shift toward remote work and flex schedules in the marketplace today, it’s a better time than ever to explore interviewing while pregnant. Your interview may be virtual, which makes it easier to keep your pregnancy to yourself if you’re already showing. Companies are also more likely to understand the flexibility needs of their employees and be familiar with accommodating remote work and flex schedules. As a result, you can feel confident asking for accommodations during a difficult pregnancy or in the early days of returning to work. 

As you interview, share your enthusiasm for the new position and keep the focus on your qualifications and the value you’ll add to the company. You can acknowledge your pregnancy, if you’re comfortable, and bring the conversation back to the ways you’re a  great fit for the new role. 

Although it’s an extremely challenging time as working moms are juggling more than ever while trying to achieve work-life integration, it’s also a very empowering time to take control of your next career move - even while you’re pregnant.  

Navigating your career and pregnancy.

Whether you are thinking about creating a maternity leave plan or wondering how to disclose your pregnancy, we have resources to help you navigate your career and motherhood. Sign up or log in

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