I am interviewing for my dream job. I am 3 months pregnant. Do I Let them know I am pregnant or not?

Thanks for your comments.

TomW's picture
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[quote="juliahdoyle"]Should a man have to disclose that his wife is expecting their first baby in 6 months?[/quote]

If he's planning on taking a month off, I would say yes.

kklogic's picture

Tom and Will will henceforth be my official spokepeople. :D I agree with both of you 100%.

WillDuke's picture
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That's a nice thing to say Jim and KK. I do have to say though, that I just had a moment where I saw myself holding something shiny and running my hand down it while smiling at the camera like they do on "The Price Is Right." Then I thought about Adam Sandler beating up Bob Barker on the golf course in "Happy Gilmore." Now I don't want to be a spokesperson any more.

But wait, Bob won that fight. But I'm halfway waiting for the M&M shoe to drop on this conversation and I'm afraid again.

Yes yes, I know that's not what a spokesman is, but I type a lot of stuff that I just delete. Nothing like this though. So I wanted to share my Friday morning dementia with everyone.

bflynn's picture

Amazing discussion. And obviously one that many people are passionate about.

I don't believe there is a single right answer, only one that you can personally live with. This is in the grey area where there is good and bad on both sides. Hopefully, this has helped people clarify their own position.


jamie_p's picture
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If any medical condition is noticeable to an interviewer and that condition could negatively impact the interviewer's decision, a brief statement is appropriate. Possible Examples of noticeable medical conditions- Pregnancy, broken arm/leg, etc.

If the condition is not noticeable, then the interviewee should keep quiet. Possible Examples - Pregnancy, Depression, heart ailments, etc.

In the former, it is best to discuss on the interviewee's terms than leave doubts in the interviewer's mind. In the latter, medical confidentiality rules. NOONE has the [u]right[/u] to know.

mpolino's picture
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Jamie_p wrote:

[quote]In the former, it is best to discuss on the interviewee's terms than leave doubts in the interviewer's mind. In the latter, medical confidentiality rules. NOONE has the right to know.[/quote]

You'll still run into problems if there is a bona fide job requirement that your medical condition precludes you from doing. Certainly I've seen line manager positions that can include regular strenuous work and long periods in the heat. (Anyone ever managed a non-AC warehouse?) In US at least, they CAN ask you about that.

Mark Polino[/quote]

mullinsv's picture

Hi All:

Indeed this has created a lively discussion. I'll give you a little more information. I am 39 years old, interviewing for a V.P. position in sales for a software company. This is my first and only child. Maybe this is not the ideal time to be looking for a job change but I have a new boss who is abusive and would like to get out of my current situation. I have a lot to offer a good company. Pregnancy would not prevent any aspect of my ability to do my job, but the time off is the only issue. I travel frequently in my job and expect to do so in the future as well. My husband does not travel on business so we have a good balance and have all the bases covered.

Based on the feedback so far, I am still uncertain how to proceed. I agree that nothing should be said until I have an offer, but I am still struggling on how to position it in a way that won't cost me the offer.

US41's picture

I will go where angels fear to tread...

Rather than discuss the legalities or the ethics, how about just considering the real-world politics that the interviewee is facing.

Here's the feedback in my mind. Take shots at me all day long, but I'm willing to admit this would be going through my head:

When you take a job and then immediately announce you were pregnant all along and knew it, the conclusion I would draw is that you were in need of medical insurance, and that you used me to get your needs taken care of and did not truly want a job. I then grow suspicious that you will not return from your leave, and that in the meantime, I have a person who will barely have time to ramp-up, then they will go completely dark, and then their desk will be chained down while they are out and they might not even return.

That really ticks me off. If I had a small business and you were the 8th person I hired, I'd probably be furious due to the expense of keeping your chair open for you while money just flew out the windows while you weren't doing the job I hired you for.

I know. Go ahead and tell me how evil I am and that I have no business being in management. Writing this response feels like pulling the pin on a grenade. I'll have to create a new user ID and log in under a different nick after this thread, probably. LOL

But I think you should know what you are facing. Let's look at this from a Machiavellian perspective. Forget about what is right or wrong. Think about what people are likely to do. Their likely actions are more important than their morals, ethics, or the possibility you will sue (which is probably next to nil because I doubt you can afford to take them on and pay the doctor bills).

If you disclose in advance, they will "find someone more qualified." The temptation will be too great and the thought of you coming on board right before you go on leave is such bad timing that I can't imagine anyone hiring you.

If you do not disclose in advance, you're going to suffer consequences anyway, I bet, because people are human and they have their own self-interest to consider. They will be irritated that you did a bait & switch: You offered yourself, landed a firm deal, and then you withdrew yourself and left them hanging on to see what would happen.

I think that's just the facts of life, just as it is a fact that you are pregnant and a fact that the law is what it is. It is simply a fact that your hiring manager is going to do a double-take, and there is a large possibility you will basically wreck your reputation with them right off the bat.

That could lead to you leaving after you return, which will then cause them to have their suspicions confirmed, which will then lead to the cycle repeating itself again and again.

So now let us consider what steps you can take to handle this effectively. Because the law and ethics are beyond your control - and the pregnancy is non-negotiable...

My suggestions:

1. Do not disclose in advance

2. Do not disclose the next day

3. Work your rear off for this company. Show them that you can perform like no human being could ever perform. Show them you are the best on the team, and integrate yourself with them immediately. Support everyone, build relationships as fast as you can through all of the techniques given on this site.

4. Never say anything negative about the company - never even in private. Don't even allow yourself to think this way.

5. Continuously repeat at work how much you love working there and what a great place it is.

6. After a couple of months have passed and you have made your mark, now reveal that you are pregnant. This will reduce the lead-time or anxiety they feel. This should still leave time for them to handle the contingency, and it won't feel as much like a betrayal when you announce.

7. Be fully committed to returning. Express this commitment repeatedly.

8. Involve them in your baby's new life with emailed photos and phone calls. Send them cards thanking them for their support, even if they didn't do anything. Send cards to them with pictures inside expressing how much you miss everyone and how you anticipate coming back. Check in with your boss after you are back on your feet. Maybe keep your O3's going, if they do that sort of thing, to keep them connected to you.

9. Bring the baby to the office to show everyone.

10. Come back on the day you promised you would.

I think these at least might be some good steps to take just to handle the reality that they will be a little ticked off, and some might start commenting about your motives behind your back once you announce. Maybe this is a good place to begin discussing steps you should take and refine this process.

I'm no Mark Horstman, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. ;-)

OK, not so much. :-D

WillDuke's picture
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I like what US41 had to say, and how s/he said it, even though I disagree. (I think he, but just guessing.) It's a very practical approach.

I'm left wondering if it doesn't make sense to apply for the position when you come back from the pregnancy? You stated your current boss is abusive; it doesn't sound like sticking it out is an option. Is quitting now and looking afterwards an option? Or is this opportunity just too good to pass on?

If this is the perfect job and just bad timing that's just a hard spot to be in.

I read something once that I really liked: "The opportunity of a decade comes along once a week - if you're out looking for it."

Trust your instincts. We can all say what is true for us, but you know things you don't even know you know. And those things matter. I think everything else has been said; a few times. :wink:

James Gutherson's picture

Like Will (again) I agree with a lot of what US41 said (I didn't think of the Medical Insurance aspect as we don't have to deal with that here).

It sounds to me like you have decided not to disclose (and that is your decision and I am fine with that) so what to do now?

I would suggest as US41 did that you now hold off disclosing as long as you can. Once you get the job (+ve vibes) start preparing and planning for the time off so you can take this to your bosses and show that you have this covered and are absolutly going to be back.

Congratulations by the way. I am also 39 years old and have just returned to full time work after being a part time Mr Mom for the two years for my 3 1/2 and nearly 2 year olds. Parenting is the most important and rewarding thing I have ever done (and it's only just started 'Yay!')

lmoorhead's picture
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First, congratulations :) I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

Second, tell people when you're ready. That goes for current or future employers, friends, family members, your hairdresser, anyone...this is a personal decision and there are any number of reasons why someone would wait to share the news. If you're not comfortable disclosing your pregnancy, then don't.

[quote]It is simply a fact that your hiring manager is going to do a double-take, and there is a large possibility you will basically wreck your reputation with them right off the bat. [/quote]

I don't agree that it's a fact - a possibility, I suppose. If so, then personally that wouldn't be my dream job. Perhaps I'm naive, but if I were your hiring manager I would presume you told me when you were ready to, and I'd be honored that you shared.

For those who may find themselves in the hiring manager's position - again, consider the fact that there are any number of reasons why someone would wait to share the news. Maybe they [u]were [/u] after medical insurance, or trying to somehow trick you. Or maybe they have a high risk pregnancy, or are reluctant to share personal information with relative strangers.

A few years ago I hired a woman who shortly afterward shared the news that she was pregnant. I congratulated her, worked with her to plan her projects and find coverage, and sent flowers when her son was born. Today she is one of my top performers, and will be covering for me starting next month, when I go out on maternity leave myself! Yes, it cost us a little extra to bring a contractor in while she was on leave. The value she has brought to the organization long term is 100x what that cost.

mpolino's picture
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I'm glad US41 went there. It's exactly the thought process our CEO would come up with. The manager doing the hiring better have thought it through and have some answers prepared when the higher up start asking questions.

Unfortunately, especially in small firms, companies often feel that they can't afford to be as enlightened as they want to be.

Good luck with a tough topic. I've been on the receiving end of an employee who announced she was pregnant 3 months after the hire. We dealt with it. No hard feelings. The job had been empty and we wanted the right hire, not just any hire. We'd already gone the any hire route with disastrous results. After the baby she only wanted to be back part time. We wanted her skills enough to accommodate that.

I think ultimately, the keys are going to center around professionalism and communication. You'll need to way overcompensate on both regardless of when and how you break the news.

Mark Polino

Mark's picture
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No. You don't have to. It's a protected status, and it's not misleading to not say anything.

In every scenario where a negative outcome occurs, it would be based on the firm violating your rights. Your right to not disclose this is designed to protect you from this discrimination.

If someone were to find you negligent or misleading afterwards, that's feedback for them as well.


Mark's picture
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Something else to keep in mind here: if we were all better interviewers, none of this would matter. A great interview makes the top candidate stand out so far from the crowd that when you find someone like that, protected class or not, you roll out the red carpet and throw in a stroller too.


IzzieBaby's picture

I am interviewing Tuesday for a position and it is overwhelmingly obvious that I am either expecting or seriously deformed ;) I look farther along than I am- being this is my third child and I am a bit overweight too so my belly is really bulging.

I have been on both sides of the table and I have to say that I would prefer a candidate tell me if they were expecting or at least touch on the subject if it was obvious.

Having read through this incredible forum, it has lent some real insight to the issue. Though I was sort of surprised that no one has really discussed the "obviously pregnant" portion of this conundrum. So what do we think about that... there is no "divulging" and there is certainly no "hiding". I am showing, and expected to have my child on Christmas or shortly after and will need time off after the holidays.

Any thoughts...

Btw, I did not discuss this with the recruiter from HR that I've been in contact with.

bug_girl's picture

If you are the right candidate, it will be ok that you mention what is obvious (rather than let them guess--which might be worse!).

We waited 6 months for someone who was pregnant--with TWINS!  It was worth it--she's brilliant. 
To be fair, since we are primarily grant funded, rather than deadline driven, I have the luxury of waiting for the good candidates, while industry may not.

If the company is not going to be family friendly, that is a good thing to know up front. 

You can also try to pitch the baby bump as an added feature--you have your own, built in lap desk for several months :p

mmann's picture
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Some aspects of management are hard.  We try the best we can to avoid letting things that shouldn't affect our judgment affect them anyway.  When I'm wearing my hiring manager's hat, I'd prefer a candidate help me remain objective and avoid bringing up subjects that I can't use to make the hiring decision.



thaGUma's picture

Discuss it every time. Be aware of hiring manager's worries about possibly introducing a matter that could land them in trouble if it influences their decision or is perceived to influence their decision.

If you are obviously pregnant the hiring manager is already forming a paradigm. Mention the fact, discuss it openly – including the possible boundaries in the interview then the ‘elephant in the room’ is dealt with.
For a good hiring manger - no difference.
For a bad one – it gives you a chance to deal with preconceptions. AND they will worry that they could be seen to have been unduly influenced by your condition (as we refer to it in the UK) and will want to be seen not to have downgraded you – all things being nearly equal it should give you an edge when it could have been a hindrance.
Regardless of reports to the contrary, women are still on the back foot in the employment market. Factor it in.
One of the joys in my current incarnation is that I get ‘special paid leave’ to deal with family childcare issues – something that would have in the past fallen 90% to my wife. Good luck. Chris

boukman's picture
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This may be too late for you izziebaby but I remember when I was furiously searching the forums for advice so perhaps this will be of benefit to someone in the future.  I asked many here for advice and to sum it up, managers said to help them make the right decision and not offer the information.  That said, my conscience couldn't bear showing up for work the first day obviously pregnant (my baby started kicking for the first time during the interview and I had to discreetly adjust buttons) without giving them notice. 

Here's what I did when they made an offer but you could prepare for this and address it in the interview.  I told them how excited I was about the opportunity and how I felt I could really contribute to their team.  Then, before the conversation went further, I told the hiring manager that before I accepted the job I wanted to inform him and the VP that I was pregnant.  I gave him the anticipated due date and iterated my dedication to making it as seamless an absence as possible.  I highlighted that as the sole parent, there was no possibility of my not returning to work and I felt I would look forward to it.  I'll admit, he was a little shocked but he offered me the job again.  I asked him to please take some time and consider any questions he may have.  

Immediately after, I called my recruiter (who had no knowledge of the pregnancy) and informed him, asking that if he sensed any negative feedback at all, to please let me know.  I would not take the position if the company were not as excited to have me, even in my current "condition", as I was to join them.  I then consoled myself by saying that if they thought I was the best candidate, I would continue to be the best candidate, albeit with a planned absence.  However, their second best candidate would continue to be second best over the years. 

Ten minutes later they called me back to ask when I could start.  The back drop to this story is that I am a Single Mother by Choice and had been laid off 10 months earlier.  There was a lot of pressure but I was able to chart a course that left me able to sleep at night.  I know I'm one of the lucky ones and I am extremely grateful.  I see it as a difficult situation but also an opportunity to demonstrate competence and professionalism.  Good Luck!