By Calli TaplerWith 66 million women in the U.S. workforce, it is inevitable that some women will be searching for a new job while pregnant. There are a myriad of valid reasons why an expectant mom would be searching for a new job, such as company layoffs or a need for change (not to mention needing financial stability for after the child is born).Whatever the reason, there are definitely some do's and don'ts when it comes to looking for a job when you're pregnant. So, how do you handle the process during a time of so many exciting changes?
First, remember that you are not obligated to disclose your pregnancy. Also, it is against state and federal laws for potential employers to ask you any questions about your pregnancy, marital status, or even your future family plans.
So, at what point do you disclose your impending motherhood? You have every right to look for employment without mentioning it. My advice is to job search like you would if you weren't pregnant. If you are in the later phases of pregnancy and are clearly showing, you may want to address the issue during the interview phase. However, if you are in the first five months and your baby bump is not clearly visible; your best option may be to wait until you receive the offer.
Alison Green provides advice in "Job-Hunting While Pregnant." She says that by addressing it earlier, even at many family-friendly places and even despite the law that prohibits discriminating based on pregnancy, plenty of interviewers are still going to think, "We have that big event right when she'll be out on maternity leave, and candidate B, who is not pregnant, would be able to be there for it." It is not only human nature; it's business. You really don't want to risk that. Plus, once you get the offer, it is highly unlikely that they will rescind to avoid any issues of discrimination.
Don't wait until after you accepted the position, or even until you start the job. The job search and interview process are all about trust and you don't want your new employer to think you've pulled off a bait-and-switch. This will do more damage to your credibility and working reputation that you can imagine. Telling them at the offer stage shows that you were not trying to deceive them. Also, make sure to address their fears of hiring a pregnant employee and ensure them they hired the best person for the job.
There are also some other options to consider when seeking employment during pregnancy. If you are in your final few months, you may want to focus your job search on employment for after you've had the baby. If money is not a factor, consider doing informational interviews and networking in order to line-up future opportunities. Also, look at short-term contract positions. Since they are limited-time jobs, your pregnancy and leave will likely not be a concern.
Pregnant or not, you deserve to do a comprehensive job search and find the best job for you and your career. Take your time and consider all opportunities. Having a child is an exciting and common life change. While it may concern your potential employer for a short time, it should not derail you from making the best possible decision for your future.
Finally, if you ever feel that you have been discriminated against, you can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Have you experienced any challenges looking for a job while pregnant? Or have you hired a pregnant job candidate? What advice can you offer?
Calli Tapler is a director at TruYuu, an online service that helps people present themselves as more than just a resume to employers. You can connect with Calli and the TruYuu team on Facebook and Twitter.
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