If you thought that job interviewing was scary, try job interviewing while pregnant.
I firmly believe that you shouldn’t stay in a job that you don’t enjoy. That’s true when you’re not pregnant and when you are pregnant.
Sadly, some of us are told think that there is no way we could fit in job searching, interviewing, and starting a new job at the same time we’re growing a human. Instead, we should just suck it up and stick with our crappy job until we’re settled in with our new baby.
To that I say, “No way.”
Life is too short to not go for what you want, and there are great employers out there waiting to hire you. If you’re pregnant and hate your job now, you’re really going to hate it after you have a baby and you show up to work tired, emotional, and possibly covered in puke. Take the time (while you still have it) to hunt for your next opportunity and nail the job interview.
What to expect when you’re job interviewing while pregnant.
I interviewed for two different jobs when I was pregnant with my first child. One extended an offer to me, and the other didn’t.
Here’s my story of interviewing pregnant (and getting the job).
At first, I was scared to interview for a new job while I was pregnant. I was experiencing an insane amount of “pregnancy brain,” so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to string two coherent sentences together without having to stop and say, “Wait, what are we talking about?”
Physically, I felt like crap all the time—violently tired, gaining weight at warp speed, and swelling…oh the swelling. I thought there was a good chance that the hiring manager would take one look at me and decide that I wasn’t a good fit for the position.
Nevertheless, I persisted.
In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg writes, “For some women, pregnancy does not slow them down at all, but rather serves to focus them and provides a firm deadline to work toward.”
That was certainly the case for me. I wasn’t worried about if I could do the job once I had my baby, I was worried that they wouldn’t give me the chance to show them what I already knew—I can kick ass at work and kick ass at home at the same time.
But still, I had to really consider whether or not now was the time to put myself out there.
My thought process for deciding whether I’d take the risk of interviewing while pregnant went something like this: I have a baby on the way. I love working. I am going to work after I have the baby. That means I’ll need more money for daycare. Daycare is insanely expensive, so my current salary isn’t going to cut it. Plus, this job isn’t really exciting anymore. I want to use my skills at a new company. Will someone even hire me? I’m 7 months pregnant. Isn’t it against the law to discriminate against me for that? Wonder if they’ll think I can’t do the job and be a new mom at the same time. Or, wonder if the next company I work for knows that women can do anything and everything. Let me just see what’s out there to apply for. Oh, this looks like an awesome gig. I’ll tailor my resume for it, apply, and see what happens.
Skip ahead in time to a week after I applied for the position.
“Hi. We’d like to interview for the position you applied for last week, can you come in next week and meet with the team?”
Wow, that was fast. Ok, here goes nothing!
Before the interview, I prepped my mind and my body (I tried on at least 10 different configurations of maternity interview attire) so well, that when I waddled into that office on that hot July afternoon, I was sweating but I was confident. I knew that I could absolutely excel in this role and be a new mom at the same time. So to me, interviewing while I was pregnant was worth the risk of getting rejected because I knew they’d be impressed with what I could bring to the table.
And I was right. The interview went really well.
I spoke with three different people in the company about the position that day, and to my surprise, not one of them mentioned my impending motherhood.
But I did!
I mean come on. I am sitting here with a stomach that’s sticking out two feet from my body and I have cankles for days. I felt like they were too scared to ask, so I just said, “As you can probably tell, I’m expecting a baby in a couple of months. I just want to let you know that that doesn’t change my desire for this opportunity. My intention is to take maternity leave, and then jump right into all of the exciting work that we’ve discussed today.”
The next week, I got an offer for the job.
It’s not easy to put yourself out there when you’re not feeling your best, but it’s possible if you’re motivated and willing to take the steps to get what you want. Having a baby is a terrifying special time, so think about what you want for your family, and then make your career decisions accordingly.
If you’re pregnant now, your life is about to get all kinds of crazy, so set yourself up for a smoother 4th trimester (yes, there are 4!) by finding and getting a job that’s going to make you happy.
Because after all—happy mommy, happy baby.