I was laid off five days after I told my boss I was pregnant, and I need a new job. It’s obvious I’m expecting, and I want to spend 12 weeks at home with my newborn. Should I apply for jobs now?
Good for you for focusing on affording that new baby instead of wondering how your former manager sleeps at night (but if you speak to her again, please ask her for us). Kelly Brooks, executive director of human resources at Atrium Staffing, knows your position well. She was six months pregnant when interviewing for a new job and ended up starting it two months later. She insists that now is the time to begin your hunt. “Finding a job could take you months,” she warns. Fortunately, there are employers that really value working mothers and want to hire them.
You probably don't have to worry about being asked about your pregnancy on a job interview. Interviewers legally are allowed to ask questions about a potential employee’s pregnancy, but many HR executives frown upon doing so. If you do want to talk about it, try to find an opportunity where you can address the situation on your own terms. During her third-round interview, the interviewer asked Brooks if she had any upcoming vacation plans. At that point she decided to disclose her pregnancy and discuss her due date and maternity leave plans.
Nevertheless, she generally advises against bringing up your pregnancy while interviewing. “The interview is about the skills you can bring to the company."
If flexibility is important after the baby arrives, Brooks suggests looking into companies known for allowing remote work and accommodating hours. Working Mother's 100 Best Companies list is a great place to start. All of the companies on the list offer a variety of flexible work options and employee perks including affordable childcare and paid leave.
Many companies are also letting employees work from home when possible. Remote jobs are currently available in fields ranging from healthcare to technology. There are even virtual jobs for people without college degrees.
While it's always a good idea to do your research on a company and what they offer before applying for a job, Brooks says to try to save seeking specifics until you get an offer. Then you can negotiate and go over the flexible work arrangements that you may need.
Good luck, and you’ve got this.