Hire Risk Hire: How to Interview While Pregnant

Among other laws, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII) if we're getting real specific.) Title VII bars discrimination in employment on the bases of race, color, sex, national origin, and religion. A little over a decade later in 1978, Title VII was amended to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits an employer from refusing to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition.

Contrary to popular belief Title VII does not have a "list" of questions an employer cannot ask, but rather there are questions like "how old are you?" that imply an illegal motive-- i.e. if you get caught and fined for gender discrimination, which is illegal. 

Likewise, there is no language in Title VII which expressly prohibits employers from asking a woman about her bun in the oven status. Title VII does, however, forbid employers from basing hiring decisions on pregnancy or sex. Simply put, an employer may not refuse to hire a woman because she is or expects to become pregnant. 

But let's be real. Unless you're in the first or early second trimester, it's also pretty obvious when you're pregnant. An employer doesn't have to ask, and no matter what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act states, as an interviewee you're a HRH. A high risk hire.

Hiring discrimination is very difficult to prove but to pretend it doesn't happen is turning a blind eye.  So how do you address the elephant in the room? Don't let a stacked deck stop you. In the words of Harper Lee, "It's when you know you're licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what," that's where the bold as brass boss in you lives. 


Never include a "disability" on your resume. Never. 

Next, before you interview, you need to ask yourself an important question:  "CAN I DO THE JOB?" If the answer if yes, you should walk into that interview as confident as ever. Baby bumpin' or not.


Do you do it? 

Because interviews are scarce and applicants are high, there is a reality to the fear that the employer has the power and you should concede to "illegal" questions. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ball, in an interview, is in both courts, especially if you are good at your job. You need work. The company needs someone skilled to fill the position.  

By proving that you are the best person for the job regardless of physical condition. With every employee there is the risk that something unexpected could happen. 

You will quickly find out what kind of company it is if you respond to an inappropriate question by addressing it as such, and looking the interviewer right in the eye. 

Which is why you should also: 


You deserve the job but does the job deserve you? There are questions you need to ask yourself before saying "I do" to an interview, or a company. Look at how the company treats women. There are plenty of companies who have no problem-- as they shouldn't-- with a pregnancy. The White House, for one. In 2015 the WH took an influential position on the issue of economic, family-friendly policies when they announced that State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would replace the President's outgoing communications director. Psaki was pregnant at the time of hire. 

There are companies most concerned with that first question you asked yourself: Can you do this job?

I interviewed while pregnant, and was offered the position because the company recognized that my childbearing had no bearing on whether or not I could perform the requested duties. 

That's not to say it's not terrifying and there is an extra layer of pressure. But don't let your fear win out over your skills. A smart employer will recognize your determination. In fact:  

"Don't let your fear of interviewing while preg win out over your skills. A smart employer will recognize determination." 

Tweet this. 


When you're not showing, the advice as to whether or not disclose your pregnancy is split. But when you are showing, it's best to address it head-on. Use the pregnancy to your advantage by showing your potential employer your planning skills. Outline your flexibility. No matter what, the decision to interview while pregnant is brave and shows that you are capable of making bold business decisions, as well as a work ethic that should be admired. 

Keep that in mind when you walk in those doors. 

Oh and to also keep in mind: The United States is currently the only developed country that does not offer government-sponsored paid maternity leave. #Facts. 


Arianna Schioldager is Create & Cultivate's editorial director. You can find her on IG @ariannawrotethis and more about her on this site she never updates www.ariannawrotethis.com