Recruitment and the Possibility of a Pregnancy

You run your own small business and are looking to recruit some additional staff.

When interviewing, imagine these scenarios: one woman is noticeably pregnant and another is not currently pregnant, but openly speaks on her desire to start a family in the near future. Both women are extremely qualified, friendly and fully capable of handling the job - big belly or not.

Knowing these women will both need time off from work to have the baby and recover, which could potentially put you in a bind, what are you supposed to do?

The law states that employers are not allowed, under any circumstances, to discriminate against a pregnant woman. This includes hiring, firing, training and more.

As far as health insurance is concerned, employers must also cover expenses for conditions related to a pregnancy just as they would cover any other type of medical expense. Health insurance and pregnancy is very important to understand for both the employer and the pregnant employee.

Tips for employers when interviewing a pregnant woman

First, note that it is illegal to ask a woman if she is pregnant while interviewing.

Hopefully, especially if she is already showing, she will be open with you on her pregnancy, due date and how much time off she will need. There is a chance she won't mention her pregnancy, though, or she's too early for you to notice. If that's the case, you'll have to work with her on needed time off and health insurance questions once she's hired.

When interviewing a woman who is expecting, focus on her skills to get the job done, not the fact that she's pregnant.

Research shows that only about 5 percent of the population doesn't want children, so at some point in time, your business is most likely going to have to deal with a pregnancy.

The Center for American Progress found that about 75 percent of working women will have at least one pregnancy during their career.

Most of these women will not leave their job once they have their baby, either. Some women have to work for financial reasons; others simply enjoy working and the rewards that come with having a job.

Most qualified candidate can't be overlooked

Pregnant or not, it's up to your business to hire the most qualified candidate.

Pregnancy is a short-term condition that won't affect your business much, if at all when you have others in place to cover someone out on maternity leave. Focus on what the candidate brings to the table and how they will benefit your business.

For pregnant women, it typically is safe to work up until your baby is due, but always check with your doctor regarding what your limitations are.

If you have health problems or if your job requires heavy lifting, you'll most likely have to cut back. Stress from work can also affect unborn babies, so it's recommended that pregnant women keep their stress levels as low as possible.

Overall, it's much better to hire a pregnant woman who is a great fit for the position, who is willing to work hard and get the job done and who is passionate about your company than it is to hire an "OK" candidate that isn't as qualified.

Recruiters: What tips do you have for pregnant women interviewing for jobs?

Photo credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on small businesses, personal finance and health insurance.

Views: 842

Comment by Jeroen Frumau on June 25, 2014 at 9:53am

As you said: "Pregnant or not, it's up to your business to hire the most qualified candidate."  

If you hire the most qualified (incl. motivated) candidate, having a child (most likely) leads towards new-motivation. Do we worry equally when we have a man in front of us who - slips out he - is becoming a father?

And more from a 'philosophical point of view' ...

Let's also recognise that talent is not created, but is the latent-quality in a 'new-born' child. It is the parents (mother and father/partner) that need to fuel and stimulate this talent to develop itself and be utilised in the future in making people and business successful. So let's celebrate women that perform in the job AND as a mother (to be).


Comment by Keith Halperin on June 25, 2014 at 8:29pm

@ Dave, @ Jeroen: ISTM that if a company expects its employees to work excessively long hours, this tends to put undue pressure on women employees, who are still most likely to be the primary children's caregivers. Consequently, "it's family or career- pick one", if you're not Marissa Mayer.


Comment by Dave on June 25, 2014 at 9:33pm


Thanks for reading! I think it really all boils down to the employer and the employee at day's end. Is the employer will to work with a pregnant employee, knowing that this individual is valuable enough to the company and is worth the sacrifice? On the other side, is the employee willing to do everything possible to get back to work at the right time so that their talents and contributions do not go missing for too long? Given the current economy, not unusual to see women rushing back to work sooner than later, especially if the husband is either out of work or in a low paying job. I think we're also seeing more dads taking the opportunity to be more of a stay at home parent.

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 26, 2014 at 2:17pm

You're very welcome, Jeroen.

Do you know if any other advanced countries have as family-unfriendly work policies as the U.S. I've heard Germany makes it rather hard for working mothers, but my information may be old/inaccurate.

Keep Blogging,


Comment by Jeroen Frumau on June 26, 2014 at 5:00pm

@Keith - I have no knowledge on that.


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