From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2021
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Job Search Strategies: Family Situation
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 4:51 pm

This entry is from San Francisco, where I am meeting with ACS
members as a presenter in workshops and as a consultant in mock interviews.  B.
and I had completed recording and reviewing her interview and I was
doing disk finalizing.  I rejoined her at the interview table.  She leaned
over the table and asked, ‘Can we talk about a personal situation?’ 

“If you feel comfortable in bringing this up, I will do  my best to help you.” 
I responded hesitantly.

B. then went on to describe her situation of which I will only paraphrase. 
B. will be defending her Ph.D. thesis in three to six months and she and her
husband have learned that she is three months pregnant.  She asked should
she apply for positions now?   Should she tell interviewers she is meeting
at the conference that she is pregnant?



2 Responses to “Job Search Strategies: Family Situation”

  1. site admin Says:

    The following is a summary containing the substance of the career
    consulting for B.

    B. had excellent interpersonal skills, strong technical abilities in
    analytical chemistry and displayed confidence and savvy in the
    mock interview. My suggestion to her was that her starting her
    family should simply heighten her desire to work at a “family
    friendly” company and in an environment where the child she is
    carrying will not face radiation or chemical risks. Unborn fetuses
    have unique sensitivities that their bearing mothers should be
    aware of.

    Additionally, she should not feel necessary at any phase in the
    interviews to reveal her pregnancy, for it can only be a factor to
    deselect her. Although companies will not discriminate a
    candidate for her being pregnant it could be a psychological
    barrier for those involved in the hiring discussions.

    When she receives a job offer, she should feel comfortable in
    sharing the information with her new/future supervisor. This could
    be done by way of indicating the need for a pregnancy leave and
    the approximate timing of it.

    Family friendly companies look forward to hiring skilled
    contributors and look for ways of accommodating their desires
    in this regard.

    Thus, she is in a unique and happy position to be finishing her
    education and beginning her family. It is also a terrific time to
    begin her professional career. She will be able to ‘test the job
    market’ for herself (while not mentioning her personal
    consideration). In the least, her search now will help her to
    develop the selection critieria that will be most important for
    her family

    . Dan .

  2. Lisa Balbes Says:

    This is indeed a stressful situation - the work/family balance is
    always tough, and perhaps the worst at the beginning of both.
    However, it is not an impossible situation.

    Legally, she does not have to tell them anything (caveat: I’m not
    a lawyer) - it’s my understanding that she could interview, accept
    the job, then show up on the first day and announce she’s
    pregnant. The problem is that this starts her off on a bad foot
    with her co-workers.

    If that’s their first impression, they immediately wonder about
    her committment to the job, and how much they’re going to have
    to cover for her. At the same time, if she tells them early in the
    interview process, say during a screening intterview, she risks
    getting ‘knocked out’ of the competition early, when employers
    are looking for a way to eliminate candidates.

    My advice is to be honest with the potential employer, but fairly
    late in the interview process, say near the end of the day of the
    on-site interview. By then, you know if you want the job, and
    they know if they want you. You can honestly tell them you are
    excited about the position, committed to doing excellent work
    for them, and want to make them aware of this impending event.

    As long as they feel you are going to make all efforts to take the
    best possible care of both work and family, at that point it should
    not hurt your chances.

    Caveat - Some employers may worry that you will sue them for
    discrimination if they do not hire you after you tell them you’re
    pregnant. You want to make sure they know this is not the case -
    you’re not threatening them, you’re just sharing information.


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