How to Respond to Recruiter, Pregnancy Edition
September 29, 2016 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I was contacted by a recruiter for a position with a company I interviewed with over a year ago. I'm currently ~6 months pregnant and not interested in looking for anything new before I go on maternity leave, but I don't want to lose any future opportunities. Snowflakes inside.

I interviewed over a year ago for a job with a competing company in my industry, but after three rounds I received a promotion at my current company and dropped out of the interview process. The interviews had been initiated by a recruiter through LinkedIn, and went well but I did have some reservations about this particular company vs. the company I'm currently with (one big tech company vs. another big tech company).

Today I received a direct email (to my personal account, not via LinkedIn) from another recruiter who said that one of the people I previously interviewed with had recommended he contact me for another open role. Normally I am always open to interviewing for new opportunities for the practice if nothing else, but I'm currently six months pregnant and about to go out on six months of maternity leave. So, not the optimal time to be courting new jobs, or even pretending to be as I wouldn't risk my leave for a new job at this point. However, I have no idea what the future will hold and wouldn't want to shut the door on future opportunities with this company.

Twist - I am going to a small industry meeting next week with the person I previously interviewed with (the one who recommended me to the recruiter). I've never met this individual in person, but certainly will next week. The attendee list was circulated yesterday, which I am thinking may have been connected to this whole sequence of events (they were maybe reminded of me by seeing my name and company, etc.)

How should I respond to the recruiter in a way that isn't just "hey, I'm about to have a baby and be out on leave for a few months, but totally feel free to contact me in mid-2017?" What should I say to the past interviewee/current recommend-or when I meet them in person for the first time?
posted by DuckGirl to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As person who interviewed and changed tech jobs while on mat leave, "hey, I'm about to have a baby and be out on leave for a few months, but totally feel free to contact me in mid-2017" sounds totally reasonable to me. Throw in a few comments about how excited you'll be to pick up where you're leaving off (subtext: not going the stay at home mom route) and that should be fine, no? People understand babies don't bake themselves.

The more subtle version (which I also did, having to decline a new job when I found out I was pregnant) is to say that for family reasons you won't be available until 2017. (Of course when they see you in person, the family reasons will be obvious.) Then just continue to talk up yourself, your experience and your love for the industry as per usual.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:54 PM on September 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

I recently applied for a job at 5 months pregnant, interviewed at 6-7 months, got a job offer at 8 months, and started that job about 14 weeks after I gave birth. If you're interested, go for it, and see how it goes.

Incidentally, I never mentioned my pregnancy until i had an offer in hand, though since I interviewed in person, they obviously knew... The (internal) recruiter I was working with was not on-site though, so she was a little surprised when i brought it up, but in the end they gave me the time I asked for before my start date.

If this is a relatively highish level position and you're good at what you do, 6 months is really not that long to wait.
posted by brainmouse at 8:59 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my field, it's fairly routine to apply for jobs about 6-9 months in advance, so honestly I would consider just going ahead and applying. Most jobs in my industry would see your current position as a plus because they wouldn't have to cover your maternity leave, you'd be starting after it.

But since you're being contacted about a current opening (which you obviously don't want to fill), I'd just keep it simple by saying "I'm very interested, but I'm looking to start work at a new job at about X date 2017 - can you let me know about similar opportunities on that timeframe?"
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:43 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was the recruiter someone in HR at Company X, or the hiring manager?

If someone from Company X, I think your original approach works. Hey, they took their sweet time contacting you again, they can't expect that you're in the same position you were then! But you're still expressing interest in working for them, it's just not going to happen right this minute. St. Peepsburgs additional suggestions are great.

If they're a third party intermediary (i.e. recruitment agency), I'd go with treehorn+bunny's approach.

Current recommendor? Just be honest. It's going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant. If he is going to continue to recommend you for opportunities, you need to give him a narrative. You're planning on taking X months maternity leave, but you're super excited about this opportunity. You shouldn't have to drop things into conversation like how you're planning to handle childcare, but sadly in this world it would probably be a sensible thing to do. (Grrrr - I'm sure there is a thread on the Blue right now about that Silicon Valley guy that suggested that women remove all reference to their gender on their resumes, because hiring managers shouldn't be held responsible for any inherent/endemic gender bias they might have, and us women should just change our names to something gender neutral and that will somehow make everything okay.)

Anecdata - a friend interviewed at Nike while 7/8 months pregnant. First interview was over Skype. Second interview was in person. She explained her maternity leave plans up front, and they offered her the job and were willing to wait a few months (okay, not 6 months, I think she took 3 months, but still a positive story).
posted by finding.perdita at 12:11 AM on September 30, 2016

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