Dressing to hide an early pregnancy for an interview

(50 Posts)
webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 14:25:24

Happy new year!
After months of looking (made redundant from previous role early in 2012), I finally have been shortlisted for a role I really want. Interview is next Tuesday. Really excited, hopeful and motivated. Is for a part time role for 2 years. Only downside is, I'm 17 week pregnant and am terrified I won't get a fair shot at interview if they realize. It's a large multinational company, I know I'm really qualified and appropriately experienced for the role and I've been preparing all week since I heard for the interview.

Can anyone help me by suggesting what I could wear for the interview to help disguise my "condition". Is not too obvious, but my tummy does look pretty round! I'm very happy to buy something. Am thinking suit trousers and a professional but skimming top (any suggestions welcome) or a wrap dress with thick tights and boots. Please help if you have ever been in this situation or have any suggestions for what to wear!

Are you allowed to conceal something like this from a prospective employer?

I mean it shouldn't matter but to me would make me question your honesty if you hid it.

BadDog Tue 01-Jan-13 14:39:51

i think you sound deceitful

BadDog Tue 01-Jan-13 14:40:20

If you got the job you'd be sod all use to them wouldnt you?

LittlePandaBear Tue 01-Jan-13 14:45:11

How about something like this from Next? I've just got it in cream and there would be plenty of room for a baby belly or a big lunch for me in it, the print one may disguise your bump.

Good luck, whatever you wear!

LittlePandaBear Tue 01-Jan-13 14:47:20

I think you're entitled to apply for a job while 17 weeks pregnant, you're still capable of working for a while yet. I agree you'll have to tell them if they offered you the job, but you need a fair chance first.

hatgirl Tue 01-Jan-13 14:47:37

I understand where baddog and MadameCastafiore are coming from but the sad truth is that it is highly likely that if the OP is 'upfront' front about her pregnancy she is very unlikely to get the job. She is almost half way through a pregnancy and will be leaving them pretty much as soon as she starts. She wants to be given a fair shot at the job regardless of whether she is pregnant or not.

I have a job hunting friend who has a eastern european sounding surname by marriage. She has reverted back to to her 'English' maiden name for job hunting as she finds she is having more success getting interviews that way. People rightly or wrongly make judgments about people unrelated to their actual skills/ ability to do a job.

Emo76 Tue 01-Jan-13 14:49:51

How do you think they are going to feel if they give you the (two year) role and then need to arrange maternity cover for you within a matter of months? Do you think it will reflect well on you? Have you considered how and when you are going to inform them you are pregnant? How might your colleagues react to the surprise news?

Honestly I think your best strategy would be to be completely honest and open with them about being pregnant, commit to returning to work within a certain timeframe IF they offered you the role, I just think being honest can ONLY reflect well on you and your future prospects - if they don't offer you the role (which is indeed likely if they know you are pregnant, particularly given the medium term nature of the contract) keep in touch with the people who interview you, show them how keen you are, they will remember your honesty and may think of you for roles once your baby has arrived and you are ready to return to work.

Good luck - I know the timing is frustrating but do consider honesty as the best policy.

BackforGood Tue 01-Jan-13 15:10:57

I'm inclined to agree with others, particularly as this is a short term contract. I would suggest you work out how they would get 'value for money' out of you, or a plan of how you can get the job done for them, and be honest.
11 yrs ago, I went for a job interview 5 months pregnant (can't believe they didn't notice - must have just thought I was a weighty sort wink), but I told them at the interview, and said that I wanted to be honest with them before they made any decisions, and it was a permanent job, and just meant I would start in the January rather than the September, and that I hoped they could look at the next 5 - 10 years, and work a way around the missing 3 months, rather than dismissing me, for the sake of me not being able to start for those first 12 weeks they had hoped. Thing is, I think that was feasible, but a 2 yr temp contract with modern day maternity leave taken out of it, doesn't seem realistic to me, unless you can demonstrate to them, otherwise.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 15:17:31

You do not need to tell them you are pregnant.It's not deceitful and does not reflect badly on you.You are quite right to go for a job for which you feel you are qualified and pregnancy does not alter that one iota.

I think it's important to skim the bump and sit straight. I reckon at 17 weeks a well cut jacket should work - perhaps over a dress? I'm not so good at the style advice - but please do not be deterred from going for the job,despite what others may say.

Good luck with both the interview and the pregnancy OP.

Well that's very commendable but not very realistic , op has already decided to go for the job, not much point if she's going to tell them she's pregnant !

I would wear a loose jumper and make sure you are prepared, ask people if you look pregnant.

Btw other posters if the op takes 6 months maternity leave they are still getting a year and a half plus she may be the best person for the job !

Pinkflipflop Tue 01-Jan-13 15:21:37

A large scarf?

deXavia Tue 01-Jan-13 15:26:51

Of course you are entitled to go for a job when pregnant but I can assure you that as someone who hires people regularly if you didn't mention it by second interview (ie when we knew your qualifications and had met you, and knew you'd fit) then I would be royally pissed off. And right or wrong it would influence how I treated your return to work and any contract renewal.
And for the record I was hired into a new and promoted role at 5 months so it is absolutely possible to get a job based on skill regardless of personal circumstances.
IMO the least of your concerns should be what top you are going to wear ...

BabysPointlessPocket Tue 01-Jan-13 15:27:57

Well, I'm going to raise that old argument if you were a man whose wife was 17 wks pregnant argument. A man can also share paternal/maternal leave with his OH. Could this be an option for you op? It's awful (and I think unlawful) not to be offered a job, due to pregnancy.
As for the interview, dress in whatever you're comfortable in, be honest and good luck.

TidyDancer Tue 01-Jan-13 15:28:46

If this was for a permanent job, I wouldn't think twice, but I'm surprised at the idea of doing this for a fixed term contract.

If you are set on going for the job though, a dark colour underneath a slightly lighter jacket set up would work. A large piece of jewellery may also work as a distraction.

Earlybird Tue 01-Jan-13 15:34:44

No matter what your qualifications, you are contemplating concealing the truth. Your OP asking how to hide your pregnancy shows you are looking into how you might deceive the interviewer. It would be a lie by omission.

As a prospective employer, I would be most concerned that your are/were not honest and could not be trusted.

Gintonic Tue 01-Jan-13 15:37:18

I think some posters are being quite mean. The OP was made redundant, that's not her fault, why shouldn't she look for a job to help provide for her baby? The company will not have to give her maternity pay, but it will mean she has a job to go back to.

I did an interview while pregnant, I wore a stretchy pencil skirt, a smart top and a sort of thin cotton jacket which I got in the maternity section of h and m.

I think if the people dont know you they are less likely to notice, though obviously depends how much you are showing.

Good luck.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 15:38:13

Every time I've been for an interview I conceal the truth though Earlybird.

I never tell them that sometimes in the Winter I'm too lazy to shave my armpits,or I swear bad enough to send sailors running out of a bar when I'm pissed.

I thought the idea was to tell 'em what they want to hear shock

kaz1119 Tue 01-Jan-13 15:40:46

cannot quite believe some of the responses you got, OP shock

i am rubbish when it comes to styling advice but wanted to say good luck!

DrRanj Tue 01-Jan-13 15:43:28

Oh ffs I hate it when people get all concerned for the employer. The op has been unemployed and is doing her best to get a job. The government regard pg as not being a good enough reason not to work so op would be on jobseekers for her pg so would be expected to go to interviews.

You don't need to tell an existing employer you are pg til you are 20 something weeks, a new employer is no different. If she went in with her bump on display she wouldn't get the job, because of prejudice. She is doing the sensible thing.

I found myself looking for a job when I was visibly pg. I got one, but it was only temporary, so could only get minimal maternity allowance after the birth. If I hadn't have found work I'd have got nothing at all.

In answer to your question, I would just wear clothes that are as non-maternity as possible, no billowy tops! How about a stretchy jersey pencil skirt, with a fitted but not tight smart jumper? Or a smart t shirt with a waterfall cardi? Hate them usually but would be good for bump hiding.

rhondajean Tue 01-Jan-13 15:45:49

Op I have done this, and got the job. I wore a long suit jacket and left it open with a skimming top underneath.

Good luck and ignore the twaddle.

Boggler Tue 01-Jan-13 15:45:57

I'm pretty sure that if you're already employed you have to inform your employer by week 20 of your pregnancy when you get your matb1. Therefore I feel that going for an interview at nearly 20 wks and not sating anything is pretty unfair. If you get the job you could go on maternity leave within a couple of weeks, although you probably won't be entitled to statutory maternity pay maybe maternity allowance. I'd be really peed off tbh to find that someone I thought was coming to work will be going off in a few weeks possibly for a year of a 2 year contract. Put yourself in the employers shoes how would you react to the news? I wouldn't hunk you'd have any sort of future after the contact expires.

Earlybird Tue 01-Jan-13 15:47:53

Verysmallsqueak - no idea what sort of jobs you have applied for in the past (grin), but doubt shaving your armpits (or not) has any bearing on your ability to perform the job, and when you are available to do it.

The OP is aware that revealing her pregnancy could be a factor - and she is seeking advice on how to actively conceal the truth.

Just curious - if the OP doesn't reveal the pregnancy, is the interviewer allowed by law to ask about it (if they notice)?

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 15:58:02

I'm desperately trying to find a witty retort Earlybird involving some far fetched scenario with straggly armpit hair and time off work,but I am stumped grin.

But you see what I mean,I'm sure? We tell the stuff that'd get us the job and skim the rest.
It quite simply the case that if there is no legal requirement to divulge the information then it's up to the individual interviewee whether they do or don't.And I fully support any woman who chooses not to tell them that she sometimes doesn't shave her armpits in the Winter news of a pregnancy which is personal at that time.

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 16:13:02

Yoi dont have to.tell an employer until 15wks before due date, so 25wks preg.

The op is perfectly entitled to.not say she is preg.

dexavia if as you just admitted concealing a preg at interview would piss you off and that would then affect how you treated that employee then you would be acting illegally and thaf would be discrimination.

Op smart fitted trousers or skirt with a top that skimming and a smart jacket and nice jewlery to draw attention to you rather than your bump?

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 16:14:02

And i dont think they are allowed to ask about pregnancy ir children/dependents etc?

webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 16:14:07

Thanks for all the replies. Not surprised by the variety of people's responses - I recognize it's not an ideal situation and that some in my position would choose to take themselves out of the employment market altogether.

I wasn't particularly clear on the situation (as I was primarily seeking opinions on wardrobe choices for the interview rather than on my decision to go forward to interview) but maybe this will make my decision to go forward to interview more understandable to some people:

- the role is a board role rather than an operational executive role, where I would be required to attend meetings twice per month for two years
- I would not be taking maternity leave in the traditional sense, as I am a freelance worker. I don't plan on missing more than 2 of those meetings and have a nanny for my existing DC, who would also assume childcare responsibility for the new baby.

Therefore, there is no question of the organization having to organize cover for me. It is a large MNC with a large Board and my being absent from a couple of meetings would not have a material effect on my abilities to contribute meaningfully to their business, in the way set out in the job description.

Either way, many thanks for all the suggestions on the wardrobe choices and for other comments on my decision to go forward to interview or not. Many comments were very helpful in raising alternative ways of managing the situation that I'll consider before next week. The most important thing to me is to get a fair shot at the preliminary interview with the recruiters so I have the opportunity to be shortlisted and be seen by the company panel at all. If I get to that stage, I would be far more likely to be open about my circumstances.
Again, appreciate all the input.

BikeRunSki Tue 01-Jan-13 16:28:32

I have interviewed, managed pg people and am about (tomorrow) to return to work from my second ML. You don't have to inform your employer if your pg until 25 weeks; you may go on ML at this point but don't have to until EDD. I'd say, if they are recruiting anyway, then they'll have potential "second chance" candidates to ask for maternity cover if needs be.

Who is to say all the other candidates are not also pg?

And no, they are no allowed to ask you about your pg if they suspect it, or anything about your children or plans to have them.

webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 16:34:51

Thanks very much, Bikerunski, that's really helpful! I always seem to find it so bloody hard to get through the first stage, so I'm just trying to do everything I can to give myself a fighting chance. I really want this role and think I have a lot to offer them - would hate to rule myself out simply by making the recruiters nervous....

Emo76 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:41:17

hello again OP
I still think for a board role they would appreciate your openness but also I can understand that this is not a full time job in the sense of the word. Obviously you may be able to miss two meetings a year and still be in full fulfilment of your duties on the board, I know a lot of board members who do not attend every board meeting. Anyway,best of luck and sorry for being judgemental without knowing the facts. And in answer to your question - Something float or skimming..... maybe a statement necklace or earrings to draw attention away from down below?

Incidentally for the interest (or not!) other readers I was headhunted for my current job at 3m pregnant (having had 2 miscarriages I wasn't that confident it was going to work out..) anyway I was upfront about being pregnant and they still hired me, I said I would return when baby was 4-5mths old and I did, three years down the line I am still there, promoted and very committed - and this is a City job. Sometimes the city gets terrible press, guess I am very lucky.

webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 16:44:16

Thanks Emo76-well done! Sounds like they knew you were the best person for the job - quite heartening!

DrRanj Tue 01-Jan-13 16:45:31

I bet no one would expect a man to tell an interviewer if their wife/dp was expecting a baby, even though they would probably be taking paternity leave and may take time off for midwives apts etc. not to mention being sleep deprived with a newborn if they help with night feeds etc.

Anyway that is beside the point, this is s&b after all, hope you find a suitable outfit op, and nail the interview! grin

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Jan-13 16:47:52

The very best of luck webminx.

I reckon probably your best bet is an attention drawing detail at the neck as others have said,and an honest opinion and try-on first with anyone who knows you well beforehand.

And wear an air of confidence that this is your year and this is your job.

tethersjinglebellend Tue 01-Jan-13 17:13:06

You can tell them about the pregnancy -if you wish- when they offer you the job. If they withdraw the job offer due to the pregnancy, they are breaking the law.

Back to the matter in hand: Cos is your friend. I would avoid trousers and instead go for something like this, this or this with heels if you can wear them.

Add a blazer if the role requires, but otherwise one of the above dresses with killer heels and a large shoulder bag should do the trick.

Or you could dress as a man wink

Good luck smile

tethersjinglebellend Tue 01-Jan-13 17:15:56
ElectricMonkBelievesInSanta Tue 01-Jan-13 17:19:57
webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 18:03:49

Wow - thanks very much for those suggestions! I think I'm going to try the M&S wrap dress as their sizing can be forgiving (although frankly, the application of the word petite to my frame is a bit of a stretch ;-) and two Cos dresses. Love peplum on others but have not tried it myself, yet - will try some on and see how it looks. Will be heading into town tomorrow morning so fingers crossed! Great idea re a scarf, big bag and some hold-in tights!
Thanks again!!

webminx Tue 01-Jan-13 18:04:57

@tethersjinglebellend LOL at dressing as a man :-)

Northernlebkuchen Tue 01-Jan-13 19:01:31

Don't tell them till you have an offer in writing. Anybody who says otherwise just hasn't been on the sharp end of job hunting when pregnant.

hugoagogo Tue 01-Jan-13 19:06:19

Gosh you have got a lot of grief on here!

I think this dress looks smart and of course you will still be able to wear it as you get bigger, but it doesn't smack of I'm pregnant (well not to me)

Good luck grin

ElectricMonkBelievesInSanta Tue 01-Jan-13 19:14:08

You're welcome - good luck tomorrow! Another thing you might want to do is pop over to an Estee Lauder/Bobbi Brown counter and get an assistant to show you how to contour your face with bronzer and blush if you don't already do it. The lines of your face will probably have rounded out/softened a tiny bit by now, and the effect of contouring will subtly counteract that. Estee Lauder girls are generally very good at that without going OTT, and I know Bobbi Brown's bronzer colours are a lot more subtle than some other brands.

ElectricMonkBelievesInSanta Tue 01-Jan-13 19:16:10

Oh, and I meant to add - yes, M&S's petite range is very forgiving, especially in stretchy fabrics like the one the wrap dress is made of. And fortunately, as it's already a 3/4 sleeve, it won't matter if it's slightly shorter on you than it's supposed to be.

AloeSailor Tue 01-Jan-13 21:53:08

Ignore baddog, she gets her kicks from trying to be horrible and killing threads.

When I was pregnant with dd1 5 years ago I lived in phase eight dresses as they're often tight / fitted but with room in the stomach area.

I've just looked on their website and they have some quite nice dresses with ruching. I'm not preggers now but I do have a round tummy and I find ruching is a good way of hiding it. Sorry I don't know how to link on an iPad.

Also agree with advice on wearing a scarf. I hid my pregnancy for about 6 months and had lots of interesting scarves.

Good luck with the interview.

BackforGood Wed 02-Jan-13 00:58:32

Don't tell them till you have an offer in writing. Anybody who says otherwise just hasn't been on the sharp end of job hunting when pregnant Northern, have you not read the thread ?
Both Emo76 and I have said we were honest with our prospective employers whilst pregnant and seeking new jobs, and we both got the role. Both of us have then had successful careers and good relationships with those employers, after starting out honestly.
Why do people presume to make such sweeping statements about things which have already been proved to not be true, by other posters in the thread ? confused

Northernlebkuchen Wed 02-Jan-13 11:36:43

Oh I'd read your posts and you were both very, very lucky to get away with that -as the reaction of other posters shows - that 'employers have a right to know', that's it's not being honest not to tell them. Well hang on - pregnancy has no impact on your interview performance so why would you tell them? If you want to avoid being done over don't tell. It's that simple.
Why do people presume that their isolated experience trumps all others? There is a whole body of employment law based on pregnancy related discrimination. It's a real problem and the way to avoid it is simply not to tell something that isn't relevant to the job anyway.

shelldockley Wed 02-Jan-13 17:01:26

What DrRanj said.

I think plain loose fitting shirts disguise a bump quite well.

hugoagogo Wed 02-Jan-13 20:29:24

Of course, there is the point of view that some employers might be more inclined to choose a pregnant candidate, worried that they might be accused of discriminating if they don't.

Employment law is very much in favour of pregnant women; a fact that must be at the front of interviewers minds.

So, not revealing the fact at the interview stage is fairer all around.

webminx Mon 21-Jan-13 21:29:58

Just wanted to update all you lovely ladies who offered ideas, shared your experience of similar circumstances and wished me luck: I was shortlisted, so hope to attend a final interview this Friday. I intend to address my circumstances at some point during that interview (again, any ideas on that very welcome!!) and will hopefully get a second wear out of the Cos dress I bought, on your recommendation. Thanks again all and please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Oh, well done webminx - fingers crossed smile

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