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Would you mention that you had children at a job interview?

(60 Posts)
GetOrf Tue 21-Jun-11 15:56:37

This subject came up in another thread.

I have never said that I had children in an interview - I had a 4 month maternity gap which I just left as that - a gap - when I applied for a job after having dd.

When I had been at that job a few months I applied to go on the company's training scheme - I still didn't say I had a baby because I was afraid that they would disregard my application if they knew I had a 9 month old baby.

I have moved jobs a lot and have never mentioned being a mother in interviews. I have always mentioned being a mother casually several months in.

That said - I have always worked in a very male-dominated environment, I know that I would have been unofficially written off if I said I wsas a mother. Has anyone else spent their career doing that?

Also, someone said on the other thread that they always take their wedding and engagement rings off at job interviews as well, I have never done that (am not married and only been engaged a couple of years so it has never came up as an issue).

It's very sad, but I know it has been necessary in my own case.

BovrilonToast Tue 21-Jun-11 16:33:26

I'm not sure how I feel about this but I'd like your opinions...

I'm leaving my job and one of the ladies that is replacing me has a young daughter. She'll be expected to do quite a lot of travelling with the role and may have a few overnighters, but very much on an ad hoc basis, but with notice IYSWIM... Now she has been told that she will need to be in London one day a week at least and that she'll need to work til six ish...

So, she didn't mention her child at interview, and now is in the situation were she may not be able to do the job due to childminders etc...

What would you have done in this instance?

Poledra Tue 21-Jun-11 16:43:28

I do not generally mention my children at job interviews - it isn't really relevant. I do ask about the amount of travelling, as that makes a big difference to me. TBH, in my industry, work/life balance is a Big Ishoo, so most companies are bending over backwards to be family-friendly for both sexes, rather than focusing on women.

I've never seen the need to take off my rings - I don't look at interviewees' hands myself, and anyway, these days it's no indication of marital status nor gives you any idea of whether someone has children or not.

Bovril, I'm sure what can be done - the job is no longer that for which the woman was interviewed. The terms and conditions have changed significantly. Regardless of children, I'd be pretty pissed off if that was me, and would be querying the need for the regular day in London and what has changed to necessitate this.

AliceWhirled Tue 21-Jun-11 16:56:00

Nope. I would ask questions that would help me make a decision about the suitability of the job for me, but I would not hand out information that would enable a sexist, stereotyping interviewer make assumptions about my life. And I don't always wear my rings anyway, so it would depend how the mood took me.

sunshineandbooks Tue 21-Jun-11 18:23:34

I haven't actually had a job interview since having DC but I do have a training interview coming up and I mentioned my status as a lone parents twice on my application form.

I personally see my lone parent status as a positive and proof of the fact that despite the obvious limitations I can cope and juggle. I don't want to work for an employer that considers it a negative because I think such discrimination would also affect me in other ways (and probably even if I didn't have DC either). However, I am aware that this might backfire in a male-dominated environment.

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 21-Jun-11 18:28:00

I do tend to mention it but not deliberately - it kind of comes out by 'accident' or as part of a conversation.

This however is because my work is very strongly related to babies and children so it is a benefit overall I think. The places I work have been very child friendly - everyone (and I mean everyone) who has children has pictures of them on their desks. I often pop in with mine if I am not working that day and need something. You can usually find a small child somewhere grin

I wonder though if many employers just expect women over a certain age to have children?

Annoyingly it works in exactly the opposit way for my DH. He has been told on more than one occasion that he is considered more reliable, hard working, long term etc because he has DC hmm

minipie Tue 21-Jun-11 18:30:18

No I wouldn't mention that I had children, as it's not relevant. Unless they asked what I did outside work, in which case I might.

Bovril surely it's her issue how she fits childcare and work together? I'd have thought it's nothing to do with her employers unless and until she says she can't manage the requirements.

I wouldn't take off my ring. (I only wear an "engagement" style ring, although I am married, so I guess anyone judging would reach the wrong conclusion anyway).

smokinaces Tue 21-Jun-11 18:35:40

I had a job interview today and was asked outright. It was for a child orientated place of work, so guessing thats why?

What did rile me a little was that no where on my application did I say my marital status. However, the letter inviting me to interview said to Mrs. X. XxXX. I am a Mrs but separated so prefer to be title free. I can only presume they "looked me up" prior to interview - in which case they would have also seen the maternity leave as well.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Tue 21-Jun-11 18:38:22

I mentioned it once but it was in context of showing my understanding and experience of the service.

notevenamousie Wed 22-Jun-11 08:24:59

I feel I have to because my "gap" is a year long.
And I have been asked "what will you do for childcare". (Not at that place of work any more)
The job where I was the most honest - my current job - have given me the most leeway. So for me, the honesty was very worth it.

BornToFolk Wed 22-Jun-11 08:39:03

I've had several interviews recently and sometimes I've mentioned it, sometimes not. My last job was part time so people have asked why I was working part time. Also, when I returned to work after maternity leave, I took a step down, in order to work part time, so people have asked about that too.

At the interview for the job I got, I was interviewed by two women in their 30s who both had small children. It was very good to know that, at that company, being a mother needn't be a disadvantage for your career path.

I'm not married or engaged but I do wear a ring on my engagement finger. I have done since I was about 12. I know that it confuses people about my marital status so I like to wear it! grin

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 22-Jun-11 08:41:26

I mentioned it for this job because they asked me why I wanted a three day a week position (given a fairly impressive resume), and that seemed a better answer than any of the other possibilities.

My previous job interview, I was headhunted, and I told them I was 10 weeks pregnant during the interview so if they wanted to offer me the job, they'd also have to give me maternity leave and I wanted to come back 4 days a week. They agreed.

upahill Wed 22-Jun-11 08:44:16

It has never come up in the interview whether or not I've had children so I've never mentioned it.

It is irrelevant because even since the children were babies I have been able to do long shifts/sleepovers and residentials.
Having children has made no difference to my work.

nenevomito Wed 22-Jun-11 08:51:10

I've had one interview since I had my DCs and it just didn't come up. As far as I am concerned its up to me whether I take on a role and whether we can manage the childcare. I interview a heck of a lot of people and some bring it up and some don't.

To answer Borvil - I always state both at interview and as part of the applications process what the expected hours and requirements are of the role. The person then coming to interview has to make the decision about whether they are able to fulfil those requirements. If that information wasn't passed on to the applicants for your role at interview then its the fault of your company for having poor recruitment processes, not the applicant.

tribpot Wed 22-Jun-11 08:58:32

I interviewed at 28 weeks pregnant, not much hiding that one smile (None of them asked me if I had children though - and I didn't mention it, almost literally the elephant in the room).

I wouldn't mention it at interview, nor my role as carer to my chronically ill dh. The second is more likely to crop up in a work context, for example how having access to up-to-date information on his current meds whilst in out of hours could be useful.

I would, however, ask about travelling or overnight requirements, as both are very difficult for me because of my carer/parental responsibilities. I would not expect to have to ask about them as such things should be clearly spelt out at interview, to all candidates to help them decide if the role is suitable for them and their commitments. I will say in my old team, we had 5 people working part-time because of childcare commitments, 4 of which were men.

That said, I have two gaps on my CV which are best described as "couldn't be arsed working" - in both cases I had finished heavy-going contracts abroad and needed some chill-out time before starting again (this was when I was single) - I didn't need the money so I just didn't work. It was great! But explaining those at interview / on an application form is tricky. For one of them I put 'returning to UK from Sweden' - like that took 5 months to achieve. I'm surprised I've never been asked if I walked back or something!

MrIC Wed 22-Jun-11 09:18:05

I mention my daughter at the slightest opportunity (proud dad emoticon)!
In my last two interviews (one for a PGCE, the other for a job) I also mentioned the fact that we were hoping to have a second and therefore might have to take paternity leave. I wasn't asked; I volunteered the information. Admittedly I'm in a sector (teaching) were I suppose being parent is sometimes considered a bonus as it gives you added empathy with your students.
Anyway, I got the job and a place on the course.

Fairycakewithsprinkles Wed 22-Jun-11 09:24:46

I have a 10 year career gap due to raising my kids and being a SAHM.

Just completed a year at college to get myself back out there. I have explained the gap on my CV as what the hell else could I say I have been doing for 10 years?

I am worried it will go against me, although my DC are hardly little anymore.

AliceWhirled Wed 22-Jun-11 09:26:23

MrIC - you do get that it is an entirely different ball game if you are a man, don't you?

mollymole Wed 22-Jun-11 09:33:18

as an employer i expect honesty from the start or IMO there is a trust issue that is going to be difficult to overcome - however, it would make no difference to me whether the applicant is male or female, i would ask the same questions regarding children/childcare

aurorastargazer Wed 22-Jun-11 09:39:37

i agree with sunshine in that i am now a lone parent and figure that the three years spent learning to be judge & jury when required/ counsellor/ nurse/ activities manager/ cook, cleaner AND bottle washer/ housemaid/bank manager/personal shopper/ ... have equipped me with many transferrable skills - including being able to think on my feet and hit the ground runnning at the same time.

i was once asked in an interview if i had children, i wish i had asked the interviewer 'why? do you??'

aurorastargazer Wed 22-Jun-11 09:40:36

<a male interviewer, too. luckily i didn't get the job because ht ehwole company went bust two months later>

peppapighastakenovermylife Wed 22-Jun-11 09:50:00

MrIC - sadly, a man saying at interview he has children gets respect whilst a women typically doesnt. My DH proudly tells people he has 3 small DC as they then think he will be hard working as because he is male he is automatically the provider hmm

Women with children however are usually viewed as a liability as obviously they will be the ones taking time off / not motivated hmm

craftynclothy Wed 22-Jun-11 09:51:56

Yes, I mention them. I've been at home for quite a while with them though so in some ways I have to talk about the skills being at home with them have given me. Like others have said I show it as a positive rather than a negative.

Threelittleducks Wed 22-Jun-11 09:53:13

I have mentioned my dcs before, but wouldn't again - I can safely say that I wasn't given a job because of it. I just know it. I am not being paranoid. The woman even asked me what I would do for childcare. I naievely told her too - what I should have queried was what it had to do with her!

I am a fairly young mother of two and there is a bit of a stigma associated with that, which I wasn't too aware of until I tried to enter the working world just graduated with a young baby.

I am a bit older and wiser now since I last interviewed and would not only give them a run for their money, but I would not mention dcs until asked and even then, very carefully!

MillyR Wed 22-Jun-11 09:56:03

Because of my age and because I am a woman, I think there would be an assumption by employers that I would either be getting pregnant or that I already have small children and so will have childcare issues.

For that reason, I probably would mention my children, and their ages (10 and 13), so that employers would have less reason to discriminate against me.

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