Hiring an expecting mother

As a hiring manager, imagine you are close to making an offer to a really good candidate. But later during their negotiation, you later learn that they’re expecting a baby and might need a maternity break after 3 months of joining your team.
What’s your honest internal monologue like? Would you still consider taking them in or would you pass them up for someone who can work without a month or two’s break?
I’m the candidate here and I want to hear what hiring managers think about this.


If I have a similar candidate I’m excited about maybe this is a tiebreaker - but otherwise I think I’m ok with still hiring someone with the knowledge that they have maternity leave soon. I guess it also depends on how soon I need this role to be delivering value.


I’m hiring and building for the long term. If they’re the best candidate they’re hired, regardless of anything else.


I would still consider taking them if they are the best candidate. I’m also working for a government owned corporation in Australia and I think they have good support for maternity leave arrangements (i.e. allowing me to hire a backfill).


I’m pretty sure it is illegal to treat the candidate differently.
Beyond that, having & raising children is part of life. It’d be annoying to have to deal with the absence, but it’s far far harder to find a great long term candidate than it is to deal w/ a 3 month absence … particularly of someone new. In a way, I’d be more confident they’d come back (who’d join for 3 months, have a kid, and then quit? hard to imagine unless those first 3 months were really awful, and that’s on us). I also imagine we’d be making a positive statement to the candidate about company values.


(note: illegal in the USA, I don’t know where this question is from.)


The size of the team/company is a significant factor.
I run an early-stage startup, and when I’m hiring, it’s to help us with specific problems now. It takes 2-3 months to become productive, and the team’s output will go down during that time. If candidate1 goes offline for an extended period, they will need to be re-looped into the happenings when they return, and effectively, they will not be contributing until 6+ months from the hire date. That’s too long and too expensive. The best candidate is usually pretty close to the second-best, and I’d lean towards getting help now.
Another factor is the extra risk if things go south. If the person is not a match and I have to let them go within 1-2 months, now there’s an additional risk that they might frame this in terms of them needing to go on maternity leave.


Many companies will not hire international people even when it’s extremely easy to get them a visa - it costs $1k in legal fees, and a few weeks waiting time (for Canadians of Australians). Still, this adds too much additional friction in the process. They will make exceptions if the candidate is amazing (meaning, under-priced), but it hints at how low the threshold is for passing on someone.


Going to reiterate you be very careful here if you are in the US. Rejecting this candidate for being pregnant is illegal. Also, super shitty. If they’re great, hire them and treat them great and they’ll likely stick around for a long long time


It’s good to be aware of the legalities around this issue, but I think the OP is the candidate and not the hirer.


You build a great company culture by how you react in these kind of situations. Your team will think higher of you and the company when they see you considerate of the needs of others, and building frameworks for keeping the work going while someone is in need to be away for a few months, even if they are a new hire.
Whenever one of my colleagues went on maternity leave, my managers and our team stretched a bit during that time to split the work among us. That also was a good chance for some aspiring PM to get a space to help and gain experience.
This made me comfortable later to ask for a paternity leave knowing that everyone around me is supportive and work won’t be impacted much.
And when I got approached a few years later by an interesting company that I wanted to join. I let them know that I will be away for 4 weeks of paternity leave, most probably 6 weeks after my start date with them. Their reaction increased my excitement about joining their team.
So don’t waste this opportunity!


If she’s really good today, she will still be in 3 months. For reference, here in France, the notice to leave a job is 3 months, hence I’ve had to wait countless times: At startup pace, 3 months go really fast.Hire them, and even better, offer them support & flexibility for after they arrive, it will pay dividend in long-lasting company culture effects.


A month or two of break when having a baby? I would hire without blinking.
The problem for someone like us, who hires in India, is that maternity leaves are mandated 6 months paid leave. Now I am a big supporter of this, and we are in a fortunate situation to afford it at the moment, but I remember a time when we were under 10 people, barely making ends meet, and having someone join us and then take 6 months break could have been the difference between our company surviving and dying. In such a situation, I’d definitely think hard on whether the candidate is really the best person for the job and also do we have a plan to survive for the amount of time so that the person has a company to come back to when they finish their leave.

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Agreed. Especially if it’s a position difficult to fill, a company will at least have a certainty that there will be someone in 6 months. As a bonus, a company gets to onboard this person beforehand, so that they can go full speed in 6 months. For senior positions, the notice period is often months (at least in Europe), and additionally people might want to take a little break before starting, which would anyways lead to a similar timeline.

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