Job Hunting + Your Growing Family

Over here at Baby Bridge, we understand the juggle that comes with balancing and integrating family and work. If you’re in a stage of life where you’re job/gig hunting AND adding a new family member(s), deciding when and how to share this news with your potential employer (or clients/customers) can feel tricky.  For this month’s blog, we’ve interviewed master recruiter, CEO, and mom-extraordinnarie, Hope McCutcheon from C-ville Capital Partners about her journey and some tips on how to navigate this with confidence.

Job Hunting + Your Growing Family

Work + your growing family: job hunting when you’re pregnant, adopting, or adding new members

By Ingrid Cordano

It’s not every day that you become a mother to four overnight, but that’s exactly what happened to Hope MCutcheon, CEO of C-ville Capital Partners, a Charlottesville-based recruiting and placement firm. She had left the world of finance and financial recruiting to start her own business and found herself marrying a single dad a few months later, suddenly helping to raise three kids (the fourth is an adult) while growing her business.

“A lot of recruiters start their companies because they want to grow a big firm. For me, it was always a lifestyle play. I wanted to be a mom and have flexibility so I wanted a business that was built with that intention from the start,” Hope explained. Since her marriage, her family has kept growing, with the addition of her daughter, who was born in 2021.

So, how did she navigate all of those transitions, especially as it related to her business and clients? “As a business owner, with no direct employees, there was nothing I ‘had-to-do’,” she clarified. “I guess that’s a little different from people with an employer since I had ways to shift my workload around behind the scenes without anyone being the wiser.” In fact, Hope didn’t actually take any official time off after her daughter’s birth but had a business partner who managed most of the workload while she adjusted to life as a mom.

“Even still,” she offered, “there were a few clients to whom I decided NOT to disclose my pregnancy. I was afraid they would react badly. In hindsight, though, I think that may have been an unwarranted fear.” She laughed and added, “I think I still have some clients who never realized I was pregnant and had a baby at the time that I did.”

Navigating the Interview Process

So, what kind of advice can you offer for people trying to navigate telling a prospective employer or clients that they are expanding their families?

Although Hope is not trained as an HR expert, she has extensive experience with recruiting and placing candidates, including those that are pregnant or have other family commitments that need to be considered. She shared that while you are legally not obligated to tell your employer about your pregnancy or expanding family, most people choose to do so because they will need either accommodations or time off. Choosing when or if to do this is up to the individual but Hope offers some advice.

Be honest with yourself

Sometimes it can feel like we just want to get that job/any job and please our way in the front door. But it pays to really consider what kind of lifestyle you want and need for your growing family. “Balance and flexibility is really important to most candidates these days so most people are asking these questions up front and being honest about their needs,” Hope explained. “It starts with being honest with yourself about what you’re looking for and where your boundaries are.”

Vet the culture

You can glean a lot about a culture just from their online presence. “The reality is that companies that are family-friendly usually are bragging and talking about it. It’s a big selling point,” Hope explains. “So feeling out that culture in advance is important. Are they ‘always on’? Do they expect that of all their employees? Those can be red flags.”

Image via Hey Arnold on GIPHY

Check out the benefits

If you don’t want to disclose your pregnancy during the interview but still want to get a read on how they would respond when/if you do, Hope suggests asking if you can get a copy of any documentation about the full benefits package. “It’s pretty common for all candidates to ask to see the benefits packages and you can dig through there to check out the language around family policies. If you don't see anything specific, you can go ahead and ask their recruiter or HR manager. People often do this and then wait to see if they’re a strong candidate before they disclose.”

“It’s also totally appropriate to ask directly about their policies for families,” she continued. “*How do parents navigate the culture with regards to their families? *****can be an excellent interview question, regardless of your family status.”

Make your disclosure (or not)

“Most candidates want to disclose (pregnancy or family leave) with the company during the interview process, both to be honest and upfront but also because they really only want to work in an environment that is supportive,” Hope says. However, she reminded that when and if you do this is entirely up to you.

More Resources

There are many puzzle pieces to consider when you’re growing your family AND growing your work life. Here are some resources that we’ve compiled here at Baby Bridge that can help guide you on your journey.