Sunday, July 21, 2013
Explaining why I was fired – and when to tell a potential employer I’m pregnant?
I recently was let go from my job as a financial representative’s assistant. This was my first job out of college and not related to my major. I wasn’t told until after I was hired I needed to obtain both an insurance and series 6 license as a requirement of continued employment. I took the insurance classes, but was having difficulty passing the life exam. I then took several days off due to a family event and a vacation. When I returned my manager called me into his office to inform me I wasn’t working out. He needed an assistant who was certified. Since losing this job, I’ve had one phone interview for a position in my field of study. When asked why I was no longer working, I told the interviewer I had difficulty passing the insurance exam. I was nervous and rambled a bit giving the dates of my exams and the scores I received. I was not called back for a second interview. My parents think I shouldn’t have given so much detail about the exams and instead say I was not told during the interview process I needed to become a certified insurance agent nor given a drop dead date for accomplishing this. How do you think I should respond to the question, “Why did you leave your last job?”
Also, I am pregnant. I am not showing yet do I need to tell potential employers I am pregnant? If so when?
I disagree with your parent’s advice. Do not tell interviewers you weren’t informed of the insurance license requirement during the interview process. Interviewers may think you are naïve, didn’t do your homework, weren’t listening or are lying. I did a quick search on a local company’s website and found the following listed as a requirement for a similar job:
- Series 6 or 7, 66 or 65 & 63, and Life Insurance license required
Also, do not go into detail about taking the exam. Instead say, “I was required to become licensed by such and such date and when I failed to do so I was let go. I now realize this job wasn’t for me. I went to school for X and this position did not utilize my talents which are ….” The closer your talents match the job you are applying for the better.
As to alerting potential employers you are pregnant, do not do so until you have a firm job offer. I am reminded of the seminar I attended on hiring discrimination. The speaker, an HR hiring manager at a large company, told us hiring discrimination absolutely exists for women in their child-bearing years. When a manager at her company knows an interviewee is pregnant she is rarely (as in never) considered for hiring or promotion. Why - because someone, either the manager or other employees, have been covering this position since it became open. If they hire a pregnant person they know in a few months someone will once again need to cover this position while the employee is out on maternity leave. There is also the fear the employee will forget everything she learned and need to be retrained once she returns or at the very least will need to be brought up to speed on what occurred while she was out. Then there is the fear she may decide to stay home with her new baby and they will need to start the hiring process all over again.
Once hired you do need to inform your new employer you are pregnant as soon as possible, they will need to plan for it. After you receive a firm job offer in writing let them know you will be accepting the offer, but do need to inform them you are pregnant and the baby is due on…They will not be happy, but most likely will not rescind your job offer in fear of a discrimination law suit.
Have you ever been fired? How did you explain your firing in an interview?
Were you ever pregnant while searching for a job? At what point did you alert the interviewer you were pregnant? Were you still hired?
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