Interviewer: “So do you have any questions about our company or the position?”
Muslim: “I need off every Friday from 1pm to 3pm. Is there a room I can pray in a couple of times a day? Also sometimes I need to wash my feet in the sink, is that ok? Which restroom should I use? Do you have lotas? Can I borrow the watering jug?”
Interviewer: “Thanks, we’ll be in touch….”
Let’s face it, we are special. We are the strange ones. How do we manage to land that nice job in the corporate world without assimilating and changing our names from Muhammads to Moes and Tariqs to Terrys?
So you have a spiffy new resume, you have been applying to every job you can find online, and you finally get the initial phone call. You get through the preliminaries and now you are set to go interview in person. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Before getting to the interview, it is essential to have a good resume to help land the interview. Without going into too much details, the most important resume tips can be summarized as such,
- Aesthetically pleasing (don’t use pre-made Word templates)
- Grammatically correct.
- Put accomplishments instead of duties. “Brought GUI application for high dollar accounts to satisfactory completion” sounds a whole lot better than “Write code in C++.” Things like “Caught accounting oversights to help recover $200,000 in lost revenue” sounds a whole lot better than “Accounting and bookeeping.”
- Don’t sell yourself short. Your experience is used to gauge your ability to adapt and learn skills, not necessarily replicate the work you do at one job in another.
- Use buzzwords as much as possible – search job openings online and see the words that are in the title headings and use them. Even though you might not officially be a “project manager”, this doesn’t mean that you haven’t ‘managed projects’ – so include the buzzword.
- Don’t lie. This should go without saying for a Muslim.
Now, getting to the interview.
Looks count. “‘Beauty is on the inside’ is just something ugly people say to feel better about themselves” – that is not exactly true, but don’t bank on your internal beauty when interviewing for a job. It is naive to think you can live in a materialistic society and then not be judged on your looks.
Get yourself a nice suit. Wear something conservative. A black suit or dark gray suit should do fine. Don’t wear a loud colored shirt or a loud tie. Make sure your suit is tailored properly and actually fits. If you are 5′6 and 150 pounds, don’t borrow your brothers suit who is 5′9, 200. Spend the extra 20 bucks and make sure it fits right.
Make sure your beard is well groomed. I do not mean that it has to be short. A beard can be short, and still look scraggly or “jungly” for all the desis out there. It can be long, and still look well maintained (Tableeghi brothers have this down). It is important, and it’s the Sunnah, to be neat. This is a direct reflection of your personal hygiene. Anyone who has worked in an IT office knows how people respond to the pungent curry smell that is known to emanate from the break room microwaves at lunch time – when you walk in with a big beard, you have been branded with this type of stigma, so make sure hygiene/smell is not an issue.
Speaking of smell, make sure to put on a nice dab of good cologne. Do not put on your favorite attar oil, or your imitation 3 dollar vial of “CK ONE” – it doesn’t smell that nice, and it’s a bit too heavy for this type of environment.
First impressions count, so make it a good one. I didn’t want to focus too much on appearance, but Muslim men do have style issues. Please see the Muslim Man’s Guide to Style for more information.
Please read the rest here