Thursday, January 8, 2015

What if you are a Muslim applying?

Actually this applies to any religion or creed. But the question was asked by a Muslim wondering about how to handle questions on religious preference.

America is multi-culti, but this does not mean all hiring managers are aware of and able to handle cultural differences.

People with different backgrounds may feel disrespected.

To minimize this, try to identify companies or organizations that are a good fit, says the author of Surviving the Job Interview Lifecycle.

If your religion dictates certain attire, say a head covering, you need to assess whether you are okay with wearing a hard hat or scrubs.  If not, that company may not be for you. You can't march in and demand that they change.

Some cultures discourage eye contact, some say "we" when talking about accomplishments, some say "I."

Familiarize yourself with American hiring customs--you may need to develop a strong handshake, for instance. Or you could say, "I look forward to meeting you, but wanted you to know in advance that due to my religion, I cannont shake hands with men. Will this be a problem? Then when you get there, nod politely--chances are the hiring manager will nod back. Problem solved.

Discuss your religious practices up front. If you are  Muslim and pray five times a day, could this be accommodated?

See what your instincts tell you on both sides--the hiring manager may think, OK, this is different, but this woman seems smart as a whip and has great experience." The applicant may be thinking, "He seems kind and interested in my skills and what I bring."

Could be a match!

No comments: