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Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Wearing Hijab in Job Interviews

“I wish I was stronger.” Sarah said, looking at her hands. “I’ve worn the hijab every day of my life since I was fourteen.” She sighed.

Now I put it on in the morning, go to work and take it off in the parking lot. I don’t feel like myself.’

Sarah and I were sitting in the masjid. She had come by to pray after a day at her office, where she worked as a speech therapist.

It had all started with the job interview. She had promised herself, just once, that she would take her hijab off. She wanted to be treated fairly, that’s all, she had reasoned.

Sarah’s family shook their heads at her when she initially insisted on going with hijab.

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“It’s been awhile since you’ve been in the workforce. No one wants to hire a woman with hijab. You have to seem progressive, modern.”

Sarah’s father had explained, but Sarah was reluctant.

“Why not just for the interview? You can put it back on after, if you like. You want them to give you a chance, that’s it. So you’re not judged before you even speak.”

Her husband had suggested.

Okay, just for the interview, she finally agreed. Then there was the orientation.

She had just met her employer, and she didn’t want to shock them too much just yet.

The first two weeks went by with Sarah’s hijab left in the passenger seat of the car.

She wanted to make friends, settle down a bit more, and feel comfortable before bringing her hijab out. Weeks went by. Six months. A year.

It has been two years now. And Sarah was miserable.

“What has it been like for you? Did you ever feel like no employer would take you seriously with the hijab?”

Sarah asked me.

I paused to think about it. No, the hijab has not always been easy for me. There are times I don’t want to be stared at.

There are times I second guess my safety. There are times I just want to melt into a crowd.

But somehow, it simply never occurred to me that taking it off for a job opportunity would even increase my chances.

I told Sarah about my own job search. I recently got the job I had dreamed about after being unhappy in my current job for far too long.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Wearing Hijab in Job Interviews - About Islam

I wore my hijab to the interview. They didn’t say a word about it, but actually, I like to think my hijab helped.

Sarah was incredulous, but by the time we left the masjid, she had firm resolve.

Next week, she would not take her hijab off in the parking lot. She would stride into her workplace, as herself.

For many of us, hijab can be called into question when it is seen as an obstacle to the opportunities we seek.

Sarah and the many Muslim women like her should not feel the need to compromise such an essential part of themselves just to get what they want.

Every second of wearing the hijab is heavy in the sight of God, and there is wisdom in wearing it in any situation.

So here are five reasons you should keep your hijab on when seeking a job opportunity, for all the girls like Sarah.

1.) You Stand Out

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, people remember us.

Sure, this doesn’t work in your favor when you’re running late, trying to slip into class without the lecturer noticing, but in an interview, this works for you.

You want to seem unique, and chances are, you’re the only one who turned up to this interview wearing a hijab.

You have already set yourself apart from the rest before you even say a word.

What you say is more likely to be remembered, and your face will be distinguished from the rest in the interviewer’s mind.

And anything that leaves an imprint on your interviewer is a huge plus for you!

2.) You Have Empathy

As a Muslim, you know what it’s like to be a minority.

To not always have the same access to things other people take for granted.

The fact that you even have to consider whether you should wear your hijab to an interview proves it!

But this also means that you possess one thing that many people do not.

You can empathize. You can relate to the misunderstood, the insecure, the unheard – because unfortunately, you’ve been there.

Empathy is essential when working with the young, working with the old, teaching, healing, selling, creating – you name it.

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