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As a Muslim, I have some restrictions when it comes to working for banks and some types of insurance companies1. There is a software engineering offer I am interested in from a company where projects are not predefined but change and depend on the clients which may include banks. There is more than one available project at a time to work on.

Would this decrease my chances of getting the job?

What is the proper way to explain this during the interview?


1 - For details see Wikipedia on riba and this question on Islam.SE

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    @haylem In Islam interest is prohibited, and therefore working for banks, since they are mostly interest-based. Then, people may differ in their commitment to that, and views may change depending on the role one has within a bank. – user49879 Jun 29 '16 at 0:39
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    Islamic countries don't have banks? – Kilisi Jun 29 '16 at 1:35
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    Would it be possible to make a list of non-approved banks and insurance companies? Leaving it vague "some types of companies" is not good for anyone. "I will not work for the following banks" or even "I will not work for any bank" seems better. – Brandin Jun 29 '16 at 7:53
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    @Kilisi - They do. Islamic law is not fully applied in islamic countries. Some countries have Islamic banking, a banking activity that is consistent with the principles of sharia. – user49879 Jun 29 '16 at 8:44
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    Reminder to all: the OP's religious beliefs are his own and this is not the place to discuss whether or not a specific activity is allowed by a particular religion or belief. That OP's case concerns the concept of riba is useful background information but ultimately not of critical importance to the question or possible answers. – Lilienthal Jun 29 '16 at 10:32
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How to tell the interviewer that I don't want to work on a particuar type of projects for religions reasons?

You simply need to state the types of work restrictions your religious observations require, and ask if that would cause a problem there.

Clearly, this is an important factor in your decision regarding which job to choose. For any such factor, it's best to be up front about it, and weed out the companies where that would be problematic.

Would this decrease my chances of getting the job?

Perhaps. But in a good way.

You don't want to work for a company that would put you in conflict with your beliefs. Best to get that out of the way up front and quickly move on if it's a problem. Part of your job when interviewing is to find a company that is a good fit for you - financially, career growth-wise, personally, culturally, and keeping in mind any factors that are important to you.

If you are working with a headhunter or recruiter you can specify that requirement up front. That could help avoid an uncomfortable conversation with the hiring company themselves.

Some companies would be big enough, with a varied enough client base that they could assure you that you wouldn't have to work with clients you'd like to avoid. Others aren't in a position to offer that option. You want to interview with the former, and weed out the latter. Conveying your job needs early can speed up that process.

When I looked for a new job in recent years, I was always explicit in my desire not to travel at all (not a religious thing, but very important to me and my family). That meant I rejected several jobs. But the jobs that remained fit my needs.

And when I'm hiring people, I want to hear their particular requirements as early as possible, so we don't waste each others' time.

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    I agree with all of this. Similar, I had a few co-workers very set on respecting prayer times. They talked about it upfront during the interviews when we hired them, and there was no issue. If it had been an issue, obviously neither the company nor the employee would have found a good match in the other party. Definitely just ask and see how it goes. Though I suspect some companies might be a bit weary of addressing the subject to not risk their answers being perceived as discriminatory. – haylem Jun 29 '16 at 0:35
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    Nice and respectful answer :) – Jane S Jun 29 '16 at 0:39
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    Agree with all of this. I worked at a large investment bank in NYC and had others as clients. This particular religious restriction was well known and respected and I never saw it cause any problems. In fact, one of the college hires we recruited was taken on partly because of the project she created to profitably lend her fellow Muslims money without charging interest. – Laconic Droid Jun 29 '16 at 0:56
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    +1 just for "You don't want to work for a company that would put you in conflict with your beliefs" - and this is true whether it's strongly held religious beliefs, political views or other principles (eg. environmentalism). No amount of career progression or remuneration makes up for the feeling of having sold yourself out - been there, done that, quit in misery... – Julia Hayward Jun 29 '16 at 11:57
  • ...and for those companies that you would be a good fit for (either because they're large enough to route you around the issue, or they just don't have clients of that variety in the first place), knowing what you're requirements are, and handling them clearly, up-front, and in a professional manner can help you give a good overall impression. – Ben Barden Nov 30 '18 at 19:17
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You should be as direct as possible with a recruiter. Withholding info from the recruiter is wasting their time. Which if they figure that out, will be less inclined to help you.

It is like the recruiter is hooking you up with a wife. If you don't like redheads you tell them that. No use in bringing in 10 redheads and you rejecting each one. With an employer you might not realize they are a redhead until week 3.

  • Yep, just tell them – Kilisi Jun 29 '16 at 1:12

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