I had my first Interview and it scarred me for life

Hi there guys This morning I had my first “interview”

Due to the kindness of an acquaintance, I got an interview for an off-cycle internship in a small, local IB in Dubai. I live in Iran and I’m in my last year of industrial engineering bachelors so as you can guess I was psyched. I sent them my CV and they called me to talk to me, tell me a little about the opportunity and ask me some questions. I told them that I know a little bit about what I was in for, since I’ve done the BIWS courses and I’ve passed all the Iranian Capital Markets Professional Certifications, they especially liked the fact that I knew Arabic (it’s not really used in Iran). The second phone call was from the same guy who called last time. he asked me if it’s possible for me to come to Dubai in the next few weeks. of course, I said yes, got my visa, booked a hotel room and plane tickets and came here.

The interview: Today I went to the bank and introduced myself in the lobby, they told me where to go so I went there and no one was there. after a few minutes, this guy came into the room, took a look at me and without any kind of introduction (not even a “hi”) told me in Arabic: there must’ve been a mistake here, you don’t look “white”. He then told me that they only want people of European descent “since that’s what our clients like” and without waiting for my answer he told me that they can not offer me an internship. he waited a few seconds and told me that “you can go now”.

I walked out of the building hailed a cab and came back to my hotel room. tomorrow morning I’m going back to Iran. and this was my first job interview.

TL;DR: was thrown out of an internship interview cause I’m not white

Arabs are cun ty ppl. The interviewer is a proper twat… .some dude spoke to me like that i would have spat in his face, kicked him in balls and strutted outta there! You didn’t want to work for that firm anyway! Imagine how sh it it would have been!!..

Thanks, I know it was not a good place to work in, but it still hurt quite a lot. I actually cried a little after I came back to my hotel room, not really because of the racism involved (although it feels REALLY bad). but mostly because I’m going to apply to some MSF programs in a year and I thought a relevant international internship would increase my chances a little.

It’s really shitty to make something in your mind and see it crumble in front of your eyes. not to mention just the hotel and plane tickets cost me 1 months of salary. (most people are quite poor in Iran)

It may sound over dramatic but I feel numb

P.S: I’m sure not all Arabs are bad people. as an Iranian, I myself have been a victim of generalization.(President trumps travel ban comes to mind) and I’ve been called a terrorist and sand monkey a few times. so I don’t like to generalize, but at least this one guy was truly a piece of shit.

Even Trump will not go as far as rejecting you to your face because of race.

exactly. well I’m somewhat over it, no use crying over spilled milk (at least no more than I’ve already done!)

At least I did some studying today. and even if the guy was really tactless about it I appreciate that he gave it to me straight (trying real hard to think positive over here). although I have no idea why they thought I was white to begin with.

Funny thing is that every time I read about “white privilege” I thought it was a bunch of baloney and even though I still don’t think being a Caucasian is a discernable advantage in most cases, in this one case you’d have benefited directly because of your race.


thats just how the world works. sometimes you just gotta accept that some people are like that. i actually prefer that they were straight up about it as oppose to beating around the bush.

exactly, I should just play with the cards I was dealt with. and you know, being a mentally and physically fit middle eastern would surely be better than being a Caucasian with a serious disability. so I got that going for me.

and there is always the next time.

Yeah, its better you didn’t get into the company and find out this mentality later. You don’t want to work with people like that.

This type of discrimination exists in “the west” also but at least people have the decency to go through with the interview and just discretly not make an offer.

were they expecting you to be a “white” Caucasian type of Iranian? is there general discrimination against “darker” arabic/persian people? (not necessarily African) in the middle East…

Don’t think it is because of decency. It is probably fear of lawsuits and to keep a good public image, and I think this way is much worse than the direct rejection the op received

I’m pretty sure they wanted a Nordic white. Iranians “whites” are more like Mediterranean white. Iran is a diverse country with quite a few ethnicities, but even the most white-looking Iranians look more Mediterranean than anything (think Greek, Italian, etc…) they especially look Greek, as in light skin but dark hair and brown or rarely green eyes. I myself have been mistaken as an Italian (for some weird reason) this leads me to the conclusion that they were looking for the over the top white as in very light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair.

you can also see this. it’s a quick and fun read answering the question are Iranians white (tons of pictures from Iranians in there): https://www.quora.com/What-race-do-Iranian-people-sometimes-called-Persians-belong-to/answer/Mehrdad-Dəmirçi?srid=uXyRK

BTW the answer is wrong Iranians are not white (although genetically speaking the Persian ethnicity has the closest ties to Mediterranean people) but the facial futures and skin colors are representative (not the body types obviously most Iranians don’t look like models!)

to answer your second question: there is no discrimination against Iranians in the middle east (not because of our skin color at least) I mean every Arab country and most Arabs, in general, hate Iranians but that’s just because our government is trying REALLY hard to piss them off.

oh and also Arabs consider most Iranian heretics who’d burn for ever in hell, so there is also that

One word - Move on!

^ That’s two words.

Sorry for your terrible experience mazloom. No one deserves that, especially at the financial cost you incurred.

Dude that is probably the dumbest thing to do… what do you think you’re in America? You’re on their turf, the rule of law is up to their interpretation. You’d be in their version of Gitmo before you could get the next flight out.

OP it sucks that that happened to you. I don’t know why an intern would need to face clients anyways unless the intern usually gets a full-time role after. If the person you met was not the person you spoke with on the phone I think it’s worth having a conversation with the phone interviewer about not wasting people’s time.

That sucks OP - i hope they reimbursed you for the travel/lodging and you can chalk that up as a free vacation.

Fear not though, there is recourse in the manner of social media. I’d suggest you write a poor review on Glassdoor.

As to the history of persian descent, i always found it interesting the origin of the name Iran and its derivation from “arya”.

You lived in iran, you went to college in iran and you speak arabic yet your interviewer thought you were white?

Da fuq?

Perhaps the interviewer thought the OP was not enough good-looking. The interviewer tried to be polite (I mean he tried to refuse the OP with another reason) but the way he spoke is awkward.

some folks from the middle east have lighter complexion and some people may confuse them as souther europeans (white). Or he/she might be mixed. ie. someone born and raised in the US and dad is mexican, some people call this person mexican.