The Realities of Job Hunting as an Iranian UI/UX Designer

Ardavan Hp
3 min readJul 7, 2023

A running joke between me and my friends is: If i had put the same amount of attempts at applying for jobs, into robbing a bank, just by the odds i would have succeeded.

If you met me three years ago and told me that I’d send out more than 9500 job applications (trust me i kept count) with only a handful of promising responses, I might have laughed. Yet, here I am. I’ve spent countless hours crafting resumes and cover letters, only to be met with a lukewarm response, all because I am an Iranian UI/UX designer.

Navigating the Sea of Job Applications

Applying for jobs can feel like you’re a small fish in a big ocean, except the water is murky, and you’re not quite sure which way is up. Over the past three years, I’ve sent out thousands of job applications, received a few hundred interview calls, but no solid job offers.

The Unspoken Bias in Interviews

My interview experiences have been peculiar, to say the least. It starts positively, with the interviewer expressing interest in my skills and experience. But the moment they learn about my Iranian roots, there’s a perceptible shift. It’s as though my nationality casts a shadow over my abilities.

The Maze of Visa Applications

Visa applications, a necessary evil for any international job applicant, have proven to be a nightmare for me. Some companies have shown interest initially, even promising to navigate the visa process together. But the enthusiasm fades as they want to focus on the local talent.

The Impact of Sanctions and IP Laws

Being from Iran, a country under sanctions, presents unique problems. Companies worry about violating sanctions or intellectual property laws by sharing their products with me. It’s not their fault; it’s just the way the system is set up.

As recently reported, Booking.com cancelled contracts for 11 Iranian employees before work commenced, citing ‘sanction risks.’ This abrupt decision significantly impacted individuals like Zohreh Ghasemi and Maede Rajabi, who had made life-altering adjustments for these opportunities. This incident starkly highlights the intricate challenges that Iranian professionals confront in the global job market.

No Excuse for Rejection

Throughout this journey, I’ve held onto the belief that my nationality shouldn’t be an excuse for rejection. I’ve taken steps to ensure it isn’t me — multiple industry veterans have vetted my resume and portfolio. Their feedback? there is always room to improve and one should but my profile stands strong and competitive. Every feedback given was applied to streaghen my position.

The Eye-Opening Experiment

In a telling experiment, I applied to the same companies from Canada that rejected me earlier with the generic WE WISH YOU SUCCESS ON YOUR FUTURE ENDEVORS Emails. This time posing as a candidate from Spain when filling in the nationality section. The response was startlingly different. I was smoothly sailed through the interviews, was offered visa support, even accommodation promises, Naturally, I opt out. this was done only for my own understanding to which it was great.

This journey has been a hard pill to swallow, teaching me that sometimes your skills and qualifications can be overshadowed by your nationality. But it has not deterred me. I remain committed to my goal, hopeful that I can make a difference and pave the way for future professionals in similar circumstances.

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Ardavan Hp

Ui Ux Designer with love for psychology, philosophy, books and Artificial Intelligence :) http://www.ahpdesign.net/