Essential News

What hiring managers and professionals need to know – without the fluff.

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Working with a Criminal Record

Having a criminal record does not automatically mean you will be unable to find unemployment. However, there may be certain industries you will be unable to find work in due to industry standards or even federal legislation.

You have a criminal record; a DUI from a couple of years ago. Maybe it’s a youthful indiscretion such as shoplifting or perhaps something a little more serious such as assault and battery. One thing that would go a long way towards helping to keep you far away from future scrapes with the law would be a good job. Who has time to get into trouble when they have to be at work by 8 am every morning?

In an effort to find a balance between an employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe working environment and society’s interest in keeping criminal offenders from reoffending, many states have passed so called ban the box legislation. This prohibits most employers from asking if a job applicant has a criminal past at least until the first face to face interview. The idea is that this at least gives the applicant an opportunity to explain the circumstances and the efforts towards rehabilitation in which they may have engaged.

If you have a criminal record, there are things you should know and things you can do to enhance your opportunities to find a good job.

— Make sure the job you’re seeking is appropriate. If your DUI conviction was only a year ago, don’t apply for a position that involves driving a vehicle until you can demonstrate several years of safe driving.

— Be prepared to honestly answer questions about your past from an interviewer. Use the opportunity to explain what you’ve done to rehabilitate yourself and why you are worth the employer taking a risk with you.

— If the employer is using a background checking company to perform the investigation, they are required by federal law to first obtain your consent in writing and provide you with a summary of your rights. If anything on the background check report may be the cause for them not to hire you, they must first provide you with a pre-adverse action notice and a copy of the report and then give you an opportunity to dispute any information in the report that may be inaccurate or out of date.

Source: Community Voices: Does a criminal background mean you won’t get hired?, The Herald News; By David Sawyer,  May 19, 2015