Criminal Records Are Hindering Job Seekers


With the economy struggling and employment hard to come by, competition for existing jobs has become more of a challenge with unusually large numbers of individuals competing for the same position. Employers currently have the upper hand and they are tightening up their requirements for the positions they are offering.

At one time employers overlooked minor legal infractions, especially if they occurred many years ago. Now that attitude has changed. Employers have an easy way to conduct in-depth background checks on any and all potential employees.

It’s not uncommon to see Help Wanted signs with additional wording which reads – “Do Not Apply with Any Misdemeanors” or “You Must Have a Clean Record to Apply”.

The truth is one in every 4 American citizens have some type of criminal record. It could be an old DWI case or a shop lifting incident from years ago. In many cases the infraction was minor and happened decades ago but many companies are making no exceptions in their hiring process.

Usually the incident was so minor the person applying for the job will often forget to list it on the application. Once the incident surfaces during the background research, the applicant will be dismissed for consideration. It gives the impression that the applicant was trying to hide something and intentionally lied about their past.

Digging into a person’s background was much more difficult in the past but online services now make the process quick and affordable. These online companies have changed the hiring practices of most companies, large and small.

Some individuals are even losing their jobs because companies are running background checks on employees that have held positions for years. This can happen despite the fact that the employee has proven themselves to be valuable to the company. Some of these employers have decided that past criminal activities mean an automatic dismissal. No exceptions are considered.

Eliminating a candidate for a minor infraction can rule out a large portion of the unemployed. It also conveys a message to these people that though you may have paid your debt to society, we will still discourage you from finding honest employment.

Although it may be a difficult admission, being up front during the interview process could be to your favor. If they’re going to run a background report on you then explaining what happened may help impact your chances of being considered for employment. If the company is small enough to allow exceptions and consider the circumstances, then honesty and your explanation may keep your application in the running.



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