Can a Criminal Conviction Keep You From Finding a Job?

Job hunting can be exceedingly stressful as it is, considering the inferiority of one’s circumstances and the pressure he/she is under. The thought of under-employment or perhaps no employment because of a past criminal conviction haunting you is completely normal. That being said, your record should not be the reason you completely stop looking for gainful employment.

Employers do background checks for safety purposes. They can be liable for an employee’s violent outburst or criminal behavior (if any) happening under their watch. If employers started hiring people without performing any background verification, it would be at their own expense and liability. Therefore, a simple guarantee that your crime was in the past and has no influence on your present or your capabilities to do your job right would suffice.

How Criminal Background Can Affect Job Hunting

Employers don’t say NO to hiring someone simply because of a past crime. It depends on the nature of the crime and how long ago it was committed. There are several mitigating factors that employers take into consideration if the documented malfeasance of the candidate is not gruesome. For instance, a case of car theft 30 years ago is not as bad as a dozen convictions of car theft.

Although, if the job you’re seeking and your recorded crime are even remotely related, your chances of employment will stoop down to none. For example, if you were convicted of embezzling money, the odds of you getting hired as an accountant will fall drastically. You can always take a proactive approach by running a background report on yourself before seeking employment to make sure there is nothing linked to you.

Don’t Lie!

It is always better to be upfront about your conviction records than lying in the hopes that no one finds out. The employer will eventually discover the truth which could ultimately lead to the termination of your job. And besides, honesty is a trait that is highly valued, so it might increase your chances of landing the job.

Keep A Positive Attitude

Your past does not define you; your future does! Make sure the employer sees that in you. Try to exude confidence, humility, and good employable attributes. If you are the perfect fit for the job, the employer might consider cutting you some slack and neglecting your past conviction.

What To Disclose During The Interview

There are certain job interviews where you are not required to disclose your past records and are not even asked about them in the screening process. In such a case, it is up to you whether or not to bring it up.

However, most jobs require full disclosure, in which case you should –
• Not make deliberate efforts to hide facts. However, don’t disclose too much information either. The employer doesn’t have to be privy to all the details.
• Let the interviewer know that you’ve learned and improved from your experience. Make sure to present the steps you’ve taken to move forward in a positive stride. The employer would be assuming a certain amount of risk associated with hiring you, so make sure you talk about your future in the best tone possible!


The foremost step in safeguarding your legal rights should always be to consult with an attorney, and a good one.

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