Locate:

    Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
    being_honest_940x280_2

    The Goodwill® Blog

    Join us on
    Social Media
    For immediate help finding a job, call:
    Contact Us
    being_honest_300x280

    How to Discuss a Criminal Background with Employers

    There are many challenges people can face in finding employment (education, health issues and lack of transportation to name a few), but having a criminal record is one of the most significant.

    Criminal background checks are a standard part of most hiring processes. Even if you’re not required to notify an employer during the application and interview stages, chances are high that a background check will take place if you’re offered employment. The best thing you can do is be prepared to discuss your criminal history and familiarize yourself with the state laws associated with hiring persons with criminal records. Here are some universal best practices about how to best communicate your criminal history.

    1. Know your criminal history. You can access records for federal offenses directly from www.fbi.gov. To access state-specific records, visit the government website for your state from this list. You can also visit www.lawhelp.org to access state-specific information on laws and services like expunction or sealing criminal records.
    2. Answer the question asked. Questions regarding your criminal background may vary by state and employer. Be sure to answer the question asked specifically—for example, some applications may only ask for information pertaining to “convictions” or within a specific timeframe, such as the past seven years. In those cases, you wouldn’t be required to mention an arrest that didn’t lead to a conviction or any offenses that took place more than seven years ago.
    3. Be honest. The last thing you want to do is lie about your criminal record; if found out, you run the risk of being refused employment or being terminated once the employer knows the truth.
    4. Focus on the positive. Since your conviction, you’ve been actively changing your life. Highlight the forward strides you’ve made educationally, professionally and personally. The interview is a great time to promote the positives in your life.
    5. Seek advice from others. You are not the first or the last person in this position. Try to identify professional services geared to helping persons with criminal records, such as your local Goodwill. Also reach out to others who have successfully re-entered society and the workplace and ask them what steps they took to get back on track.

    On top of tips that you can use to build your career, GoodProspects includes a community of job seekers and career advancers with criminal backgrounds who can give you specific advice.

    Dennis Nelson
    Dennis Nelson joined Goodwill Industries International as a Career Navigation Program Specialist in June 2014. He supports the GoodProspects® for Credentials to Careers initiative, which is dedicated to supporting members that are engaged in training, credentialing and employment services for nontraditional students. Dennis is considered an advocate for social change and has devoted his career to serving people through civic engagement, career advancement, and professional development.
    Read More Posts By This Author

    Your comment will be held for moderation until approved. For questions about Goodwill programs and services, please use our locator and contact your nearest Goodwill headquarters.

    Join us on
    Social Media
    For immediate help finding a job, call:
    Contact Us