Telling a potential employer about a criminal past

A person newly out of jail or prison or who has recently completed a probation period may eagerly want to get a fresh start on life and move forward in a positive way. Getting a job is often an essential part of making this happen. While a person may fear that a criminal past may prevent her or him from getting a job, that does not need to be the case.

Knowing when and how to discuss a criminal past with a potential employer can go a long way toward a person landing a good job.

Background check realities

Monster.com does acknowledge that a large percentage of companies today require job candidates to pass background checks prior to being hired. However, more and more hiring managers and human resource professionals openly acknowledge their belief that people with criminal pasts may offer equal value to a company as might candidates without criminal histories.

Timing matters

Glassdoor indicates that the initial application stage may not be the time for a job seeker to share a criminal background with a potential employer. By waiting, the person allows time for the hiring manager to learn about his or her skills and experience relevant to the job.

Telling a hiring manager about a criminal conviction before a background check, however, may be important.

Focus on the future

Conversations about a person’s criminal history should not focus on the event itself but rather on what the person learned from the experience and how she or he may have changed for the better. The goal of the discussion should be to make the employer feel confident in hiring the person.

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