How Can a Criminal Record Affect Your Ability to Get a Job?
If you have a criminal record, it may be harder for you to find a job. Even though you may have completed your sentence and paid your debts, it is still possible for a potential employer to learn about your checkered past.
It is important that you understand what information employers can find out and how you can enhance your chances of getting the job you want.
What Could a Potential Employer Find Out About Me?
Employers conduct background checks to reduce liability risks and protect their employees and the company’s reputation. These background checks examine what an applicant claims on their resume or application and their educational background, employment record, and criminal history.
However, background checks must comply with federal and state laws governing the process.
Pre-Employment Background Checks
Arizona has added another measure of security for potential hires. The state requires all employers to obtain written consent from applicants that acknowledges they are subject to a background check.
However, in 2019, Arizona implemented the “Ban the Box” law which prohibits employers from asking applicants about criminal history on a job application or in an official interview. This gives those with a criminal history a better chance of finding a job.
What to Know About Expunged Misdemeanors
In addition to the “Ban the Box” law, Arizona also allows certain criminal records to be expunged. You have the right to go before a state judge to have your convictions sealed from public record. Misdemeanors may not be accessed in a criminal background check if your criminal records have been expunged.
What This Means When Searching for Work
While the “Ban the Box” law keeps some state agencies from asking about your criminal history on a job application, there are some things you should know. State and federal laws may prohibit you from being hired due to prior criminal conduct, depending on the conviction.
Additionally, certain state agencies may only ask about your criminal history after they have conducted a job interview. This is not applicable to the private sector.
Essentially, it is required that employers get your written consent to run a background check. You have the right to review the information obtained in this check and dispute anything that is not accurate. If you think you may not be given fair consideration or a procedure wasn’t conducted fairly, you should consult an attorney.
What If I Still Can’t Find a Good Job in Arizona?
While those with misdemeanors struggle a little less, most people who have been convicted of a felony find it a challenge to find work even with the updated Arizona laws. When you are released on parole, you are required to find a job to meet the conditions of your parole.
Unfortunately, most places that are willing to hire someone with a felony conviction who is out on parole are on the lower-paying end of the spectrum. This means you’d barely earn enough to make ends meet. You’ll likely end up on public assistance, and it may be tempting to commit another crime to get what you need. In fact, it’s often the reason that ex-convicts recidivate. Some do it so that they have regular meals a day and a place to sleep at night.
However, there is still hope of finding a good job even with a criminal record.
How to Maximize Your Chance of Getting a Job Even with a Criminal Record
According to the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, it may be more challenging for you to find gainful employment with a criminal record though it will not be impossible. There are strategies to enhance your chances of success. You can discuss them with your lawyer to find the best way to get a job after a conviction.
The first thing to do is be truthful when you fill out your job application. Honesty shows that you are not trying to hide anything and are trying to move forward in your life by making a positive change. You should also provide excellent references from your personal and professional contacts who do not have criminal records.
Believe it or not, many employers are willing to give those with a criminal past a chance. You may be turned down several times before finding an employer who will not hold your past against you. It’s tempting to withhold this information, but lying about it is a surefire way to ruin your chances of getting the job.
Once you’ve secured an interview, here are some tips to help you get the job:
If you are going to an interview at an office job, make sure to dress formally. For a construction job, there’s no need to dress in formal clothing, but you should show up in clean, well-pressed clothing. Khakis and a wrinkle-free button-down shirt would be a smart choice.
Know About the Company
Whether you have a criminal history or not, knowing about your employer before going into the interview makes you stand out as a viable candidate. Do your research to know what the company does, what sets it apart from the competition, and what your job will entail.
Prepare Smart Questions
Potential employers tend to favor candidates who ask questions about the company.
When conducting your research, you should be able to think of questions to ask that will show your interest in the company and reveal your eagerness to work there.
Be Honest If Asked About Your Criminal Past
While employers have rules to follow, they may have some questions pertaining to your past. Arizona has been making it easier for those with a criminal history to find work. Be truthful about your history and show remorse for your past actions. It will bode well for you to show accountability, making you a great candidate.