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Job Searching with a Criminal Record: What You Should Know

August 9th, 2013

The majority of companies hiring today will conduct a background check on candidates after a job offer has been extended. Although background checks are nothing out of the ordinary, they can become an uphill battle for job seekers with a criminal record. Although employers cannot discriminate against candidates upon learning of their criminal record, they can prohibit these candidates from working in certain positions or industries.

While this may sound bleak, knowing that a background check is likely after receipt of an employment offer is great news for job seekers with a criminal record because it provides an opportunity to prove their true worth to hiring managers. If you have a criminal record and are currently seeking employment, consider the following methods to show potential employers that you are the right candidate for the job, record or not:

  • Be honest. While this is standard advice for all job seekers, it is especially imperative for job seekers with a criminal record. Answer all questions truthfully and do not try to hide your record if you are asked. It is much worse to have your record exposed during a background check than it is to be transparent about it during the hiring process.
  • Understand your conviction. It is extremely important to know exactly what you have been convicted of and whether or not the record was expunged. Many people are not fully aware of their actual charges and that can make all the difference. If you are unable to accurately answer questions about your conviction during an interview, it can give hiring managers the very wrong impression.
  • Research re-entry programs. Several programs are available to help job seekers with a criminal record re-enter society and secure employment. These programs often provide education, training, mentoring, and support to help expedite the time it takes job seekers with criminal records to get back in the workforce.
  • Volunteer. One of the best methods for shedding the stigma associated with a criminal record is volunteering in the community. On top of the experience that goes along with volunteering, this is an excellent way to gain solid, useable references.

Job seeking with a criminal record can throw a few bumps in the road to getting hired, but it is by no means a dead end in your search. Being honest, knowledgeable, and open with your hiring manager are some of the best methods for letting your true skills shine through to get you back in the workforce as smoothly as possible. If you are having difficulty in your Oklahoma City job search and are in need of job placement assistance, contact the Oklahoma staffing specialists at 1st Staffing Group today!

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