Tips on Addressing Your Criminal History in a Job Interview

It's a common struggle for job seekers with a criminal background to apply for a job. It's uncomfortable when a prospective employer asks them to say something about their previous records. According to a survey conducted by the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), having a criminal record affects how most employers decide to hire from their applicants. With such survey results, how can an ex-felon get a job?


Some studies on HR professionals do not agree that a person's criminal record is a deciding factor in job hiring. In fact, many companies have already hired individuals with a criminal background. However, if you're an applicant with a criminal history, you may have to discuss or explain it during job interviews.


Yes, questions related to your past legal issues may be uncomfortable to discuss; however, you can actually use them to show how you've changed and that you are looking for an opportunity to become a better person. You can also share your competencies, skills, and talents with potential employers. Let them know how you can contribute to them and become an asset to the company.


Tips on How to Handle Job Interviews Concerning Your Criminal History


The following are some tips you should consider so that your criminal record will not negatively impact your job candidacy:


Evaluate your rap sheet


What is a rap sheet, by the way? A rap sheet refers to a legal document that records an individual's criminal history. "RAP" means Record of Arrests and Prosecutions. Experts recommend reviewing your rap sheet to learn if some of your convictions have been sealed already. For instance, if you are convicted for a particular offense, and its record has been sealed already, you will not need to disclose that matter during an interview.


Also, not all employers are going to be interested in your past. Searching for the applicant's misdemeanor may not always be necessary.


Each state government requires a rap sheet provider. If you notice any error on yours, it is suggested to get in touch with the Legal Action Center. LGA is a nonprofit law and policy organization that aids people with criminal backgrounds in fighting discrimination.


Learn to discuss your record properly


You may hope that your past may not be a topic during an interview. In some states, it is prohibited for employers to inquire about the criminal history of a candidate. However, an employer will find it out eventually.


Experts advise not to try to hide anything or disregard a serious crime. Instead, you need to be prepared to address your past in a job interview. Be honest and avoid making excuses. Tell your story about your past, but make sure to tell as well how you've persevered to move forward. Show that you're ready to leave that part of your life behind and that you are willing to make a brand-new start.


An expert's tip is to limit your explanation to less than two minutes. You can memorize the parts where there are legal terms that should be clarified. Instead of waiting for the interviewer's reaction, you can move on by telling how you can create positive contributions to the company.




When it comes to career opportunities, everyone should be given an equal chance to impart their skills and talents. Ex-felons should also have the opportunity to make a living and live a normal life in society. You also need to show your own transformation and be positive in building your skills and sharing them with a company that will hire you.


Fallen Valor believes that everyone always deserves a second chance, especially if it's for the betterment. We strive to help in providing career opportunities for ex-felons. Do not lose hope because you can still get a job despite your criminal record. Learn more about us today!

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