By Kristen Wakulchuk


For a job seeker with a criminal background of any kind, being asked by a prospective employer to describe their record may be their worst nightmare come to life. It’s stressful enough to be on an interview, to begin with, without the worst-case scenario happening.

But, if you felt strongly that a candidate’s criminal history was a deciding factor in whether you’d hire them, you probably wouldn’t have taken the process this far. Or, maybe you’re not sure about that just yet. Either way, you want to put your potential new hire at ease and make them feel secure in your knowing of this information. Here are three tips to help make that happen:


Follow the same initial steps as you would with any other applicant.

Welcome them warmly and professionally, introduce them to everyone they’ll be speaking with if it’s a panel interview, and offer them water or a soft drink, as well as a comfortable seat. Lead with an icebreaker, then some softball questions, and ease into the harder topics that will eventually be put on the table.


Ask them to share more information only AFTER a conditional offer has been made.

Once you have considered all of the applicant’s capabilities and offered them a position, then you can begin to consider criminal history. But, keep in mind that certain states and jurisdictions may dictate how and when you can do this as well as what type of information you might be able to consider. When you get to the topic of their offense, ask your candidate to share some context around what happened. Staying within fair hiring guidelines, this may include asking how long ago it occurred, what they’ve done since, and evidence of their rehabilitation. Document what you hear as further assurance that you’ve met EEOC requirements, as well as local or state hiring laws.


Treat them with respect.

A considered approach to candidates with criminal records lets you keep good talent in your hiring pool and treat all of them – even those you may ultimately reject – with respect in accordance with the law.

As reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 30 percent of people have a criminal history on file, so it’s best to treat candidates with equal respect throughout the hiring process.


Looking for More Information?

For additional guidance and resources when it comes to candidate screening, background and criminal checks – and how to handle related employment situations – contact Chane Solutions today. We offer decades of knowledge ranging from ground-level research to executive leadership involvement, and we can customize the solutions your business needs to succeed.





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