• Christopher Watts

The Misconception of an "Ex-offender friendly" Job.

Tips in finding a job with a criminal conviction.

I am contacted daily by career seekers with questions that include "Is the company ex-offender friendly?", "Where are the jobs for felons?", and "Does this company hire candidates who possess a criminal conviction?"

First, I must share that there is no such thing as "ex-offender friendly". "Ex-offender friendly" is a misconception. Have you ever seen a job announcement or a company declaration that candidates who possess a criminal record is preferred or required?

Positions with a functional specialty in construction, maintenance and manufacturing (to name a few) have been labeled "ex-offender friendly" but once again the blanket statement is a misconception.

Career seekers who possess a criminal conviction should apply to all opportunities of interest if the minimum qualifications are met. Workforces at most if not all organizations include candidates who possess and do not possess a criminal record. The employed with a criminal record work at the same entities and in the same roles as the employed without a criminal record.

Please be aware that a pre-employment background check may include all of the following: employment verification, education verification, drug screen, physical, credit check, criminal records check, references check, motor vehicle report check and social media/internet check. I want to reiterate that a pre-employment background check consists of more than looking for the existence of a criminal record (or negative item on a credit report).

My advice is to research "approximate cause", "mitigating circumstances", "adverse action letter", and "EEOC guidelines to candidates who possess a criminal record" as well as be aware of how the Fair Debt Reporting Practices Act is applied in your area.

Please maintain a cool temperament and remain focused and objective. Possession of a criminal conviction can be an obstacle but it is far from the end all. I have rendered career guidance and employment support to clients with single to multiple, non-violent to violent rap sheets who with conviction and perseverance have landed roles including Security Officer (obtained PERC), Machine Operator, Administrative Assistant, Sales Associate, Customer Service Manger and Store Manager.

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