EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND CHECKS
Hiring Candidates with Criminal Records:
The Major Considerations
Know who you are hiring.
A background check is not always meant to be the only determining factor to consider. Primarily, it provides some essential information to make an informed hiring decision.
One in four U.S. adults has an arrest or conviction record that will be detected on a professional criminal record background check for many years after the incident(s).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidelines in April of 2012 that recommended employers limit their use of arrest and conviction records in hiring, promotions and other employment decisions because it could be deemed discriminatory.
Federal Bureau Of Justice Statistics: Click Here
Ban The Box Laws
In an effort to remedy this perceived discrimination these laws are meant to stop businesses from automatically disqualifying candidates who have criminal records.
According to a study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). over 100 states, cities and counties have enacted legislation that removed questions concerning arrest and conviction history from job applications.
Ban The Box laws postpone addressing the questions about criminal records to later in the hiring process, after a conditional job offer has been made.
While these changes may have unintended consequences (See our page on “Ban The Box“ laws.) they may not necessarily always put businesses at risk.
In fact, most businesses already took these factors into consideration as part of the hiring process. Many times it was more a question as to whether or not the applicant had been truthful on the application by providing a complete disclosure up front.
1. The nature of the criminal offense
Some types of criminals show a propensity to repeat their criminal activity. Some crimes, such as certain sex offenses may indicate a potential risk that most businesses can’t afford to take.
On the other hand, a singular charge of disorderly conduct may not be viewed as disqualifying an applicant for a job.
2. The amount of time that has gone by since the conviction
How long ago did the offense occur?
Often people do indeed learn from their mistakes and an applicant that has not had contact with law enforcement for many years is not likely to commit another offense.
See our web page on How long after an arrest is it safe to hire someone with a criminal record.
3. Repeat offenders
Repeat offenders are statistically more likely to re-offend. A long criminal history typically shows a willingness to continue criminal activity.
4. Details of the crime.
The nature, severity and the applicant’s level of participation in the criminal activity. Was he/she the planner, The major or only participant?
5. Give the applicant an opportunity to explain
Obviously, the applicant will likely provide a sanitized version of their role in the events. Nonetheless, some criminal charges sound much worse than they are. See our page on some criminal charges are not as bad as they seem. Click Here
5. Relationship of the crime to the job
For example, if you’re hiring an manufacturing or clerical employee and the candidate was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) 4 years ago, this will not likely affect how well they do their job.
Conversely, if you’re hiring an accounting employee and your candidate was recently convicted of credit card fraud you will want to consider that fact.