An Honest Conversation About Background Checks
Sometimes, in life, who we are and who we’re growing to be look nothing like who we’ve been. Unfortunately, even if your current life looks nothing like your past, that past can come up at different points as you go through school, apply for jobs, and seek to advance your career. Let’s get some honest advice from hiring experts about how background checks can affect your hiring process. 

What if I have charges on my record?

Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, shares, “Typically, charges won't impact a hiring decision unless there has been a conviction. Even then, the nature of the conviction has to be related to the responsibilities of the job. For example, if you were applying for a position that required a lot of driving of company vehicles, a conviction related to a driving charge might be something that would be reviewed very carefully by an organization's legal/HR team. Even so, it would be hard to change a hiring decision if you could prove that conviction would not limit your ability to perform the job.” More from Mike

It’s important to know how things look on your record and to verify that it’s presented accurately. Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., says, “I would recommend requesting a copy of your background check so that you can see exactly how any charges or convictions have been entered into the official record. If there are inaccuracies, you can work to get them corrected. If there are things that might prove concerning to a potential employer, you can prepare to speak about those circumstances.” More from Stephanie

When should I bring up my record?

Sometimes candidates don’t disclose previous charges or convictions because they don’t want them to pose a barrier to a hiring offer. This gets problematic if those charges later show up on a background check. Mandy, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, explains, “Having previous charges on your record doesn’t have to affect a hiring decision. A potential employer will carefully consider the severity of the charges and how they could affect the job position directly. The severity depends also if it's a misdemeanor or a felony and if the issue was repetitive. When you are filling out the application or if you're asked if you have any misdemeanors or felonies be honest because they may show up on your background check. If you don't disclose it and it shows up on your record then your offer could be rescinded based on falsification.” More from Mandy

Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., echoes Mandy’s advice saying, “If there is a minor offense on your record, it shouldn’t prevent you from obtaining a position if you’re honest about it. Don’t try to conceal anything that will come out later in a background check. Failing to disclose a charge on your record will create bigger issues. The most important thing is to demonstrate that the offense was a youthful indiscretion that you have learned from and that you have matured. Now you are focused on making a difference for this company. In most cases, companies will appreciate the honesty and if you are the most qualified person for the job, give you the opportunity to prove yourself.”  More from Steve
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