For Workers with a Conviction, Employment Can Be Hard to Find

While unemployment may currently be at an all-time low in the United States, there is one group of people who continually finds it difficult to gain employment: people with criminal records.

A team of researchers from Arizona State University conducted a three-year study on the impact of having a criminal record on employment-related outcomes, varying by race and gender. In the study, researchers paired candidates according to their demographics (white men, African American women, etc.). Each pair included one person with a criminal record and one without. The pairs sent applications for the same jobs, and all skills and qualifications on résumés were matched.

Researchers found that results were heavily skewed by race. Both black and Hispanic men were less likely to receive a positive response from employers—including a callback or email for an interview or a job offer—compared with white men. In fact, white men with a criminal record had more positive responses than black men with no criminal record. When the results were examined by gender, it was found that men with criminal records were more likely than women with criminal records to receive a negative response from employers.

Among the most stigmatized job applicants—including welfare recipients, the short-term unemployed, individuals with only short-term and part-time work histories—applicants with criminal histories were the least likely to be hired. As approximately 30 percent of American adults have some type of criminal conviction, it’s a troubling problem.

“Ban the Box” Legislation

Statistics like these have led many states and municipalities to implement so-called “ban the box” legislation, which requires employers to consider individuals’ applications before they check criminal records in an attempt to give candidates with criminal records a fairer shot at employment.

Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from asking applicants about criminal history on an initial job application. However, some go further, requiring employers to wait until after they have conducted an interview or made a conditional offer of employment before asking about criminal history.

Many companies check candidates’ criminal records before they consider a hire. But since 13 states and many municipalities now have rules in place that prevents a criminal background check too early, it’s important that employers stay abreast of the rules.

Ensure You’re Doing Background Checks Properly

Criminal history background checks are an integral part of the hiring process and help protect companies and their employees. It’s essential, however, that employers ensure they’re following all the rules, including fair employment mandates.

With the services of a professional pre-employment background screening company like DataCheck, you can protect your workers and your business and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits while still complying with “ban the box” laws. 

Can an Active Warrant Keep You from Getting a Job?

If you have an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor or felony, that means you could be arrested for the crime at any time. A warrant can complicate your life in countless ways. If you are searching for a job, it may or may not cause an employer to decide not to hire you.

How an Employer Might Look at an Outstanding Warrant

Many, but not all, employers conduct pre-employment background checks. If an employer conducts a thorough background check, a warrant will most likely come to light. Depending on the nature of the charged offense, the type of job you applied for, the company’s policy, and the supervisor’s discretion, you may or may not be hired.

For many employers, the type of crime you are charged with will be key to the decision on whether to offer you a job. If the job would require driving and you have an outstanding warrant for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an employer would almost certainly not hire you. If a supervisor knew about the warrant and offered you the job, and then you caused an accident that damaged one or more vehicles or injured other people, the company could face a wrongful hiring lawsuit.

If you applied for a job working with vulnerable populations, such as children, senior citizens, or disabled individuals, and you have an outstanding warrant for assault or domestic violence, an employer most likely wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring you. The company’s or organization’s primary concern would be the safety of the people in their care. If you were hired and abused someone on the job, the employer could be sued.

If you have an outstanding warrant for a minor crime, such as petty theft, and the job you are seeking would not give you access to money or credit cards, an employer might be willing to give you a chance. A supervisor might take the view that you are innocent until proven guilty or might think that you would be unable to commit such a crime in the position you applied for and would not pose a risk to the company.

How to Handle a Warrant

If you have an active warrant out for your arrest, hire a lawyer and post bail if required. When you fill out a job application or go for an interview, answer all questions honestly. An employer may be willing to hire you with an outstanding warrant, but you will automatically be rejected for a job if you get caught in a lie.

Check Applicants’ Backgrounds

If you are an employer, you need to make informed decisions to protect the safety and interests of your business and customers. Depending on the nature of the alleged crime, a warrant may or may not be a reason not to hire a job applicant.

DataCheck can conduct thorough background checks to provide you with all the relevant facts you need to make hiring decisions with confidence. Contact us today to learn more.

What Do Employers Check for on Your Social Media?

When sifting through applications and deciding which people to interview, most employers look at applicants’ social media profiles. It’s become a key element in our everyday lives today. What they find can work for or against a candidate.

Here are some things to think about when it comes to employer social media checks.

How Social Media Can Help You Get the Job

Many employers will look for applicants with a professional online presence, including information about their education and current and past employment that supports statements made in their resume.

Other things they may confirm on social sites is if you belong to a professional association, if you have published articles that are relevant to the position for which you applied, or if you have been praised or quoted by others. Those things could work in your favor. A prospective employer may also use search engines to look for articles about you and your accomplishments, references to volunteer work, and other indications of good character.

How Social Media Can Work Against You

Employers also check social media for any reason not to hire a candidate. Pictures or videos behaving in an immature, reckless or offensive way can work against an employee. Limit use of profanity or discriminatory language, or any comments referring to these types of behavior or to any type of criminal activity as they can get your application rejected. Any comments that indicate that the information included in your resume is false or misleading can also ruin your chance of securing a job.

Using social to reveal confidential information about a current or past employer could also be grounds for rejection of your candidacy.

Things that seem funny or trivial to you could even make an employer question your professionalism. For example, a silly, offensive, or immature screen name could cause an employer to think twice. A large number of posts during normal business hours could make a hiring manager conclude that you don’t take your current job seriously and would not be a reliable employee. Tread carefully.

How to Use Social Media

With all of these reasons that social media could cause you to miss out on a job opportunity, you might be tempted to delete your profiles altogether, but you shouldn’t. Many employers are reluctant to hire someone who isn’t active online at all.

Use your social media accounts to your advantage. Cultivate a professional image by including information about your work, accomplishments, and goals. Before you post any comments, pictures, or videos, ask yourself what a prospective employer might think. If you would be embarrassed to have your parents see something, it probably wouldn’t sit well with a hiring manager either.

Importance of Background Checks

In a competitive labor market, employers need to carefully screen candidates. In addition to checking social media, conducting thorough background checks can help companies identify applicants with criminal records and verify that all information included in a candidate’s resume is accurate.

If you are interested in hiring new employees and want to be assured you’re making a solid choice in an employee, contact DataCheck today. We can help you make informed decisions you’re confident in.

Do Small Businesses Need Employee Background Checks?

Small businesses are thriving in today’s economy and arguably are the lifeblood of many industries. As competition in the workforce heats up, it’s important for small business owners to protect their establishments from risk and choose candidates who fit the unique culture of their typically intimate and diverse workplaces.

While the economy and job market are up and candidates are flooding their resumes out, it’s become an important focus for CEOs at companies of all sizes to locate quality employees that add value to the company and are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Employee background checks are actually a very critical step for small businesses. These checks won’t just notify you if the potential candidate has anything questionable in their past, but can also help you to understand the full picture of whether or not they’ll fit in with the rest of the company and daily requirements.

In addition, background investigations, or steps to verify an applicant’s education, references and understand their soft skills should all be taken.

Protecting your investment in employees and focusing on ROI are essential to the hiring process. Employees that don’t end up working out might be easier to come and go from a larger corporation, but for small businesses, the paperwork and costs associated with off-and on-boarding people can add up to be significant costs.

Handling the background check needs requires time and focus most small business owners also don’t have to dedicate sufficiently to the process. Hiring an established and professional service provider to assist with background screening provides peace of mind so you can make hiring choices with confidence.

Choose DataCheck to run a thorough background check, criminal record report, social security number verification report, driving record check, and a nationwide sex offender registry search on any applicant before they become a member of your team.

Save time and money, avoid negligent hiring lawsuits and provide a safer work environment.

Get in touch today!

Expanding the Labor Pool by Considering Rehabilitated Offenders

It’s an economic cycle: when labor is plentiful, employers can afford to be choosy about who they hire. When labor pools shrink, employers often need to remove some of their restrictions and consider hiring people with less formal education or fewer years of work experience. One place employers can look for workers to fill labor shortages includes a pool of applicants they might be accustomed to rejecting: ex-offenders.

Thinking Differently About Hiring Ex-Offenders

It’s been conventional wisdom for years that former offenders are riskier to hire: they may present a threat to other workers or steal money or stock from a business, so the thinking goes. But a new study has shown this may not be true, and that there may be benefits to hiring ex-offenders. The real question for employers willing to take the chance is how to evaluate and select these candidates, according to EHS Today, which highlights research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) which a demonstrated consistent work history is a better marker of a good worker than a clean record.

“It’s time to put an end to the stigma that holds back inclusive hiring and retire outdated employment practices,” said SHRM’s president Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “With unemployment falling below four percent, employers must think differently about both jobs and the people who can fill them. A criminal record should never be viewed as an automatic disqualification for employment.”

In addition to a consistent work history, employers should look for references, job training, and a certification of rehabilitation. They should also be sure to conduct a thorough background check to validate the truth of claims on an application. It is, however, important to do so within the law. California already has restrictions on how criminal background check information may be used.

FIRST STEP Act

Another factor that may make relaxing rules on hiring ex-offenders more appealing is criminal reform legislation at the federal level in the form of the FIRST STEP Act, which cleared the House in May. Among other things, the legislation would provide $250 million over five years for new inmate education and rehabilitation programs, which include job training.

Call the Professionals

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you safely expand your pool of job applicants while continuing to protect your business and your existing employees. As a full-service background investigation company, we specialize in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.