An estimated 70 million people in the United States have a prior arrest or a criminal record. If you are one of those people with a criminal record, you may think it is virtually impossible to get a job. After all, who is going to take a chance on you? How will you ever explain your transgressions to a future employer? Even though you’ve done your time and paid for your mistakes, the job market can be a cold and unforgiving place for ex-convicts who are looking to turn their lives around. The following tips will show you how to explain an arrest record in a job interview.
According to a recent study which appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the best thing you can do is to apologize for your crime and avoid justifying it. The study evaluated the job applications of more than 500 participants who gave one of three responses to their criminal past:
- Excuse – examples include “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time” or “It wasn’t my fault”
- Justification – examples include “I was wrong, but I was trying to help a friend” or “I didn’t have any money at the time”
- Apology – examples include “I was convicted, it was wrong and I understand I did harm – it won’t ever happen again”
Making an excuse is the worst thing an ex-convict can do to try and gain the employer’s trust. Apologizing for your past helps to reduce concerns about your underlying trustworthiness.
More than 25 states and more than 150 cities and counties have begun to ban the criminal history check box on job applications. They believe that delaying this information until the interview process is critical to giving ex-convicts a better chance at employment. However, not everyone agrees and lawmakers in several states are trying to fight these ban-the-box efforts.
Even if you are lucky enough to live in a ban-the-box state and you do not have to disclose your criminal history on a job application, you will likely have to do so in an interview. When this occurs, rehearse what you are going to say and remember these tips when interviewing.
- Be as upfront and honest as you can about your past
- Discuss how you accepted your consequences
- Discuss what you’ve done to put your life back on track
- If you have completed an education degree in that time, be sure to mention this.
- Avoid giving too many details about your past.
- Whatever you do – never lie on a job application or resume. Employers will do background checks and any false information will become a serious matter
- Use every opportunity you have to discuss the future and your current activities. While your potential employer may have questions about your past, try to always tie it back to the future and emphasis your work ethic, community involvement, and future goals.
- Make good eye contact
- Sit up straight and tall
- Shake hands firmly
- Dress for success
There are situations when a criminal conviction can be expunged or sealed. To find out if you may be eligible for this, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you determine if expungment or a record sealing is even a possibility.
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime in Boulder or anywhere in the State of Colorado, it is important to fight these charges aggressively. A criminal conviction can wreck your life and your future and make it difficult to gain employment after you have served your time. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.