Having seen more than one job application that asks about whether or not you have a criminal history may cause you to question your ability to find work. It may seem as though an honest answer could immediately disqualify you from the application process.
Even though you may encounter challenges along the way, you should always answer each question honestly. However, knowing how to answer difficult questions may give you the upper hand.
By law, employers do have the right to ask about your criminal history. Using this information to discriminate against you, however, is a direct violation of the law. Most applications will contain a question asking if you have criminal charges or convictions on your record. According to UScourts.gov, rather than simply answering, “yes,” include a brief phrase that informs them of your willingness to elaborate during an interview.
Refrain from trying to defend yourself on paper which may only complicate your situation and cause confusion. Similarly, only answering, “yes,” may leave too much to the imagination and incriminate you more than necessary.
Now is the time to prepare for your job interview. You will most likely need to answer questions about your criminal history. Your preparation may help you feel more confident about your ability to answer with poise and professionalism. Rather than focus on your crimes, consider focusing on the lessons you learned as a result of your circumstances. Highlight your strengths and the value your work will bring to the company.
Contrary to what many would have you believe, finding a job with a criminal record is possible. Your decision to put your best foot forward may help you maintain the motivation to keep trying so you can secure a successful future.