Do Employers Run Background Checks Before an Interview?

Felons often have difficulty finding gainful employment, housing, and society serving positions. The idea of background checks may make you think you’ll never move past your mistakes.

Getting a great job means proving that you are the best candidate for the position. You have experience and you want to show up to work every day.

What happens when you find the perfect job listing and you want to apply? You open the application and the hiring manager wants to know about your criminal past?

It is not uncommon for employers to want to know who they’re hiring. Nearly half of employers will ask about your criminal history before hiring you. Most employers will use a background check before they hire you (93 percent of employers do this).

Disclosing your conviction too early will hurt your chances of getting the job. This may happen after you interview, but it often happens before you have that chance.

Impact of Asking About A Criminal Background Check

Many employers feel that the best candidate for the job is not only skilled but also honest and reliable. Unfortunately, a criminal background may reflect the opposite of that.

When you apply for a job, you want to show the best part of yourself. This means that you are responsible and talented. If your employer sees your conviction before getting to know you, they may not see how valuable you are.

Assume your felony conviction was from several years ago. You served your time, got an education, and now you’re an upstanding, skilled applicant. Losing a job because of past mistakes will only hurt your success.

Many employers are happy to hire anyone who is a right fit regardless of their past. Getting past the disclosure of that past is another matter.

Ban the Box

When you fill out a job application the employer will want to know who you are and what you have to offer their company. In some cases, you may see checkboxes.

These checkboxes may ask you to mark if you’ve ever had a Felony Conviction. Using the box system means your employer will judge you based on a yes or no answer, not your circumstances.

There will be no time to explain that you had a drug possession charge at the age of 18. Or you got in a fistfight trying to defend another person.

The employer will only see that you have broken the law. This may mean that you don’t even get the chance to interview or become a valuable employee.

The “Ban the Box Movement is allowing felons to get a job for what they can do, not what they’ve done. The movement has been successful in 45 cities and counties. This means more felons are getting the chance to get great jobs.

The movement encourages employers to hire the right person for the job. This is in spite of your convictions.

Not only does the checkbox hurt you, but it also denies the company a chance to have a great employee. Suppose you’ve been an office manager for 10 years before your conviction. You have a lot of experience and talent that will help your employer.

After the interview, the employer may ask for a background check. Disclosing criminal work history is a part of the process in many hiring situations.

Making a great impression in your interview means the person hiring you will see your value. Your criminal past won’t be the only thing your employer knows about you as with the box method.

An employer interested in hiring you will try different options to get you in. They may ask for records that you’ve completed your sentence. If your offense was drug-related, they may ask for a certificate of rehabilitation.

What Can You Do?

Most companies do use background checks before hiring. Many states are changing it so that you do not have to admit your crimes upfront. These laws will mean you get to apply before a background check. This is an opportunity to make an impression before disclosing your criminal past.

It is important to know your state’s policies when applying for a job. Making yourself the best candidate regardless of your crime is possible.

Assuming you do find yourself having to disclose your conviction, do it honestly. Your future employer should see your moral capacity beforehand.

It is also a good idea to do a background check. Want to know what your employer will see? Get a copy for yourself. This may also help you to combat any errors that are on your report before applying.

You Can Land the Job

Hiring managers and employers are becoming accepting people with criminal backgrounds. Once you’ve gathered the information that is on your credit report it is time to apply for the job!

Create a detailed list of your strengths. Cover letters can be a valuable asset to you because they allow you to introduce yourself. Take any opportunity to familiarize yourself with your employer before meeting in person.

Once you’ve won over your employer, you may want to think about how your crime relates to your intended work. A conviction for narcotics possession may affect your ability to work in a pharmacy.

What were the circumstances of your offense and how long ago was it? These are factors that say who you are now. Are you able to do your job? If so, you should get the opportunity to do so.

Repetitive offenses will also be considered. It is far easier for you to overcome a felony conviction from eight years ago than 10 felony convictions. The length of time that you’ve been good shows that you are reliable.


When applying for jobs with a felony conviction, you will have to prove you’re going to be great in your role. Timing is crucial to your ability to do this.

If an employer knows about your conviction before getting to know you, they may not hire you. The “Ban the Box” Movement is helping employers understand how to get great employees. Even if you have a criminal conviction, this movement gives you a chance.

A felony conviction can make job hunting a more daunting task. Knowing what your conviction says about you to an employer is an important part of landing the job. Knowing your rights and having a great resume will help you to overcome a background check.

Even though you may have a conviction, it is important to pursue your career interests. Getting a stable job will be a vital asset to your success.

With the right job, you can have reliable transportation and a nice home. You will need to make great strides to get there. But isn’t it worth it to get your life back?



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