When an ex-offender returns home, one of the first steps to take is to find a job. A job is an important part of reentering society. It allows an offender to pay for housing and healthcare. It helps to keep offenders away from crime and further jail time.
It can be hard to find a job as an ex-offender. Many jobs run background checks. They may be unwilling to hire employees with a criminal history. An ex-offender may wonder if hotels run background checks on their applicants. Hotels may run background checks in some cases.
What Is a Background Check?
A background check is a report that offers information about someone’s history. This may include criminal history and other public records. It may include credit and financial history.
Some employers use background checks to help determine whether someone is a good fit for the job. An employer must ask for your permission before running a background check. It’s generally a good idea to give permission although you are not required to. If you don’t give permission, an employer may choose not to accept your application.
Sometimes an employer rejects the application based on the background check. If they do so, law requires them to tell you. This gives you an opportunity to review the background check for errors. You can request to argue any inaccuracies.
Do Hotels Run Background Checks?
There is no law that requires hotels to run background checks on job applicants. Many hotels will only run background checks for management positions. Hotel employees who work part-time, seasonally, or on minimum wage are unlikely to receive background checks. This is because it costs money to run a background check and the hotel may not feel it is worth the investment.
Current laws about background checks are changing. Some hotels are starting to consider doing background checks for all job applicants. This is because some hotels face lawsuits due to employee criminal behavior. In the future more hotels may request background checks for all job applicants.
Another recent change with background checks is the Fair Chance Act. The Fair Chance Act is encouraging companies to “ban the box”. Companies who “ban the box” don’t ask questions about criminal background on applications. They consider job applicants’ skills and strengths before doing a background check.
Hotel Job Options
An ex-offender may be interested in applying for a hotel job. Hotels have many job positions that may be an option for ex-offenders. Hotels are less likely to hire an ex-offender in positions that involve handling sensitive information.
Management positions may be hard to get into as they involve more education. These positions are more likely to need a background check. Positions that are less likely to need a background check are part-time, seasonal, or minimum wage jobs.
Even if hotels begin running background checks for these positions, they may be more willing to consider hiring an ex-offender. Ex-offenders with a history of violence or sexual assault may have a hard time getting a hotel job.
Some possible hotel jobs for ex-offenders are listed below. Required skills, education, and average yearly salary are listed as reported by Monster.com.
Skills: Landscaping, keeping grounds free of trash and vandalism.
Education: On-the-job training or certificate. License may be required to use some pesticides and fertilizers.
Yearly salary: $29k
Skills: Cleaning bathroom, bedding, and towels.
Education: On-the-job training.
Yearly salary: $22k
Skills: Cooking and food prep.
Education: Culinary school or on-the-job training.
Yearly salary: $25k
Skills: Plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning, and heating systems knowledge.
Education: high-school diploma / GED.
Yearly salary: $38k
Skills: Greeting guests as they arrive, carrying luggage.
Education: high-school diploma / GED.
Yearly salary: $23k
Hotel Interview Questions
One of the most important factors on whether you will get hired by a hotel is the interview. Below are some tips to prepare to answer a few common interview questions.
Can you tell me about yourself?
This question is an opportunity to talk about how you are a good fit for the position. Think about what skills and strengths you have that might be useful to the hotel. Be prepared to share examples of your skills.
Why are you interested in this position?
This question allows you to share your enthusiasm about working for the hotel. Prepare for this question by learning about the hotel and job position. Be ready to share details about why you feel the job is a good fit for you and your goals.
What is your greatest weakness?
The way to answer this question is to mention a weakness and explain how you make it into a strength. Someone who is a compulsive cleaner might mention this as a weakness. Then place emphasis on how it will be helpful to the housecleaning staff!
What is your greatest strength?
The key to answering this question is to stay honest and relevant. Focus on real skills that you can back up with examples. Stick to skills that are useful to the position you are applying to.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
An interviewer’s goal here is to see whether they can count on you for job stability. Put some thought into what your long-term goals are. Plan to discuss how that relates to the position you are applying for.
Keep in mind your body language during an interview can be as important as your words. It’s likely that you will be nervous when going into an interview. When someone is nervous their body language can be uninviting. Nervous body language can look like a lack of confidence, disinterest, or dishonesty. Make sure to maintain eye contact and sit up straight. Keep a relaxed and positive facial expression. This will show the interviewer that you are confident in your answers. It will also show you are enthusiastic about the position.
Preparing for a Background Check
Not all hotels run background checks on all employees. Still, it is best to be ready for a background check. Some hotels may ask whether you have a criminal history right on the application form. Others may wait until further along in the application process to request a background check. The best way to prepare for a background check is to know what is on your report. Be ready to answer questions about your criminal history during the interview.
Know what’s on your report
To prepare for a background check, it’s helpful to know what’s on your report. This way you can know what information the hotel will see. There are a lot of online services that provide background checks. GoodHire is an FCRA-compliant organization that offers background checks. The fee ranges from $20-60 depending on what information you choose to include.
Answer questions about your background
If an interviewer asks about your criminal background, it is important to give honest answers. Employers are looking for trustworthy employees. Giving an honest answer about your history will help build trust. The interview is your opportunity to expand upon your experiences in person. Show the employer that you have learned from your mistakes. The key is to acknowledge the past, and then focus on your strengths.
Mouly Aloumouati of VASAVOR (Virginia’s Serious and Violent Offender Reentry) suggests the following approach: “Spend 10 seconds explaining your record in an interview, then… spend 10 minutes telling the employer that you can do for him.”
The University of Colorado offers a guide on how to interview with a criminal background. They suggest using “the 3 R’s”: Responsibility, Regret, and Redemption. Let the interviewer know you understand and regret your mistakes. Then talk about how you have learned from them. Explain the efforts you made to better yourself. Share any experiences that show positive growth.
Hotels may offer jobs to ex-offenders. Each hotel has their own policy about background checks. Policies regarding background checks are changing. More hotels are choosing to run background checks for all job applicants. The Fair Chance Act is another factor. Many hotels are choosing to run background checks after a candidate has had a chance to interview. This gives them a chance to have a fair evaluation.
Hotels are less likely to run background check on part-time, minimum wage, or seasonal employees. These positions tend to be more accessible for ex-offenders. Even if the hotel runs a background check, they may be more likely to hire for these positions. One advantage of these positions is that most of them don’t require much training. Hotels are unlikely to hire ex-offenders for full-time or managerial positions that require handling sensitive information.
Ex-offenders can increase their chances by preparing to answer common interview questions. It’s wise to be ready to answer questions about a criminal record. Employers want to hear that an ex-offender takes responsibility for their mistakes and has learned from them. Body language is another factor that makes a big impression. Confident and friendly body language will show an interviewer that a job applicant is enthusiastic and competent. Following these steps will help an ex-offender get a job at a hotel.