Spending time in jail, serving a probation sentence and more may be some of the things a person experiences after a criminal arrest and conviction. Unfortunately, those may not be the only penalties a defendant must navigate as he or she works to rebuild a positive future.

Job searching with a criminal history may pose unique concerns for applicants, including when or how to discuss the experience with a potential employer.

Job applications and criminal activity questions

Prior to applying for a new job, a person should understand what may or may not be requested in the process. The National Employment Law Project indicates that as of 2018, at least 32 states ban the inclusion of any questions on a job application that request disclosure of a criminal history. Some individual municipalities have also enacted similar regulations.

The goal of these actions is to provide people with criminal histories the opportunity to be considered for jobs based on their work or educational experiences, ideally increasing their chances of finding good employment.

Background checks and conversations with employers

When a candidate moves far enough along in a hiring process that a potential employer wants to do a background check, it may be time for a candid conversation. Glassdoor indicates that a job applicant may wish to tell the employer about a criminal past prior to the experience being discovered in the background check report.

When disclosing a criminal past, a job applicant should highlight their growth since the event and indicate how they may have changed so as to allay any concerns the employer may have about hiring them.