By: Christopher Watts, MBA
Community & Career Builder
What do you remember from your last visit to McDonalds? Do you remember the food? Do you remember the service? McDonalds, a leader in the fast food industry, is known for both those things and one more thing – McDonalds hires candidates that possess a criminal record. I bet this was the furthest thing from your mind during your last visit. Despite hiring candidates who possess a criminal record, McDonalds has a strong customer base and is an industry leader. I have never heard anyone say “McDonalds hires people that have a criminal record so I will not eat at this business.” The reason why is because their focus is on a quality product and service, not the criminal record status of its employees.
I encounter job seekers daily who tell me that they cannot obtain employment because of their criminal background. My response is always the same, “How do you know?” For a candidate to be denied employment solely based on possession of a criminal record means that the candidate was interviewed and offered employment then the company conducted the background check and withdrew the offer. When I ask did this occur, I am usually told “no.” If a job seeker was never interviewed or offered the position, the job seeker was never a serious candidate.
Possession of a criminal record or not, job seekers must meet the stated qualifications for the position as well as effectively interview with a hiring manager who selects you over another candidate. Hiring managers hire individuals who will be most likely be successful in the position and add the most value to the team. If a hiring manager is looking for a truck driver and candidate A has a CDL, recent over-the-road experience and a criminal background for drugs prior to obtaining a CDL and whereas candidate B has a CDL but no experience, the hiring manager probably will hire candidate A.
Consumers do not make decisions about where they will eat, shop and lodge based on if a company has a reputation for hiring people who possess a criminal record. Consumers look for the company who best delivers desired goods and services, not the best company who delivers goods and services as well as does not hire people who possess a criminal record.
Job seekers who possess a criminal record should apply to any position of interest, follow the application instructions and take advantage of any opportunity to interview. Do not spend time wondering if the company hires candidates that possess a criminal record but rather spend time preparing on how to convince companies you are the best candidate to hire despite possessing a criminal record.
Companies do not publicly state a preference for candidates who possess a criminal record just as companies do not state a preference for candidates that are high school dropouts or parents behind in child support – companies publicly state the good, not the bad about its workforce. Job seekers should not let rumors or anyone persuade them to not pursue an employment opportunity because companies will not publicly state an openness or preference for candidates who possess a criminal record.