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Possession of a Criminal Record does not Prevent Employment

05/01/13

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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.

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WHY AREN’T YOU GETTING A JOB?

06/28/12

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By: Christopher Watts, MBA
Community & Career Builder

As a Career Counselor and Mentor, I encounter a lot of job seekers who have many reasons why he/she can always get an interview but never secure the position. The reasons vary but I have found three reasons why candidates get an interview but not the position, which can be eliminated with proper planning and preparation. 

Job Seekers do not get a job interviewed for because another candidate interviewed better. During an interview, a candidate must convince the hiring manager(s) that he/she would be more successful than other candidates interviewing for the position. This requires interviewing well which includes successfully answering questions, speaking clearly, providing thorough answers, demonstrating knowledge of the company and industry, and displaying good non-verbal communication (posture, facial expression). A job seeker should regularly participate in mock interviews to sharpen his/her interview skills. 

Additionally, job seekers do not get a job interviewed for because there was a better candidate for the position. A better candidate is someone with stronger education, experience, and transferable competencies. The job market is very complicated and competitive. There are job seekers that, in a better market, would demand more money or a better title. This has been an employer’s market, since 2009, and job seekers who would not have considered certain positions 3 years ago are willing to accept less lucrative positions. To continually increase employability, especially if currently out of the workforce, a job seeker should volunteer and/or pursue formal education and training.

Lastly, job seekers do not get a job interviewed for because of appearance. It is imperative, regardless of the position, to have a professional appearance. A professional appearance includes clean clothes that fit, an acceptable hair style, clean and cut fingernails, and proper hygiene. It is better to over-dress than to under-dress during a job interview. Hair on your head and face should be well-kept and compliant with the company’s culture and dress code (conduct online research). Fingernails should be cut and filed so a handshake does not puncture the hiring manager’s skin. Hygiene should be pleasant and fresh, not a strong scent from excessive body fragrances that would cause allergic reactions to a hiring manager.

Proper planning and preparation will increase a job seeker’s chances of securing a job interviewed for by making the job seeker a competitive candidate. An employer looks for ways to screen a candidate out of the hiring process. It is the job seeker’s responsibility to only provide an employer with reasons to include him/her in the hiring process.

 

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Category: Ask WorkLocal

Question: How Many Years Back Should My Resume Go?

09/01/11

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Answer:

Since your resume will be, for the most part, the first introduction to the hiring manager avoid aging yourself by putting unnecessary dates on your resume.  If you are older than 35, leave off your graduation dates.  If you have worked for more than 20 years, include the last 10-15 years of your employment.  If you have experience that directly relates to the job you are interviewing for, but is older than 15 years, have a “Related Experience” section where you list the name of the employer, city, state, title, and one sentence of your responsibilities.

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Category: Ask WorkLocal

Question: How Many Pages Should My Resume Be?

09/01/11

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Answer:

While there are not any hard and fast rules for resume length, it is common practice to keep it to one page if you are a recent college graduate or have less than two years of work experience.  If you have been in the workforce longer, two pages is acceptable.  Three pages or more should only be used for doctors or people with a Ph.D.

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What’s Keywords Got To Do With It

07/29/11

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KEYWORDS! KEYWORDS! KEYWORDS!...Your key to getting an interview and potentially a job.

One of the key tools at your disposal for getting an interview is keywords. Keywords can make the difference between the Yes and No pile of resume heaven/hell. What are keywords; why are they so important and where do I find them? Imagine you have to review 1000 resumes that just hit your desk in the morning and make a decision by day’s end of who to bring in for an interview and who to place in the circular file. Continue to imagine that reviewing 1000 resumes that day is only one of the many hundreds of tasks you have to accomplish by day’s end. What if someone came to you and said “I can help you whittle that pile of 1000 resumes into a pile of 50 in 10 seconds? Would you jump at the opportunity?

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