Anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, may understandably be concerned about how the event will impact their ability to get a job in the future. Even a person who has been arrested but was not subsequently convicted might worry about this given the prevalence of background screening checks by employers today.

Hiring manager views on criminal records

Monster.com explains that while the vast majority of companies do utilize background checks at some point in the hiring process, there is a growing trend among hiring managers that sees more openness to the value a person with a criminal record can add to a company. Job applicants should also know that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission forbids companies from denying employment to people based on arrest records alone.

Timing and relevance of record matters

When job seeking, people may want to target roles that would not be directly impacted by the nature of a prior offense as this relevance may play into an employer’s assessment of a record. For example, if a person was convicted of embezzlement, they may want to avoid applying for jobs where they handle money. Similarly, records that are newer may have more weight than those that are many years old.

Focus on what has been learned

If and when the time comes to disclose a criminal past, the Houston Chronicle advises people to highlight what they learned from the experience. This may help to allay any concerns the employer has about the person’s likelihood of repeating the same or similar events.