Does Your Top Candidate Have a Criminal Record? Here’s What to Consider

Your top candidate is an ideal fit for your company’s culture and your current team. Their skills and experience fit the job’s requirements in every way. There’s just one problem: this candidate has, in the past, run afoul of the law and now has a criminal record.

What should you do? While a criminal record in the past was often grounds for immediate disqualification, today many hiring managers are realizing that one youthful mistake doesn’t undo all the skills and accomplishments the candidate could contribute to their company.

Here’s what to do when weighing a criminal record against a candidate’s abilities and potential:

Weigh the legal considerations.

Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and your state’s anti-discrimination laws, can provide boundaries within which to make a reasonable and legally compliant decision. For specific legal questions, speak to a qualified attorney.

Review your company’s hiring policy.

Many companies’ hiring policies define the terms on which candidates can be disqualified from certain positions. Look at this information, as well as the candidate’s past, to determine whether the policy requires you to weigh the criminal record as part of your decision. Also, look at factors such as the length of time since the event and what the candidate has achieved in the meantime.

Talk to the candidate.

Candidates have the legal right to contact a background screening company to dispute the accuracy of a background report – an essential step to take if the report is somehow inaccurate. If your hiring policies don’t automatically disqualify the candidate from the position based on the report, speaking to the candidate about your concerns and how they want to proceed can help you gain insight while complying with the law.

Talk to your recruiter.

Your staffing partner can help you address any lingering concerns you have. If the candidate was recommending by your staffing partner, they can also explain their reasoning for the recommendation and how the candidate’s criminal background information fit into that reasoning – helping you understand and explain how the candidate can best fit into your company.

How TERRA Can Help

At TERRA Staffing Group, our recruiters can help you navigate any hurdles you encounter on the path to hiring outstanding talent. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.

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