Some of us may have a misdemeanor in our history. Such a charge might be minor assault or a public disturbance but, in most cases, when you apply for a job, that charge will show up. Written job applications often ask about your criminal history and ask you to check off a “Yes” or “No” box in regards to criminal charges above a misdemeanor. Although cases of charges above misdemeanors may cost candidates a position, how do you deal with the case of a misdemeanor on your record less than seven years old? A career advice column in the Wall Street Journal provides some insight into what to do regarding background checks and misdemeanors.
As this advice column suggests, one of the best strategies for dealing with this situation is seeking legal advice to ask and get counseling for situations like, “What happens if I’m rejected for this offence?” and “Can an employer turn a candidate down based on this type of criminal history?” Although a lawyer can give you a more thorough view of what is and isn’t legal in regards to employment and misdemeanor charges, you, as an individual, have some leverage in regards to the impression you make on an interviewer and the company as a whole.
Not everyone has a perfect background, and going to an interview allows you to explain anything that appears – or will appear – unclear in regards to your background check. As mentioned in this article, going to an interview allows you to make a case for yourself as a strong employee and to have your character come through. Outside of the interview, the other aspect mentioned that you can do to enhance your character is to make sure you have strong references, including both employment and character references. As with all instances of checking references, contact all of yours beforehand to inform them they may be contacted by a potential employer and also inform them that this misdemeanor charge may be brought up. As a result of your work, character, and references, this misdemeanor charge may be minimized by potential employers when you seek employment until the charge is no longer on your record.