We live in a time of unprecedented data accessibility. Whether taken from our social media profiles, online search history, or the courts, there are many ways for both people and AI to learn more about us. Given this reality, an important question can be posed…
Do we know enough about our documented past?
When speaking about a criminal background, this question becomes even more important. Such a thing can have a significant bearing on our ability to obtain employment. A recent study shows that as many as one in three Americans has a criminal record. Even a seemingly harmless misdemeanor that is quickly forgotten about by the offender can create large employment barriers that stand firm for years.
At the very least, it is important to know what the courts have to say about you. This can be accomplished through a personal background check. Once this information is known, steps can be taken to turn frustrating circumstances into positive outcomes.
Here are three ways a personal background check can be leveraged for your professional success.
1. Know What an Employer May See
Many employers lean on background screening practices to provide insights into prospective hires. Moreover, many employers have strict hiring policies shaped by such practices. For example, some employers may have no tolerance for felony convictions within a certain period of time while others may have similar outlooks on class A misdemeanors.
Regardless, when applying for a job, you can gauge your qualifications given both organizational policy, and your criminal history. In other words, knowing what a potential employer will see when running a criminal background check on you may help to influence where you apply, saving you time and worry.
2. Demonstrate Proactivity
Now, some employers may be more fluid in their hiring practices, taking a more case-by-case approach. These types of hiring environments can be ideal for the proactive applicant.
Whether you do, in fact, have a criminal past or your record is as clean as a whistle, proactivity can go a long way in impressing any hiring manager.
Let’s say there is a misdemeanor conviction sitting on your record that could possibly impact employment. Imagine taking a copy of your personal background check to an interview, explaining the offense, and mentioning some action steps you have taken to rectify the issue. Such behavior demonstrates both situational acuity and honesty, helping to build a bridge of trust with your potential employer, preemptively.
By the same token, let’s say you have no criminal past. Attaching proof of this to your resume, or presenting it in an interview can likewise foster trust and show initiative. Both of which are certainly positives.
3. Glean Necessary Insights to Initiate the Expungement Process
Depending on your state of residence, it is possible to file for expungement—even for convictions, in some cases— after a certain period of time.
Expungement Definition: to erase or remove completely.
In almost all instances, employers are legally restricted from making hiring decisions based on expunged records. In fact, most of the time, they aren’t even reported by the courts. There are many situations where charges needlessly remain on one’s record—charges that are eligible for expungement.
If you have a criminal past, running a personal background check on yourself could help you determine what may be needlessly impacting your future. It’s a simple action that could go a long way in helping you remove bumps from the road.
At the end of the day, having a personal background check in hand when pursuing a job is certainly a recommended practice. Nowadays, fairly comprehensive personal checks for entry-level positions can be obtained for around $20. Not a big investment given the potential payoff.
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