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Helping a Candidate with a Criminal Record Find a Job

Recruiters work hard every day to find the right people for the right jobs. Even on an average day, it can be difficult to find the perfect role for candidates even with great qualifications. Every time you receive a CV from a candidate, your mission is to get them a job – in its simplest format, it’s still a very difficult process.

Now, imagine you received a CV from someone with a criminal record, what would you do? Have you ever helped someone to get a job with a criminal record?

Dealing with criminal records

No recruiter could be blamed too much for disregarding CVs they receive from people with a criminal record. After all, you are already so busy with a pile of CVs from other people who are desperate for you to find them a better job.

It isn’t unreasonable to think that it would be too difficult to even find the time to get someone a job with a criminal record, and even if you did, it may well turn out to be a fruitless affair.

Perhaps, recruiters should give these CVs a chance, or at least, get in touch with the candidate with some advice on how they can get a job with a criminal record.

For example, you might get a CV in from someone who has one, and the CV will be poorly formatted. Why not give them some advice on how they should format their CV?

Or there could be a situation where the candidate doesn’t have much experience, you could potentially recommend that they do some volunteering?

Of course, you don’t want to send their CVs to employers to just ‘give them a chance’, but if someone has put work into their CV since their criminal conviction, it may be worth taking a shot on them.

Helping them prepare for interviews

If you do decide to send their CV to an employer, you could take some time to help them prepare for the interview. Candidates with a criminal record will need to know how to react when asked about this as if they are unprepared for the question, they’re in trouble.

Candidates with criminal records can’t afford to do a bad interview – they are already swimming upstream. Explain to them that they should not focus on it too much and their attention should be on what they’ve done since their conviction.

Chase their references

References are important no matter what qualifications people have, but they are particularly important for people with a criminal record. Explain to candidates the need for strong personal and professional references, because without these most employers will be hard pushed to hire someone, even if they like them in the interview.

Start small

It may well be the case that candidates with a criminal record will need to start off in a low paying job. This is likely to be necessary so the candidate can get back on the ladder. Be realistic with candidates and explain that it may take some time to rebuild their reputation.

Consider all options

You will face situations where you simply can’t find candidates with a criminal record a job and you will need to be upfront. For some candidates, it might be a realistic option for them to set up their own business, or some may be open to joining the military.

Key message

The primary message is that recruiters shouldn’t just bin CVs of candidates with criminal records. Give a few of them a shot and you never know where it might lead. Finding a job for someone with a criminal record would be an amazing achievement and remember that it is possible!

About the author: Omar Kahn is a legal assistant at Hansen & Company. He likes to write about issues relating to employment and immigration.

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