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Checkered past? There's good news for your job hunt

Apr. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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If you’re afraid that long-past scrape with the law will keep you from landing a job, there’s some good news from EmployeeScreenIQ, a company that performs background checks on prospective employees. Among nearly 1,000 human resource professionals in the company’s trend survey, 71 percent said qualifications, references and interviewing skills are ultimately more important than an applicant’s criminal past.

Yes, employers still ask about a candidate’s criminal background. Some 79 percent of those surveyed said they do it. And more than 90 percent of employers report doing background checks on some or all applicants, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. But it seems they are more open minded, perhaps in part because of new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules approved last year that call for employers who use criminal background checks to carefully consider how these checks are used so they won’t be biased against certain groups.

If you’re upfront about your past, you may have an even better chance of still nailing the job. The EmployeeScreenIQ survey found that 52 percent of employers actually would be more inclined to hire a candidate who disclosed a criminal conviction before they did a background check. This shows how much character matters — especially if you’ve got a criminal record.

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