A central role of any business owner or hiring manager is to always consider the safety of your employees, especially when bringing on someone new. This is why millions of businesses conduct background checks for criminal records so they have a more holistic understanding of the person they’re considering hiring.

But, should a person’s criminal record be a reason for not hiring them every single time? We have provided several case studies on our site to illustrate what could happen if you don’t do your due diligence, but we also believe in giving someone a second chance. You simply need to know where your business is willing to draw the line.

To help you out a bit, here are some questions to either ask yourself or the potential employee when something shows up on their criminal background check.

What Was the Severity and Nature of the Crime?

The severity and nature of a crime pretty much go hand-in-hand. Seeing a felony for assault and battery, for example, will typically be much worse than a misdemeanor for petty theft. Another thing to consider is that plea deals often end in a lower sentence and/or additional charges being dropped, so the actual crime might be worse than reflected in the record.

How Long Ago Did the Crime Occur?

For crimes committed during youth or while the potential hire was going through a tough period in his or her life, hiring managers may want to spend some more time thoroughly evaluating the person’s character and current track record. If it’s been six months since a crime was committed, that’s one thing. But, if it’s been years since the incident and no other crime has occurred, there’s a very good chance that the crime was a mistake that the person has learned from.

Was the Crime Their Only Offense?

Many people with criminal records learn their lesson after a single charge, while some take an additional charge or two to go the “straight and narrow.” If there’s only been one charge that wasn’t too severe, there’s a good chance you could chalk it up to a one-time occurrence that isn’t likely to be repeated. After all, we all make mistakes that we regret.

Does the Crime Violate Your Company’s Policies?
Some companies have very strict policies about hiring a person with a criminal record. These policies often relate to felonies more than misdemeanors, or may be even more specific, as in a refusal to hire a sex offender. Therefore, your company’s policy on hiring should come into play for clear-cut guidance in these types of situations.

Is the Crime Directly Related to the Position?

You would think that someone who has been convicted of forging checks or embezzling money would never consider applying for a position with a financial institution or one where he or she would be in charge of handling money, but you’d be wrong. The same goes for people who apply for positions that involve children or the elderly when they have a criminal charge of abuse in their history. This is definitely something to consider during the hiring process, and should be built into your hiring P&P.

Did the Sentence Include Any Required Classes?

Many sentences include some sort of class that the criminal is required to attend, whether it’s drug abuse or anger management classes. If so desired, ask the potential employee for proof of the completion of such classes. And you may also want to inquire about any community service they had to do and what they got out of the experience.

Would the Potential Employee Like to Explain Further?

If you’re on the fence or if the criminal record isn’t very clear, it doesn’t hurt to get the potential employee’s side of the story. While some people may not be truthful about what occurred, let them know that full honesty will be appreciated because any falsehoods will keep them from getting the job – period.

The safety of your employees and those who do business with your company should always be a top priority. If you’d like to learn more about how background checks, drug tests, and verifications can keep you safe, give the professionals at NationSearch a call today.