Thoughts & Considerations

An important thing to remember about Criminal Background and Records Checks is that they contain information about an individual’s past criminal convictions that may or may not be a reflection of who they are presently.  Like any other tool in the hiring process, they can be useful, but generally are not the end-all-be-all.  The report should be looked at closely for the type or types of offenses for which the individual was convicted, when they occurred, and whether the offense itself, or the commission of such an act is a reflection of the individual’s good-judgment, trustworthiness, or character.

Some of the questions a person looking to hire someone might ask either of themselves or the person they purpose to hire are:

  • What kind of offense(s) has the individual be convicted of?  Were they of a violent nature?  Did they involve the exploitation or abuse of a vulnerable person or elderly adult?  Is the offense or type of offense objectionable to my sense of morality or decorum, or is it otherwise the sort that might make me concerned about my personal or household safety?
  • When did the offense occur?  How long ago was the conviction, relative to      the individual’s present age and disposition?  Was the individual up-front or candid about their criminal record or past?  Did they seem to provide a reasonable explanation as to the circumstances around their conviction? Did they seem remorseful and understand the basis for your concern?
  • Is the work to be done of the sort that the individual’s criminal background might impact their ability to do the work, or otherwise raise questions as to whether it was safe or wise to employ them in the capacity that you are considering?  For example, would the fact that the person you are interviewing to mow your lawn has had a criminal conviction for writing bad checks impact that individual’s ability to do a good job mowing your lawn?  And, if it didn’t necessarily, might it be enough of an indicator of character or sense of personal responsibility that you would still not want them to mow your lawn or work in your employ?

Certainly, it is easy to say to the potential employer, “Do the background check. Do the background check!”  But, a background check’s real value is in a prudent review of its content and a subsequent and thorough interview of the individual being checked on, along with a reference check and other precautions.