Why Background Checks Should No Longer Be About Criminal Records

Employers tend to use criminal record checks to filter candidates for open positions. It’s an easy way to find the bad apples and rule them out before wasting any time on them. In theory at least.

In reality, criminal record checks tend to put the focus on very limited criteria. They rule out only the people who weren’t caught committing a crime. The best criminals do not get caught, after all.

But more than that, they label people as criminals simply because they did something stupid in their pasts. Now, serious crimes cannot be passed off as “stupid mistakes.” However, minor misdemeanors, including petty theft, drug possession, and DUIs can give you a very inaccurate view of a candidate.

The best background checks services, which you can compare on Best Online Reviews, look deeper into a person’s history. There are various reasons why this is important.


The plus side of a criminal record

We tend to focus on the negative ways a criminal record reflects on a person. But we often forget an important consideration: people with checkered histories have experienced hardships. Whether it’s due to socioeconomic factors or learning difficulties or peer pressure, they’ve made choices that have had serious consequences.

Some will never learn from these consequences. Those who do, come out much stronger. Many jobs could be better managed by someone who has come through adversity.

Furthermore, someone who has already been convicted of a crime, no matter how small, is likely to be more grateful for the opportunity, as well as aware that mistakes caused by irresponsible behavior will reflect especially badly on them.

Therefore, in the context of someone who otherwise seems like an excellent candidate, a criminal record should not be a disqualifying factor, and may even be a reason to give them extra consideration.


Social responsibility

There’s another excellent reason to give jobs to people with minor criminal records. A criminal record that prevents someone from getting a job may force them to commit further crimes. After all, they cannot pay their way through life if no one is willing to give them work.

It’s not your responsibility to reform people who have made mistakes. However, you can play a huge role in someone’s life simply by not writing them off based on those mistakes. Society is better off without condemning people to a life of unemployment.


Don’t forget about everything else

Perhaps as important is that criminal record checks lead us to forget that there may be other disqualifying factors. We compare two candidates, one with a criminal record and one without. The one without may, however, have demonstrated behavior that should raise red flags. The way they’ve approached their opportunities, performed at other jobs, and their personality traits should weigh heavily on their aptitude for the position.


Ultimately, background checks should take criminal records into account, but should not be about criminal records. Someone’s record should form part of an analysis of their suitability for a job but not necessarily to their detriment. They say a lot about a person, but only tell a complete story in a much bigger context.

Related Posts