Ask HR: How should convicted felons approach the job search?

This past month’s Ask HR question was a tough one: “If an applicant has a history of being convicted as a felon, what advice can you offer them to help them get back in the work force while being honest about their past?”

You can see all of the responses on the Ask HR page.

Obviously, honesty is the best policy, because background checks are standard these days. But there are ways you can approach this sensitive subject and not eliminate yourself from consideration for a job. Read the advice of our experts and let us know what you think.

If you have been convicted of a felony, how has it impacted your job search? What did you do to get a job?

29 comments Add your comment


July 20th, 2010
5:44 pm

im a felon who has been looking for a job for the past 5 years i mean ive applied to mc donalds all the way up to felony friendly warehouse positions and to no avail…… i dont kno how much i can take because i have a family to support and try and try to keep good faith but i think suicide will be the best option……


June 7th, 2010
1:15 pm

I am a convicted felon who did a 10 years sentence for drug possession/distribution and possession of a firearm. I was convicted in 1998. Back in those days I had no direction in life, but the penitentiary will definetly change your outlook. I got myself 2gether while I was there, 1st got my GED, then a diploma in Residential Wiring, then a Associates in Science for Construction Electrician. Yes, all that while I was locked up. I am now married, living in GA, and still can’t get hired anywhere. Besides that, I am a mobile mechanic (tune-ups, rebuilding/intsalling engines, and just about anything else), and do car audio installations. I can’t believe how hard it is, even after I’ve turned my life around. But I’m keeping my faith in God, and I know He has something in store for me. Thanx. J.Adkinson- 678-245-1663.


April 12th, 2010
8:26 pm

dont take advice from peewee obviously he’s an idiot.


March 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

Hey everyone .I got conviceted of a felony in 2004 I was able to get one decent job( job that will pay the bills and feed me ) at a call center but I quit after 3 years and I realized my best option was starting my own business. so take some time learn a skill if you dont have one already. get a work van or truck cheap off craigslist.print out some cards…and dont pay any attention to kids like peewee, he cant be over 13 years old.


March 3rd, 2010
4:44 am

Only in AMERICA does the Federal government give $25,000 bonds to employers to hire risky employees. And the employer doesn’t have to pay for it. So Listen up Fellow Americans, I suggest that Employers may not even know about this bond, since most felons don’t seem to. Talk to a job coach about how to get this info to an employer in proper way. Are you dressing for success or do you proudly display those tattoos that scream DOWN WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT AND UP WITH ANARCHY!. Are you taking out the visible piercing? Men No earrings, Of course unless you want to work At a tattoo shop or store that sells nose rings.
When you go to a job fair do you just quickly hand in your resume or do you introduce yourself with a
firm handshake? Do you ask questions. Have you done homework on what it is the employer’s company’s do? Do you say ” Do you Hire felons.. Or with class Ask what is your companies policy on hiring someone with a record? I doesn’t mater which way he/she answers. This would be a the perfect opportunity with handing he/she a copy of the web site I listed above. Explaining a little about it. Give them enough printed information to encourage them to check it out on the web site. Write your name on the cover page so you are remember for giving it. Have you started thinking Lucky Me! I live in America where anything good is possible? Ok so the going gets tough. Pull up your boots and keep saying. I know I will I know I will get a job, not any job but the right job. You are going to sell your self. I always watch how people who are successful dress.
You may have to put in 10 applications a day but if you sit back on your hinny you won’t get a job. Every day is a new day. Talk it over with God every morning and night and in between. Remember the saying If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Have a great year everyone and May God bless you with the rewards of your hard and honest efforts. I have two grandchildren that are in this position and one won’t heed and the other one is positive and has a great attitude and I know he will succeed. He is honest and you can tell he is repentant and you can see the other isn’t. Employers see this too.


January 12th, 2010
12:37 am

I clicked on the “Ask HR page”, what a joke. Not one of those people gave an acceptable answer. As a convicted felon, I need to know how I can get hired with your company. Either you will hire me or you won’t, which one is it. We need to know what it will take. Talking about persistence is basically them sending me down the road to someone else’s company.
By the way, I will share my quick story. 2 guys attempted to jump me, I stabbed one of them. That’s how I caught my felony. I should not have put myself in that position. Year’s later, my aunt had me arrested for burglary on a house she claimed to own. I only moved in with my dad, for a place to stay and to help him with bills. I plead guilty to a lesser charge of criminal trespass to avoid another felony. Years later I discover a will that shows the house belongs to her and my dad. 2 guys kick in my door and I shot one of them. Then I get arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. I was not prosecuted though, but it still shows as an arrest. All of this grief for a felony I caught when I was 17.


December 30th, 2009
12:03 am

coetsee said Many companies all over the world need your opinions on their products. They will send you a simple online survey forms, where you need to fill it out and they pay you money.

The most remarkable thing about this paid survey program is that anyone can make money with it.
It doesn’t require any special skills, training, education or previous business experience. You only need access to the Internet and basic typing skills.
It is the perfect home business for stay at home moms, students, home makers, retirees or anyone that is in need of some extra cash.



December 11th, 2009
5:43 pm

I don’t see the point in these companies refusing to hire felons. this in turn creates a worse person out of the want to change. my situation, i was caught at a red light when some fool jumped out of his vehicle w/ a baseball bat. my partner, sitting shotgun, jumped out of the truck. they got into it. i was gonna leave him there. i heard a gunshot blow my window out right behind my head, so i mashed the skinny pedal. bam. i ran the guy right into another car. we both get the same charge. i got an aggravated battery w/ a deadly weapon. he got one for the bat, i got one for the truck. now i’m eating everybody’s money on unemployment (since Dec. 08), food stamps, medicaid, and child support. i don’t want any charity. i want to go to work. nobody will hire me. i have over 8 years of experience doing Directv and Dish Network. I tried going to school, but was denied because of my felony. i have put in over 50 applications to the companies that will hire felons. i have worked for 2 months out of the year at a staffing company that worked me at universal studios. that job was completed – i was not fired, but i have no job, no money, and am losing the want and will to change. hey, here’s an idea……maybe i should sell drugs to kids. they hire anybody


December 3rd, 2009
2:28 pm

I am 29. at age 22 two guys jumped me and i stabbed on of them. I accepted an assault plea. At the time i was in college. I graduated with magna cum laude Finance from a esteemed Wash DC university. Since then only one company has given me a chance, which is the company i was employed part time when the event occured. Since then and before the incident i have never been involved with the law. I was stupid and reacted to a horrible situation. I have my MBA now and as always been very active in my community. Do you not think i deserve a chance? But most employers interview me, and are very impressed and ready to hire until i tell them my past. Its a bad way society perpetually judges, but it makes me stronger