Survey Says: Tell Me Now or Tell Me Later? Do You Have A Criminal Record?
April 4, 2013
Last month, we released our official 2013 Employment Background Check Trends Survey report. The report includes findings from nearly 1,000 Human Resources professionals in various industries across the United States, who responded to our survey on background checks for employment at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.
One of the questions we asked was if their organization asks candidates to self-disclose past criminal history on their job applications.
Despite the guidance issued by the EEOC in April of 2012—recommending that employers should not ask candidates about convictions on job applications—79% of respondents say they are continuing to do so (see chart below). Only 9% say they do not ask candidates for self-disclosure. However, the EEOC’s guidance did open up a bit of gray area, as it said that employers who do inquire about criminal convictions on job applications should limit their inquiries “to convictions that are job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”
The guidance opens up continued debate on the subject, and the results show that employers continue to put a high value on criminal record self- disclosure at the application stage of hiring. It is important to note that some employers in regulated industries simply can’t hire those with any or specific types of criminal records. As employers search for qualified talent, they will have to continue to balance fair treatment of candidates against their own need to make informed hiring decisions.
Some Tips Regarding Applicant Self-Disclosure
- Make sure you understand and consider the EEOC guidance on this subject. It doesn’t mean that you have to change your practices, but you should be informed.
- Make sure that there are no state or local laws that prevent you from asking the question on your job application; so-called “Ban the Box” laws.
- If you choose to remove the question from your application, don’t forget to ask it later in the hiring process.