Job Interview Question & Answer: Have You Ever Been Arrested or Convicted?
Why Interviewers Ask
Job interviews can be a challenge for candidates with criminal histories. During the hiring process, responding to questions about a law record requires honesty and poise. The purpose of the question for those convicted of crimes is to gauge truthfulness, remorse, and personal growth despite negative experiences.
Preparing a Response for “Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Crime?”
Practicing interview questions helps a meeting go smoothly. If hiring managers ask about a criminal record, most of the discussion should revolve around experience and work ethic. Interviewees can’t avoid sensitive topics, so it’s good to practice bringing the conversation back to work-related issues. Follow these guidelines for an effective answer:
- Be honest: Applicants can decide how to address the conviction in an interview, but they do need to reveal this information if asked. Deciding on wording beforehand can calm nerves and help job hopefuls present themselves well. Always be truthful and direct since employers can find out about past convictions via background checks.
- Offer the right amount of detail: Explain what happened without oversharing. Take responsibility for your actions, but come back to job skills as soon as possible. The goal is to make this interview about what you can do for the company in the future.
- Present progress: Going to school, doing volunteer work, and pursuing certificates are great illustrations of personal growth. It is crucial to show hiring staff a sense of dedication toward improving. Workers can even add these to an application, then expand on them in the job interview.
While a dishonest reply will communicate unreliability, a simple “yes” won’t help your chances of being hired either. Those with a criminal record can make themselves more appealing job candidates by giving their convictions some context. Explain how this experience has shaped your present in a positive way that will benefit the company.
Below are a few ways to reply to “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” beyond just “yes” or “no.” They are simply here to give potential employees direction. Form a unique and honest reply that touches on your specific situation.
Sample Answer 1 – Service Job
“Yes, I’ve had some trouble in my past. However, through hard work and resolve, I started to overcome my problems. While I regret those decisions, I feel I’ve changed for the better in the long run. I am devoted to growing as a person, and I believe that will make me a stronger worker.”
Sample Answer 2 –Grocery Store Cashier
“Working past a criminal conviction has taught me to focus on ethics and efficiency. It wasn’t easy to reach a new outlook, but in the end, it was very uplifting. As a cashier, I’ll be able to use my positive attitude to greet patrons from all walks of life.”
Sample Answer 3 – Department Store Customer Service Representative
“Since my conviction, I have created strong bonds with others and matured greatly. Attending a local support group has not only helped me personally but has also improved my conversation skills. I think this will serve me well in a customer service role.”
Key Points for “Have You Ever Been Arrested or Convicted?”
It is tough to respond to this type of question. Since it needs some forethought, remember the following:
- Tell the truth.
- State a straightforward “yes” or “no.”
- Provide necessary details.
- Exhibit progress, and relate it to the job.
Keeping this advice in mind might make the interview process a bit easier.