Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

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#1 supermikehawk  Icon User is offline

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Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:50 PM

I am a computer programmer by trade and currently work in a large corporation. I recently got into a bar fight and now that the legal case is all over, I will receive a misdemeanor assault charge.

Do any of you have, or know someone who has, a misdemeanor and work for corporations? How did your background check or application process go?

Any answers would be appreciated. I am really depressed.
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Replies To: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:01 AM

Every company is different about everything.
They don't all follow the same guidebook.
They don't all require the same clothes or piercing or tattoo rules.
They don't all have the same wage structure.
Some will care, some won't.

Its not a felony, so it shouldn't be too bad unless you are going after jobs with government agencies, Boeing or other government contractors. It seems today employers care more about your credit rating and your debt load. If you are deep in debt you are a more likely candidate for theft or corporate spy.

Worst case you don't start off at Microsoft or Delta Airlines. You might have to start out someplace less prestigious and develop a good work history and keep yourself out of trouble for a couple years while you climb that corporate ladder.
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#3 supermikehawk  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:46 PM

Thanks for the response. Out of my own curiosity, I emailed about 10 recruiters and they all came back and said I am still eligible to apply for any jobs. Often times I'll be asked to explain the misdemeanor, but they said it's not that big of a deal in most companies.

As I mentioned, I am currently employed as a computer programmer so I'm not concerned about the immediate future. However, I'd be upset and devastated if an opportunity arose 7-10 years from now and I was turned down for this single act. I know time is on my side and my record is clean otherwise.

I've been reading a lot of "Yahoo Answers" and similar sites where people claim it's virtually impossible to find a job after a misdemeanor. I think that is what worried me the most. However, I know those aren't in my exact situation (computer programmer, college, experience, etc), so it was probably a mistake on my part to believe everything I read.
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#4 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 28 March 2012 - 02:09 AM

Yahoo answers is about the worst place imaginable to look for an answer to a question.
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#5 .Aaron  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 28 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

View PostRaynes, on 28 March 2012 - 05:09 AM, said:

Yahoo answers is about the worst place imaginable to look for an answer to a question.


It does make for good comic relief, however.
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#6 Jstall  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:19 AM

Since you are not worried about your immediate future and are thinking 5-7 years down the road you may want to research getting a pardon. Here in Canada, after you meet certain criteria you can apply to have your record wiped clean. You may want to check if such a service exists where you live.
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#7 jjsaw5  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:25 AM

View Postsupermikehawk, on 27 March 2012 - 04:46 PM, said:

Thanks for the response. Out of my own curiosity, I emailed about 10 recruiters and they all came back and said I am still eligible to apply for any jobs. Often times I'll be asked to explain the misdemeanor, but they said it's not that big of a deal in most companies.


Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be shopping that information around like that. I wouldn't say anything to anyone about it until someone asked me or until I had to do a background check to get a job. Saying your still eligible doesn't mean anything, a homeless person could walk into a library draft a resume and apply to jobs. They may throw your resume out as soon as the recuriter says "FYI he has a misdemeanor for assault". Maybe it's just me but information would be on a Need to know basis.
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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:42 AM

Quote

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be shopping that information around like that.


I disagree completely. They will know about it before they make their decision. If you try to hide it, you're telling them that you're dishonest. It makes the minor offense look more sinister than it is, and you give them reason to wonder what else you're hiding. If you're upfront about it, and have a reasonable story to tell them, they can get it out of the way early on and get down to your qualifications, which is what they're really interested in.

Don't ever let your boss be surprised by bad news that involves you. You should always be the first one to tell them about it. Among other things, this allows you to control the story.
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#9 jjsaw5  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:08 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 29 March 2012 - 09:42 AM, said:

Quote

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be shopping that information around like that.


I disagree completely. They will know about it before they make their decision. If you try to hide it, you're telling them that you're dishonest. It makes the minor offense look more sinister than it is, and you give them reason to wonder what else you're hiding. If you're upfront about it, and have a reasonable story to tell them, they can get it out of the way early on and get down to your qualifications, which is what they're really interested in.

Don't ever let your boss be surprised by bad news that involves you. You should always be the first one to tell them about it. Among other things, this allows you to control the story.


My point is I see no reason to come out and disclose that information if there is no reason too. If they say ok, we are going to need to perform a background check on you then absolutely tell them what they can expect to see on it and give them a reason as to why it happened. I’m not going to call around to recruiters and or potential employers and openly disclose I have a misdemeanor without knowing if that information is required for employment with them.
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#10 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:28 AM

How does that converstation go?

"Okay, sounds good, and by the way we're going to do a background check on you"
"Oh, in that case, I have a misdemeanor. Let me tell you all about it..."


Do what you like, but that doesn't sound like the way I'd want to handle it. Put yourself in your boss's place. Do you really want someone who's only going to admit to a mistake when they're about to be caught anyway? Me, I wouldn't hire that person to work for my worst enemy.
(Unless, of course, I didn't like my worst enemy very much, then maybe I would.)

It's not the first thing I'd bring up in the interview, but there's usually a spot where they ask you if there's anything else you want to talk about. That's a good time to get that mentioned. Something like "Just so you know, I did this stupid thing a few years ago and it means I have a misdemeanor on my record. I feel pretty dumb about it now, but I can tell you what happened, and then here's who you contact to get the official records." If you make it easy for them to get to the right records - maybe you have the right forms filled out and in your briefcase - then you're on top of the situation. Every interviewer wants to know how you handle tricky situations, right? This is show-and-tell time, right here.
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#11 jjsaw5  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 29 March 2012 - 11:28 AM, said:

How does that converstation go?

"Okay, sounds good, and by the way we're going to do a background check on you"
"Oh, in that case, I have a misdemeanor. Let me tell you all about it..."


Do what you like, but that doesn't sound like the way I'd want to handle it. Put yourself in your boss's place. Do you really want someone who's only going to admit to a mistake when they're about to be caught anyway? Me, I wouldn't hire that person to work for my worst enemy.
(Unless, of course, I didn't like my worst enemy very much, then maybe I would.)

It's not the first thing I'd bring up in the interview, but there's usually a spot where they ask you if there's anything else you want to talk about. That's a good time to get that mentioned. Something like "Just so you know, I did this stupid thing a few years ago and it means I have a misdemeanor on my record. I feel pretty dumb about it now, but I can tell you what happened, and then here's who you contact to get the official records." If you make it easy for them to get to the right records - maybe you have the right forms filled out and in your briefcase - then you're on top of the situation. Every interviewer wants to know how you handle tricky situations, right? This is show-and-tell time, right here.



And how does this conversation go…

“Ok and that concludes the interview, at this point is there anything else you would like to discuss”
“Yes, last year I got into a fight at a bar and was charged with and assault misdemeanor”

I can’t see that going over well. Especially if there has been no discussion of disclosure of past criminal history at this point in the process. I think it’s ok to talk about it when they say they are going to do a background check at least you are not dropping it on them out of the blue.

The whole point of doing the check in the first place is to find out if there is anything they should be concerned about. Either way if it’s on your record you’re going to have to discuss it at some point. How and when are just personal preference.
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#12 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:02 AM

View Postjjsaw5, on 29 March 2012 - 11:08 AM, said:

And how does this conversation go…

“Ok and that concludes the interview, at this point is there anything else you would like to discuss”
“Yes, last year I got into a fight at a bar and was charged with and assault misdemeanor”



Sort of. More like "Just so you know, I did this stupid thing a few years ago and it means I have a misdemeanor on my record. I feel pretty dumb about it now, but I can tell you what happened, and then here's who you contact to get the official records."

But yes, that's exactly when I'd bring it up, like I said, and that's exactly why they ask that question. I wouldn't go into details on the matter, just let them know that it exists and that you're perfectly willing to tell them about the details if they want to know, and that you're going to make it easy for them to get at the available records of the case. That is, you've anticipated their needs, and you're prepared for the situation. That is, that you're a good person to hire, even though you did have too much to drink in a bar one night.

Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk about, but that's exactly the point.

Also - knowing that they're going to find out about this, would you rather have the chance to frame it yourself, or would you rather they construct a story from the records they get when they do a background check? Hint: you'd rather frame it yourself.
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:23 AM

I'm fairly certain from memory that applications only ask for felonies. I'm for not putting down a misdemeanor in a felony request. If they don't ask, not bringing it up is not the same as lying.
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:58 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 29 March 2012 - 12:23 PM, said:

I'm fairly certain from memory that applications only ask for felonies. I'm for not putting down a misdemeanor in a felony request.



From Powells.com - just as an example:

Quote

Criminal Record: Conviction of a crime is not an automatic bar to employment. Factors such as the nature and gravity of the crime, the length of time since the conviction and/or completion of any sentence, and the nature of the job for which you have applied will be considered. Have you ever been convicted, pled guilty or no contest or forfeited bond or bail for any crime (including misdemeanor, felony, or other infraction or violation) other than traffic violations?



Quote

If they don't ask, not bringing it up is not the same as lying.


You're right, it's not the same as lying. However, it's relevant information that your boss will know about if you're interviewing for a position of any sort of responsibility. Given that they will know about it, it only seems sensible to be the one to bring it up. Not bringing it up makes you look like you're trying to hide it, which makes it look worse, not better. Being extra-scrupulous about it will tend to mitigate it.

Now, just as jobs slip off the bottom of the page over time, I can see how your record would do as well. I don't list jobs I had in 1995, I suppose I wouldn't feel such a need to bring up a public intoxication charge from that time either. But anything in recent memory, or anything involving the perception of violence or dishonesty - if I were doing the interview, I'd rather hear about it from you than discover it in the background check, that's all I'm saying.
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#15 supermikehawk  Icon User is offline

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Re: Anyone working in a corporation with a misdemeanor?

Posted 29 March 2012 - 05:30 PM

First, I would like you genuinely thank all of you for contributing to this topic. I have been anxious, nervous, and overall in poor health because of this legal trouble. I'm not so much concerned about my immediate legal/financial/probation situation, but I am terrified of what "could be". I hold myself to a high standard and have accomplished quite a bit being in my late 20's. My friends and family look up to me, and I feel as I have let them down.

All your replies are appreciated and help me cope with the situation. I am sick to my stomach thinking of being denied a job opportunity, but after talking to MANY different executive-level individuals they all claim I am over-reacting. But I, for some reason, see all the doors of future opportunity slamming on me. It is very hard to even describe how I'm feeling. To some people it's "just a misdemeanor", but for me it is so much more.

View Post.Aaron, on 28 March 2012 - 08:09 PM, said:

View PostRaynes, on 28 March 2012 - 05:09 AM, said:

Yahoo answers is about the worst place imaginable to look for an answer to a question.


It does make for good comic relief, however.


I've come to realize that you are both right. Most of these answer sites are filled with people with negative outcomes. I don't see many positive posts, but then again, if you had a positive outcome would you go back on a site to update your status? Probably not.

View PostJstall, on 29 March 2012 - 06:19 AM, said:

Since you are not worried about your immediate future and are thinking 5-7 years down the road you may want to research getting a pardon. Here in Canada, after you meet certain criteria you can apply to have your record wiped clean. You may want to check if such a service exists where you live.


In my state, expunging or wiping a record clean is not possible.

View Postjjsaw5, on 29 March 2012 - 06:25 AM, said:

View Postsupermikehawk, on 27 March 2012 - 04:46 PM, said:

Thanks for the response. Out of my own curiosity, I emailed about 10 recruiters and they all came back and said I am still eligible to apply for any jobs. Often times I'll be asked to explain the misdemeanor, but they said it's not that big of a deal in most companies.


Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be shopping that information around like that. I wouldn't say anything to anyone about it until someone asked me or until I had to do a background check to get a job. Saying your still eligible doesn't mean anything, a homeless person could walk into a library draft a resume and apply to jobs. They may throw your resume out as soon as the recuriter says "FYI he has a misdemeanor for assault". Maybe it's just me but information would be on a Need to know basis.


I understand what you are saying. However, I anonymously emailed these recruiters so they have no idea who I am. Most recruiters went well beyond saying I'm eligible and mentioned that it is very possible to get hired. Also, recruiters typically get paid for every person they place at a company, so it is in their best interest to vouch for the employee.
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