Applying for a job is never easy. It is an even bigger challenge for individuals with felony charges. Employers run a complete background check on potential employees before completing the hiring process. 

It is an obstacle for several ex-felons as many employers do not consider candidates with criminal charges.

What is a Background Check?

While applying for a job or an apartment, people go through a background check. It offers indicators to help determine whether the person is the right choice for the position or not.

The background screening includes information on criminal activities. Felons find it hard to get a job because employers assume that they are dishonest and might commit crimes.

Also, some companies do not consider hiring a felon with bad PR as people might not work with them.

Most employers only care about the applicant’s criminal history or lack thereof. Other records that employers check include educational background, driving records, and credit reports.

Who Provides Background Checks?

Employers and landlords can use law enforcement agencies at the federal, local, and state levels for details.

Some companies even take the assistance of agencies to create a report. They will go through the sex offender registry and any records of felony or crime in the past.

Your misdemeanors also end up on the criminal records. More significant cases like felony charges are there as well.

What Do They Need To Check Background?

To check someone’s past, companies require the following information.

  • Date of Birth
  • Full Name
  • Social Security Number

What Information Do They Get With a Background Check?

There are several records that companies can attain with the relevant information.

  • Credit Records (Bankruptcy included)
  • Educational Records
  • Character References
  • Personal References
  • Past Employers
  • Social Media Profiles
  • State Licensing Records
  • Military Records
  • Medical Records
  • Drug Test Records
  • Driving Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Court Records
  • Incarceration Records
  • Sex Offender Lists

The Complete Criminal Records

When the business check for criminal records on an individual, they can find the following information

  • Age & Date of Birth
  • Marriages and Divorces
  • Warrants
  • Convictions of felonies, sex crimes, & misdemeanors.
  • Incarceration Records
  • Maiden Names and Any Alias’
  • Federal and Civil Judgments
  • Federal and State Tax Liens
  • Current Home Address and Phone number
  • Past 10 Years Home Address and Phone Numbers,
  • Arrests and Court Records
  • Federal and State Bankruptcies

Generally, there is not a single database with all your information. Instead, various databases from local to federal carry different records. The job of a background check is to compile all that data together to form a complete profile.

Non-convictions will show in your data for the next seven years. For convictions, the reports stay for a lifetime. But, felons can go through legal means to expunge or seal their background. So, no such data will appear in the background check.

How Long Does It Take To Run A Background Check?

Running a background check does take some time. Criminal records can take up to 2 days. But, there are times when the employer might get the report on the same day.

For references, education verification, and other details, it can take more time. At most, it will take up to a week to run the complete background check.

A criminal record does not immediately disqualify you from all jobs. However, the nature of crime and the nature of the job can determine the chances of success. Also, the time between job opportunity and offense is another factor that employers consider.

Get a Personal Background Check

Felons can run a background check on themselves to see what an employer finds in the process. It will help narrow down the number of options and find employers who are probably more willing to work with felons.

Also, if there is misinformation on the file, felons can take steps to avoid missing specific job opportunities due to inaccuracies.

Also, felons who have erased their records should run the check to ensure that their felony does not show up on the report again.


For felons, it is crucial to understand where they stand. It will help prepare for the interview, which leads to better chances of securing a job.

Overall, running a background check is imperative to landing a good job.

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