When a felon gets out of prison, they return home and start thinking about how they can restart their life. And whether they have support or not, the fear of background checks often keeps them from approaching employers.
If you are still scared of actively applying for jobs, you have to learn what a background check entails. Having a criminal record does not make you ineligible for restaurant jobs. Besides, these things vary from restaurant to restaurant.
Why do employers run background checks?
Because of the discrimination that comes with having a criminal record, you may think the background check is done to weed you out — but that is not the case.
Your application will not surprise any employers, as they are always encouraged to hire ex-convicts. But they need to run background checks in order to protect their business from a loss.
If a company employs someone that won’t work well, they will run at a loss because they will pay a salary to someone who is not adding to business growth. So you see, it is not only about tracking your criminal record.
For clarity, here are some of the reasons that restaurant employers run background checks:
- To disqualify people who won’t be sincere at work
- To find out who has the needed skills for a job
- To know which applicant is more likely to work well with others
- To know if a person has lied on their resume or interview
- To know if an applicant will have attendance problems
Though there are other reasons why employers will run background checks on you, these are the most common. And the good thing about them is that being a felon does not stop you from passing those checks.
Employers care more about your productivity than your criminal record, but that does not mean you should lie about it. After getting your resume, they run checks to see if you lied about anything—if you do, that’s an automatic disqualification!
Since you are already a few steps behind other applicants for a restaurant job, make sure you gather skills. Even if they run a check and see that you have a criminal record, they’ll hire you for your competence.
What information do employers check for?
In a restaurant, the hiring manager does not want to employ people who are bad for business. So they run background checks that include the criminal history of an applicant.
This does not mean you should panic or write yourself off. There are felons working in restaurants even after a background check reveals their criminal record. The same can happen to you as long as you do not lie.
Contrary to what you may think about a background check being done solely for your criminal record, restaurants also check for the following details:
- An applicant’s driving records
- An applicant’s educational background
- An applicant’s credit report
Of course, your criminal record is one of the things they will check. But even people without a felony in their record can refuse to apply if they don’t meet other requirements.
There are things worse than a felony conviction, and restaurants are fair enough to understand that when choosing workers. So you could even get the job at your favorite restaurant before someone who has no criminal record.
The type of background checks that restaurants do
First of all, not all restaurants do background checks to find an applicant’s criminal record. But it is good for you to act like they all do. This will help you do well in the interview.
There are many things that you can do when you work in a restaurant, and they all require different qualifications.
For example, you could be a delivery truck driver for a restaurant. And the requirements you’ll need for that job will be different from those of a chef in the same restaurant.
As much as the job description differs for the two roles above, their background checks will differ as well.
In fact, the background check could reveal things that are very good about you. In such cases, you can use it to your advantage, and the restaurant will overlook your felony conviction.
On the list of things a restaurant will check for, you will see “driving records” in the top three. So, if you apply for the post of a truck driver, your driving history will be the priority of the restaurant.
You need a clean driving record for the job. And if an employer runs background checks to prove that you are clean, it won’t matter if you’re a felon. You will get the job because you are good enough for it.
Some jobs don’t even need a background check at all, even for employment in the fanciest restaurants. Chefs, dishwashers, and servers are examples of the posts that need no background checks. Even if you come across those that will run checks, they will be about one out of ten restaurants.
What happens when the restaurant finds a criminal record?
Don’t bother yourself with a background check when you hit the job market. This is because restaurants are usually fair and don’t discriminate against felons.
If the hiring manager of your preferred restaurant finds your criminal record, you have nothing to fear. As long as you have not lied about your past, it will not change their opinion of you.
When you eventually face the restaurant manager at an interview, don’t try to blame anyone for your past crime. Just be honest and do not mince words about why you went to jail.
When answering questions about your past, focus on the positive aspects. Talk about your volunteer work, qualifications, and other good references.
If you sell yourself well, your criminal record will not matter, and you will get the job you want.