Getting a job can be very difficult for a felon. However, you should not let the rejection deter you. Approach the job market as a normal candidate, working on your strengths and weaknesses.
You can get white-collar jobs as well as jobs requiring specific skill sets. Many convicted felons establish themselves as skilled carpenters, barbers, car mechanics, and electricians.
Decide your priorities and proceed. You would typically have to appear at an interview for white-collar jobs. And the following interview tips will help you succeed.
<h2> Accept responsibility for your past </h2>
Prepare yourself for answers to questions about your past. First of all, you should not lie. Interviewers always watch body language closely, and lying would disqualify you.
Besides, they can always know the truth by corroborating your claims with public criminal records. Lying in interviews is a strict negative for any jobseeker, even more so for ex-felons.
What should you do? Keep your response strictly matter-of-fact. Admit that you have made wrong decisions, but avoid getting into a lengthy story about your conviction. Most importantly, don’t shift the blame to someone else.
Avoid trying to get the employer’s sympathy by projecting yourself as a victim of circumstance. Instead, emphasize that you have left your past behind and are looking forward to a fresh start.
Following such an approach significantly increases your chances of getting hired. Firstly, you come off as an honest individual. Employers always look for people who can be trusted both professionally and personally. Also, this approach ensures that you can be responsible for your decisions.
Any job role would require you to accept responsibility, especially if you made a mistake. Mistakes happen, and these should be approached as lessons rather than setbacks.
<h2> Emphasize affirmative body language </h2>
Maintaining affirmative body language during interviews is vital for ex-felons. Remember that your every move will be under thorough scrutiny, especially because you are an ex-convict. Remember the golden rule: body language inside prison does not apply to a job interview.
You cannot afford to be rude or arrogant to anyone on the office premises. At no point should you hold a grudge against society and reflect that in your approach.
Your appearance is a critical aspect of the interview, so avoid dressing casually. Avoid hoodies, headgear, shades, and bling. Wear formal attire that does a good job of concealing your prison tattoos.
Don’t wear accessories that tend to make a powerful non-verbal statement. Also, take off your piercings when you are going for an interview. Keep things low-key and be confident.
Your persona does not necessarily depend on your clothes and accessories. Confidence comes from the integrity of character, and you can express it irrespective of the dress you are wearing.
Offer a firm handshake and a friendly smile to the interviewer. Maintain eye contact but avoid a threatening gaze. You don’t want to alarm the employer or anyone else at the office, especially during the interview.
<h2> Consider your options before responding to interview questions </h2>
Remember that you only get one shot at answering interview questions correctly. Your answers will ultimately decide whether you get the job. Therefore, take your time and listen attentively to the question first.
Do not hurry to respond, and take your time to think of the best reply. Give a moment of thought to the question, and be truthful. Make every effort to clarify your position as a strong candidate who knows what he is saying.
Avoid using fillers during the interview. If you are unsure about a response, keep it brief. Also, do not repeat your statements to give lengthy answers. Employers want to hear curt responses that are to the point.
Be extremely attentive while responding to questions regarding your crime and conviction period. Never glorify life in crime, and always stick to the motto that crime does not pay. As for queries on your jail time, try to draw out both the good and bad aspects of the experience.
Prison terms are harrowing, but they also allow convicts to self-reflect. Also, jails teach people the value of self-discipline, teamwork, determination, and how to deal with hard knocks. All these valuable lessons should come up in your response during the interview.
<h3> Retain your cool at all times </h3>
Anyone with a criminal background would agree that anger led them to do what they did. Excess anger is impulsive, hateful, and can cause grievous injuries to you and your loved ones.
Anger is also a type of insanity. Always keep yourself cool-headed in life, especially when you are an ex-convict. Your temper will be tested at every moment, and you must be able to sail through it calmly.
The percentage of incarcerated people in communities of color is much higher than of white people. Racial prejudice can be a source of immense angst and violent thoughts.
Your interviewer may be a person with prejudice. Therefore, if you encounter slant questions affecting your self-respect, play it cool. Racial issues can come up all of a sudden, even when you least expect them.
Maintain your integrity, but avoid getting into a fight.
Answer calmly and stress the fact that it is unfair to make assumptions based on the color of skin. At the same time, do honest self-reflection to see if you are not carrying the same prejudice in a different color. Avoid sending out threats or losing your sanity in a violent fit.
If you think the interview is not going well, simply walk away and prepare yourself for the next interview. Many folks choose to opt for group therapy and anger management sessions to practice how to keep their cool. You may want to look up those resources online before preparing for the interview.
<h2> Last words </h2>
Getting a proper job can be stressful for an ex-convict. However, it is not impossible, and many felons have been able to establish themselves successfully in society. Always try to have a positive attitude to get through life, and the rest will fall into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Ultimately, your attitude towards the job will determine if you will get it over your competitors.