3 Downsides Of Having Convictions On Your Criminal Record
Having a criminal record can have some disadvantages when it comes to applying for a new job but it certainly doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find work.
In fact, there is government legislation in place to make sure that reformed criminals are not discriminated against in the job market, in the form of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
If you or someone you know is in the position of applying for a job after serving a sentence for a conviction, you may be interested in this article which will list some of the downsides of having a criminal record, but also some of the things you can do to lessen the negative consequences.
1. Some employers will request details of the conviction.
Some employers include a section on the application form that asks for any details of criminal convictions or problems with the law. The employer may use this to filter out applicants, although under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 the individual is not required to disclose details of spent convictions or cautions.
If the conviction or caution is unspent, but there are circumstances surrounding the crime that may provide some reassurance to a potential employer, you can include a cover letter with the application explaining the situation or things you have done since to show that you have rehabilitated from the crime.
Even if the employer doesn’t include a section on the application form for criminal record details, they may request a DBS check will highlight any convictions. The DBS certificate will detail the date, type, and sentence of the offence.
The employer or recruitment company will decide whether to proceed to an interview based on the result of the DBS check. Never try to hide any details of convictions, it’s best to disclose them upfront as it will look worse if they are revealed at a later date.
2. Difficulties with foreign travel
Many employers are willing to give reformed criminals or people who made a one-off mistake that ended up in a conviction a chance at employment. However, even if they are willing to give you a chance, there are sometimes other factors that may get in the way.
For instance, if the job role requires foreign travel, a criminal conviction on your record may get in the way. In some cases, details of criminal convictions need to be declared to customs officials or border control when travelling abroad. This is especially true if a visa is needed to work or live there.
Although it often depends on the nature and severity of the crime, there is a chance that you will be denied entry to the country or delayed at the border. This could be a deal-breaker for some employers, especially if foreign travel is a major requirement of the role.
3. Safeguarding issues
If the conviction is related to the mistreatment of children or vulnerable adults, then it’s likely that the individual will be placed on a DBS barred list which means that they cannot work in a role that is covered by a safeguarding policy.
The DBS defines some roles as “regulated activities” which require an enhanced DBS check. The enhanced DBS check includes details of spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings, as well as relevant police notes and allegations on file.
Examples of Employers That Have Previously Recruited Convicted Criminals
Even if you have one or more convictions on your criminal record, it’s not impossible to find work, so don’t give up hope.
In fact, some companies, organisations, and charities are committed to helping reformed criminals find work in gainful employment. Here are just a few businesses and organisations that are well-known for giving people a second chance:
- Virgin Group
- Network Rail
- The New Futures Network
- Compass Group
- Co-operative Group
- Costain Group
- Enterprise Vehicle Rentals
- Pets at Home
This is just a small selection of employers that are known to be committed to diverse employment practices and will often look past criminal convictions during recruitment. The charity Unlock has a lot of information and advice for people with criminal convictions on their website.
It may feel like having a conviction on your criminal record is a real weight around your neck when it comes to applying for and being hired for employment, but it doesn’t mean you should give up hope.
There are plenty of employers out there that will give you a shot and if you have the right attitude and work ethic now, they are willing to look past previous wrongdoings.