Will Companies Still Consider a Job Seeker with a Criminal Record?

What are the chances for job candidates in possession of a criminal record to secure employment? In this post, we look at the risks and opportunities involved.

If the criminal record is founded and related to the job function the person needs to perform, for example, an arrest for fraud and embezzlement, the candidate should not be given a position in the banking or financial sector.

Similarly, a transport driver under arrest for drinking under the influence should not be hired in a driving-related job.

However, if the crime committed has got nothing to do with the offence, the candidate should not be prevented from being considered for employment.

Unfortunately, I know of many professionals who were given a criminal record for minor offences. Having a criminal record attached to their names is preventing them from accessing the desired employment opportunities.

Even a minor offence, such as being caught speeding, can attract a criminal listing and decrease or limit your chances of employment. Although driving may not be part of your job requirements, you will find that you are not considered for a relevant position because of having a criminal record.

In another case, one of my candidates has been awaiting a pending offer from a client for the past eight months. He cannot be appointed until his name is cleared after a  misunderstanding regarding shoplifting (his toddler son took an unpaid item from the store without him noticing). He has been waiting for a court date for more than eight months to get his criminal record removed to start the new position.

That said, it is important and necessary that employers and recruiters perform background checks and criminal records verification before considering a candidate for a relevant position.

Criminal records remain the most frequently requested checks in South Africa by employers, according to a recent report background screening company, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).

Based on MIE’s data, 9.91% of candidates were found to have a criminal or pending criminal record from the total of 724.507 criminal checks conducted during 2017. Over 52.000 (7.18%) candidates whose criminal records were checked had lied about having a record.

Other misrepresented or incorrect information in candidate CV and profiles include skills, previous job titles and employment period, responsibilities, employment history, and the reason for leaving the company.

Find out more about the MIE research and statistics from the source

Professional Sourcing is a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

Our agency specialises in professional placements (senior and specialist talent) and exclusive skills recruitment to a wide range of industries, including JSE’s top 100 companies, SMEs and the Public Sector. -- Patricia Jacobs

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