5 Steps for Talking to Your Supervisor About Your Criminal Record

 photo Talking-to-Your-Supervisor-About-Your-Criminal-Record.jpg Employers have a legal right to ask, both before you’ve been hired and after, if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. There may also be situations in which you’ll need to bring up the subject without being asked. The following information will help you discuss your criminal history in the best possible way.

How to Tackle Conversations About Your Conviction History

When talking about your criminal history, remember these key points:

  1. Accept responsibility for your past actions rather than placing blame on someone else. “I made a bad decision” or “I used bad judgment,” for example, are better than “It wasn’t my fault,” or “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

  2. Express regret and talk about the lessons you’ve learned from past mistakes. For example:

    • "I’m not proud of what I’ve done. I wish that I’d listened more to what my family wanted for me instead of going along with the crowd."
    • "I lost sight of what was really important. I realize now that my thinking was all wrong."

  3. Explain that you’re now in control of your behavior and describe the positive changes you’ve made since the offense. Use examples to show that you’re not going to repeat the behavior.

    • "I respect myself enough to never let that happen again."
    • "I now think through the consequences of all my decisions before acting on them."
    • "It taught me to put my integrity and the good of my family and myself before everything else."

  4. State the positive changes you’ve made since the offense. These might include doing volunteer work, receiving your GED, taking computer classes, etc.

  5. Describe the steps you’ve taken to put the past behind you. Focus on the positive things in your life now. For example, you might start off by saying:

    • "I can’t undo the past, but I did learn from it and I won’t repeat the same mistakes."
    • "I’ve set new goals for myself, which I intend to work hard to achieve."
    • "I’m moving forward and committed to proving myself as a valuable employee."

Additional Tips

·      Keep your answers or explanations brief and to the point.
·      Stress the positives.
·      Soften the offense if possible. For example, instead of identifying your crime as burglary, you can say “’I took something that didn’t belong to me.”
·      Become comfortable talking about the offense by practicing with people you know and trust.
·      Don’t lie.
·      Don’t become defensive.
·      Don’t offer more information than necessary.

The better you communicate your criminal history in an honest and positive way, the more you’ll impress the interviewer or supervisor with whom you’re speaking. You’ll be looked upon as more sincere and trustworthy, allowing the employer to look beyond your past mistakes and see you for the person you are today.

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