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Showing posts with label background check. Show all posts
Showing posts with label background check. Show all posts

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use
Ex-offenders and felons have a very tough time finding jobs and even getting interviews.  That's no secret, so when an interview finally comes, they should put themselves in the best possible position to get hired.  While we all know that the applicant wants the job, the interviewer has a responsibility to hire the best person available.

In my career that spans more than thirty years, I have have seen and used a number of tricks that interviewers use to get through all of the rehearsing and other things applicants use to put themselves in the best light.  These tricks are used to make applicants reveal who the really are.  Often these tricks go unnoticed. I am going to share with you my all time favorite interviewer tricks.

1.  The Waiting Game - I have seen applicants been made to wait up to an hour to be interviewed.  What I have learned is that the longer people wait, the more they become themselves.  The combination of nerves and aggravation will reveal true personalities.  Whether it is using bad language, complaining, or engaging in inappropriate conversation, this is a true test.  I have even seen applicants flirt with the receptionist, employees and other applicants thus exposing parts of their character.  No matter how long you have to wait, stay professional at all times.

2.  Just One of the Guys - Some interviewers will present themselves as really friendly types that throw formality out of the window.  This often will make the applicant relax (sometimes too much,) which causes them to let their guards down.  When guards come down, things slip out.  I teach my students never to reveal too much information especially about their criminal backgrounds or other errors in judgement.  Never offer information that isn't asked. The interview is not the place to tell your life story or talk about all of mistakes you have made in your life.  Never talk about personal problems, habits, or relationships issues.  Be personable but never tell more than anyone needs to know.  Never talk about to religion, politics, or sex.  Even If the interviewer brings them subjects up, these are not discussions you want to get into.  Never, ever use slang or profanity.

3.  The Big Squeeze -  This neat little trick I use to when I ask applicants into my office. I stand partially in the doorway, forcing the other person turn sideways to squeeze by.  In the few seconds it takes to squeeze by, I get a lot of information.  I can get a hint about the individual's personal hygiene, if they have smoked recently or even taken a drink.  Many employers shy away from hiring smokers.  Smokers require more breaks than non-smokers.  Smokers have more health problems than non-smokers.  If you do smoke, do not smoke before your interview.  If you have alcohol on your breath, forget it!

4.  Hold up! Don't sit down! -  To many people, respect and manners count for a lot and some interviewers will test this a number of ways.  My favorite is sitting down and waiting to see what the applicant does.  My office is like my house.  If he sits down without being invited, it may be because he lacks social graces or he is simply disrespectful.  When you get to the interview area, always wait until the interviewer asks you to be seated.  If he doesn’t offer, politely ask “May I sit?”  Never touch the interviewer’s desk or put anything on it.

5.  Butter Fingers -  Another one of my favorite personality revealers is very subtle but it tells a lot.  I may drop a pen or other small object.  If the applicant picks it up, more than likely, the person is a caring, helpful individual.  If he doesn't, it usually means he cares only about himself.

 Top Five Job Interview Mistakes Ex-offenders and Felons make 

The next five are not really tricks, but they are clever ways  interviewers weed out applicants with questions.

6.   Have you Done Your Homework? -  Often interviewers ask "What do you know about our company?"  Interviewers ask this because they want to know if you are serious about working with them. If you haven't prepared for the interview by doing some research on the company, it will show.

It would appear that you are very interested in the job just by doing some research.  Some things you should find out:

How old is the company.

Number of locations

Number of employees

What the company business

Who is the competition?

If it is a large company, you may find this information on the internet or the library.  If you are interviewing with a small local business, you may get the information from the receptionist if you call.

7.  Money, Money, Money -  "How much money are you looking for?"  This is a tricky question that is used to disqualify applicants.  It's tricky because if you give a dollar amount that is too low, you may be paid less than others doing the same job.  If you give an amount that is too high, you may disqualify yourself.  I teach my students to never talk about money until someone offers them a job.  So, the response may be "Are you offering me this job?"  Whether the answer is yes or no, the response should be something like this, "I want to be paid fairly.  I know you will make me a fair offer."    If that answer is not enough, remember no dollar amounts, you should answer, "I want as much as you can afford to pay me."

8.  I'm Feeling Weak - We all have gotten the question, "What is your greatest strength?" and we pretty much know how to handle that one.  People have a a lot of trouble with the follow question which is sure to follow- "What is your biggest weakness?"  Most people blow that one because they forget that the interview is used to sell yourself.  With that in mind, do you think I would be foolish enough to tell you about a real fault of mine that might cost me the opportunity to get a job?  Interviewers count on it!  Every has weaknesses, but don't not tell the interviewer anything that can be used against you.  There are two ways to handle this.  You can present a strength you have as a weakness or you can offer a technical weakness as long as it has nothing to do with the job.  You might say "I get really upset at myself when I don't finish everything on time." It looks like a weakness, but it come across really well because it tells how important it is for you to finish thing promptly.   The second option is to offer a technical weakness (as long as it has nothing to do with the job."  It may sound like this, "I want to brush up on my writing skills.  I write ok, but I want to get better."

9.  Bossy, Bossy - This question is used to spot a troublemaker and it works every time, "Tell me about the worst boss you've ever had?" Under no circumstances should you ever say anything negative about any past job or supervisor.  To an interviewer, only a troublemaker would speak ill of former job or company. In the mind of the interviewer, you were a problem.  That's why you are no longer there.   It's ok to quit a job or even get fired and there are positive ways to explain even a not so great situation.  You might say something like.  "I have had bosses, some better than others.  I have learned something from all of them even if it is what not to do."

10. I have a Question - The final one is a question that is not tricky at all, but an interviewer can find out a lot about what on an applicant's mind with it.    "Do you have any questions for me?"  I am amazed how often applicants answer "no" to this question.  By answering "no" job searchers pass up a golden opportunity to finish off on an extremely high note.  Some really great questions are:

Why is this position open?

What are the day to day duties of this position?

 hat are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this job?

What are the opportunities for advancement?

Did you know I can be bonded?  (Federal Bonding Program)

By asking questions like these the interviewer will get the impression that you are interested in more than just a paycheck, which looks really good.

Ex-offenders and felons have a tough time getting interviews so when they come, they have to make them count.  These are some clever tricks that a seasoned interviewer would use to find out more about the person sitting in front of them than what they are saying.  Now you will recognize them when you encounter them and make them work to your advantage!

Best of luck on your interview!

Jobs for Felons: Dirty Little Tricks Interviewers Use

  Jobs for Felons: Preparing to ace the Interview

Jobs for ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs : What to wear to the interview

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Are you an ex-offender or felon who has a question about finding a job with a criminal record?  I have been helping ex-offenders and felons get jobs for over ten years and I feel I have an understanding of what works. I will be updating this blog often. I will answer specific questions relating to getting a job with a criminal record on this blog so feel free to send me your questions.   The right information could help felons get jobs.  You could have your question answered right here. Email your question to:

If you are a felon and really serious about getting a job or you want to help someone you care about get a job, check out this link: From Jail to a Job 

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use

Jobs for Felons: Ten Tricks Interviewers Use

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Jobs for Ex-offenders: Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help

 Jobs for Ex-offenders:  Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help

Hello. I was looking online and came across your page. I'm a black female age 34. Two years ago I was 8 months pregnant and the father of my child decided to beat me up right in his front doorway. To get away I broke the living room window right next to his doorway and got away as quick as I could. He called the police I assume because he knew if I beat him to it it would fall on him. I wasn't arrested but had to go back and fourth to court and the stress was causing issues with my pregnancy because I was due to have my daughter. My lawyer told me my options. He said if I wanted to get it over with I could plea guilty and just get a misdemeanor which wouldn't affect me going back to work.  Evidently it has because I'm emailing you. I'm getting turned down left and right because I have a misdemeanor in criminal mischief 4th degree. I have been working since I was 13 and not being able to find a job is taking a toll on me. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.



 Jobs for Ex-offenders:  Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help

Hello Roxie,

Not to diminish how you feel, but there are ex-offenders and felons being hired everyday with far worse convictions than yours.  Your lack of success may be more attributed to your approach than your conviction.

Many ex-offenders and felons do not get interviews because they make mistakes on applications.  Your first contact with an employer may be filling out an application.  Employers use applications to decide who to interview and who not to interview. 

Ex-offenders and felons often have a dilemma. "Do I tell the truth and risk not getting an interview?" "Do I lie and hope that no one finds out?" I advise my students to always be honest.  If you are dishonest about having a criminal record, you risk having the truth exposed later.  You may get a job only to lose it after the

employer finds out the truth through a background check or some other means.  You will be fired for being dishonest and falsifying your application not because you have a criminal record.

To give yourself the best chance of getting an interview, you must understand how applications work.  Here are tips to completing an application that will get you an interview.

Follow directions.  Always read the entire application before you begin.  If there is anything you do not understand, ask for an explanation.

Be neat.  Print very clearly using blue or black ink only.  If you don't print well, ask if you may take the application home and bring it back.  Get someone who has neat handwriting to help you.  Always ask for an extra application just in case something goes wrong.  Never, never, never use white out on an application.  Using White out will nullify some applications.  To be on the safe side use an erasable pen.  Never crumple or fold the application.

Answer all questions.  If there are questions that do not apply to you, use the notation “N/A” meaning “not applicable.”  This will let the employer know that you did not overlook the question.  It just did not apply to you.  Completeness counts.  If you have a resume, attach it to the application.  Do not attempt to use the resume in place of a completed application.

Be honest.  Providing false information may be grounds for dismissal later.


Use your legal name.  No nicknames or aliases. 

Social Security Number

If you don't know your social security number, or don’t have the physical card, go to your local Social Security Administration office.  It is listed in the blue pages of your local telephone directory.  You will definitely need this card when you get a job offer.


Use your current address.  Some applications ask for a previous address.  If you do not have a permanent address, ask to use an address of a friend or relative.

Telephone Number

The employer must have a quick and easy way of getting in touch with you.  You must have a telephone number on the application.  If you do not have access to a telephone, I suggest you make arrangements with someone to take messages for you.  Some applications have a space for a message number.  If you find one that does not, simply place the letter “M” before the telephone number.  Ex. M (555) 555-5555.  This will make it clear that the number is for messages.  If you use a cell number, be sure to have a professional sounding message.

How Did You Hear About Our Company?

The employer may want to know how you found out about the company or the opening.  Typical responses are:

Newspaper Ad

Referred by someone (give the person’s name.)


Position Applied For

Be precise about the position you are applying for.  Have a particular job in mind when you apply.  If you are uncertain, contact the company to ask  exactly which positions are available.

Date You Can Start

Never answer “immediately” or “ASAP.”  If you are available today, use today’s date or a date that you will be available.

Salary Desired

I encourage my students to never list a dollar figure.  Never talk about pay or benefits until someone offers you a job.  You may use a figure that is too high and may not be considered because you are asking for more than the position pays.  You may use a figure that is too low and undervalue yourself.  To be safe, use the term “negotiable.”  This means that you will discuss salary when an offer is made.


Starting with your most recent training, list any courses, workshops, seminars, or employment training.

General Information/Special Skills

List any special skills you have that will be of use to an employer. 

Work History

List your past jobs in order beginning with the most recent and work you way backward.  Use the month and year that the job began for you, and the month and year the job ended for you.  If you are unsure of employers and dates, you can contact your local Social Security Administration office.  If your past jobs were on the record, the Social Security Administration should have this information.  You will also need the former employer’s address, telephone number, and supervisor’s name.  Often the application will ask for the name of the position and your pay rate for each job. 

The application will also ask for you to describe your duties, and reason for leaving.  Accepted reasons for leaving are:

Left for better position




Business closed

Seasonal position

Temporary position

Never use the words “fired” or “terminated” if you left a job unfavorably.  “Released,” “involuntary separation,” or “contract ended,”  sound a whole lot better.


Employment applications often will ask for references.  Check out this link to an article about References:

Good References help Ex-offenders and Felons get Jobs

Service Record

If you have military experience, list the branch of service, date, and rank of discharge.

Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Crime?

This question is the worst part of any ex-offender’s job hunt.  I have spoken to people who have taken classes that have instructed them to use the response “Will discuss at interview.”  In my opinion, this is not a good thing to do.  The best advice I can give is BE HONEST!  Employers have a responsibility to know as much as possible about potential employees.

Many applications have a Certification/Release Statement that the applicant must sign before the application is accepted.  You'll recognize it as a long paragraph in small print at the end of the application directly above the space for your signature. Read it carefully before you sign. This statement may also be called an Authorization.  The wording may vary but the employer is asking you to certify with your signature that all of the information you have given is correct.  The answer “Will discuss at interview,” does not answer the question.  Another part of this certification is a release that gives the employer access to information provided by past employers, law enforcement agencies, schools and other organizations that may have information about you.

In reference to criminal records, it is necessary to list all relative information.  Include the name of the conviction, date, location, and the disposition (time served, fine and/or probation.) 


Criminal Mischief 4th degree.    6/19/2011    Seattle, WA     Probation Served (6 mos.)

You may have to practice to fit your response into the space given. 

I hope information is helpful.  Best of luck! 

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Jobs for Felons: Female Felons Dress for Interview Success

Eric Mayo

Jobs for Ex-offenders: Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help

Jobs for Ex-offenders:  Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help


Jobs for Ex-offenders:  Lady Ex-offender Needs Job Search Help

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs

Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs

Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs
Dear Mr. Mayo,

I enjoyed the new clip of those 13 in Illinois that have taken the
next set with working towards showing society that people can change.
I am in the process of working towards writing a pardon letter to the
governor of North Carolina.  For a long time I thought that I was not
able to vote cause of my felony and in the last few days that I found
out that I'm able to vote even as an ex-felon.  Which made me happy.
But the deli ma that I'm running into regularly is my background for
employment.  Even though my Felony is over 16years old I'm still faced
with the statement of felon.  I have put it on application no to the ones that have stipulated a year limitation of 5, 7, or 10 years; those that have no limitation  I have to answer yes too.

When I have applied for Government and State jobs even Hospitals and Security jobs. For example I applied to a Security Company in Virginia and I was told by the officer that interview me that if it was up to him it would not matter that I had a felon cause it was 16years ago.  But the company that they were contracting for didn't want any of there candidates to have a record period.  Yet I have not heard anything
back from that company for any work at all.  Or when I have applied for a Government contract company CGI they set a formal letter to me stating that due to my background I was not selected.  Even when I
applied for UPS when I was asked that question face to face; I was told by the interview that if it was up to her she would overlook my background but it would be in my best interest to not so willfully
give out that information when she herself was only the middle man and someone over her would be the one to make the decision of yes or no.  It makes me feel like my application is just thrown in the trash.
 I downloaded your book and the steps were very helpful.  When it came to finding work, which I did but trying to find something better than minimum wage is like a needle in a hay stack.

Currently I will be re-enrolling back in to school online for my Associates Degree in Health Information Technician (Medical Billing and Encoding).  With a degree I think that I would have a better chance as
far as the skill the employer could be looking for.  The one thing that hangs over my head is the background check.  I think this Pardon will at least allow me a better chance of being employed with the
Government and State level.  With documentation of the Pardon they would at least have to give me a fighting chance.  Which is something that I'm not finding even here in the Washington, DC Maryland area.
I would greatly appreciate any advice that you might have or some suggestions that you could provide to me in the pursuit of my pardon.

This is something new to me and I would like to make sure that I'm taking the right steps in this matter.

Thank you for your time.


Ms. Tracie

Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs

Hello Ms. Tracie,

Even though you are pursuing a pardon, don't abandon your job search.  You should stay on your plan.  Bear in mind, no matter how old your conviction is, it will always be visible to the court system, law enforcement and government agencies.  This may the reason you are having trouble obtaining a government opportunity or getting a job with a company with a government contract.

I first suggest contacting your local United Way office.  The United Way supports may social service agencies, some of which assist ex-offenders and felons.  As I stated in my book (From Jail to a Job,) one of the most underutilized resources in many of our communities is the local One-stop Career Center.  The center has resources that can help ex-offenders and felons get jobs.  You can get help preparing a resume, find a list of open positions in your area and even assistance finding and paying for career training.  You can even get information on getting a federal bond that could help you get hired.  There are also counselors that provide one-on-one assistance.  Many counselors have experience working with ex-offenders and felons.

You can find your nearest One-stop Career here:
The best information that I give all ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs is to apply for every job they are qualified for.

I hope this helps.

Where can ex-offenders and convicted felons find jobs  

Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs


 Felon hoping a pardon will help get jobs

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