Not everyone interested in criminal justice and criminology jobs has what it takes to get hired. The long hiring process, the inherent dangers associated with many available careers, and the physical rigors that come with the jobs all take a toll on otherwise qualified candidates.
For some people, though, the biggest impediment to landing a criminal justice job is their own past.
Extensive background checks for many jobs mean that if you have any questionable marks in your background, agencies may pass on your application. However, that doesn't mean you don't have a chance. There are some ways you can overcome the issues in your past that otherwise might keep you from getting hired. If a background check reveals red flags from your past that disqualify you, find out exactly what it is that's keeping you from getting hired.
Call your background investigator or hiring contact and ask for the information. Many departments allow for some sort of appeals process so you can present your side of the story. Once you know why an agency doesn't want to take a chance, you can attempt to explain the circumstances around the issue and present an argument as to why you've learned from the mistake and that it won't occur again. The best way to appeal is through a very respectful and professional letter.
Don’t Panic! Background Screening Explained
The tone should be contrite, not angry. Simply state your case and politely request reconsideration in light of the facts and circumstances you present. Many of us make mistakes when we're young, but life events help to change us and force us to grow up. Even if you're guilty of the kinds of youthful indiscretions that might otherwise keep you from getting hired, life-changing events can go a long way to showing that your past is truly behind you.
College graduation, military service, marriage, and welcoming a new child all are significant indicators that you are ready to change your ways. These sorts of life-changing events have a tendency to indicate maturity and, over time, can prove you are a better job candidate.
If you write a letter to request an appeal, be sure to include information about why and how your life has changed since those past mistakes. Volunteering and helping in your community is an excellent way to demonstrate that you've changed your ways, and it's also a good way to get the experience you're going to need to qualify for a lot of jobs.
The more you can do to highlight the good, caring, and helpful person you really are, the better.
Can You Dispute a Background Check?
It's also important to be patient. For some disqualifiers, letting time pass is sometimes the only way to get to a place where you can get hired. If you had an issue such as prior drug use, for example, agencies may be much more inclined to take a chance if it was several years ago as opposed to several months ago.
No matter how badly you want the job, there may be times when it becomes apparent that it's just not in the cards for you.How to make sure you don't have an unexpected failed background check
Whatever issues are preventing you from getting hired, there is wisdom in knowing when to move on to other opportunities. When and if that time comes, know that it simply means it may not be the right job for you. Criminology Careers Job Market Tips.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you.
We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what.
Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities.
We will get through this together. It could be your worst nightmare: you apply for your dream job only to find out that a negative background check is costing you the job. But what happens if the information in the background check is wrong? Background checks gather information from a variety of sources, including credit reporting agencies and criminal history records.
If there is a mistake in your background check, then your first step is to lodge a dispute with the background screening company. If there are errors in your credit reports or criminal history records, then you will need to go ahead and raise your dispute with the organization that maintains those records.
Many screening companies have online or paper dispute forms you can fill in, but otherwise you should call the company. It might be that the error is with a credit reporting agency or public agency.
If the error is with a credit reporting agency, dispute the false information through their online system or send them a letter. If the mistake is with your state bureau of Identification, call or mail them instead. If a screening company refuse to investigate or correct errors with their own system, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. For more tips from our Legal co-author, including how to dispute incorrect details of a civil action, read on.
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How to dispute background check errors that cost you a job
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. There are 26 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
Explore this Article Finding Errors.Time may not be on your side, though, so if you see something wrong you must act quickly.
Here what action you can take if you find out something is wrong on your background check report:. Credit Information — If you were notified by a potential employer that something negative turned up on your credit report, you can request a free credit report from any agency who complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA. You may need to provide additional information to verify your identity.
Then ask them to contact your screening agency to re-verify the information. Criminal Background Information — Cases of misidentification can be cleared by contacting the courthouse where the supposed offense happened and requesting a security clearance. You may need to provide personal identifying information to verify your identity and pay a fee for this service. Adverse Action is, essentially, when an employer decides not to hire an applicant based on the information in the background check.
You have a legal right to know what your background check results were and why they negatively affected your job prospect. This is called pre-adverse action. Pre-adverse action guidelines dictate that a job applicant must be given:. Once pre-adverse action notice is completed, employers can review the information and ask job applicants to explain any red flags.
During this time, you can ask to correct any negative information in your report. Again, keep in mind that while you CAN correct erroneous informationan employer is under no obligation to HOLD a job for you while you do this.
What other questions about background checks do you have for us? Know of anyone applying for jobs right now? Make sure to forward this post to them so they know what rights they have when it comes to background checks. Can You Dispute a Background Check? Mind blown?? Here what action you can take if you find out something is wrong on your background check report: Credit Information — If you were notified by a potential employer that something negative turned up on your credit report, you can request a free credit report from any agency who complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA.
Search Search for:. Send Me Pricing Plans. Schedule a Live Demo.Resources articles. Sometimes, though, the information reported by county courts, credit reporting agencies, and other sources contains errors. We know background checks play an important role in the hiring process. In the event you do find incorrect information on your check, you have the right to dispute that information with the background check company that provided the results.
You might have to call or write the company that performed the background check to start the dispute process. When viewing your results, simply select the criminal records that are inaccurate, provide any additional information, and click Submit. GoodHire will investigate your dispute and let you know the outcome within 30 to 45 days as the law requires — typically sooner. If we find that the information is not correct, we will fix it and give you and the employer a copy of the updated background check.
You should file a dispute as soon as you spot a mistake so that the employer who ran the report is aware of inaccuracies that may affect their decision to hire you. The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws. Pricing Contact Sales: 1. Get Started. October 7, LinkedIn Twitter Facebook.You were getting ready to add the person to your staff when the background check results revealed a deal breaker.
Now what? Can you just toss that application and move on to the next? Not so fast! Legally, you need to follow an adverse action process to notify them. Using an adverse action process can protect you from costly lawsuits. Having the right procedures in place can benefit your hiring process.
Some business owners feel uncomfortable telling a job applicant they failed a background check. It sets specific standards for how you should notify them. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides guidelines for candidates with criminal histories. Following these guidelines gives each applicant a fair chance at being hired and keeps you out of legal trouble.
An adverse action process protects your business from legal issues, but it does more than that. It helps you make better hiring decisions. The adverse action process stops you from making hasty hiring decisions. Instead of deciding immediately, the process forces you to wait and allow the candidate to respond. Response time gives the applicant a chance to correct inaccurate information. It also allows them to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Once you have all the facts, you can make the right decision. As a result, an adverse action process is beneficial to your business. It opens up your hiring pool to talented people you may have overlooked.
An adverse action process needs to comply with various laws and general best practices. Your business might already have a hiring process.
An adverse action process can fit right in with your existing hiring system. Do you have the right process in place? Using an adverse action process protects your business from legal trouble.
It also forces you to think in depth about your hiring decisions. Just a few necessary steps will protect your company from legal problems and give talented applicants a second chance. Take the frustration out of hiring decisions by creating and using an adverse action process.
She has worked in the background screening industry for over 15 years and holds Advanced Certification in the Fair Credit Reporting Act from the National Association of Professional Background. How can you create your own adverse action process? You can send this notice in the mail or by email.
A waiting period gives the applicant time to dispute any inaccuracies or explain the results. Keep in mind that some cities and states require a longer waiting period than others.
Research your state and local laws before deciding on your waiting period.Many employers conduct criminal background checks on potential job candidates. Because these background checks are usually done by running your name and date of birth through a criminal database, it's possible for your information to get tangled up with someone else's. If this happens, you are protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under the FCRA, you have a right to dispute any inaccurate information appearing on your credit report or criminal background reports.
Determine what was reported. A prospective employer is not responsible for the information appearing on your criminal background check. However, she might notify you of reported information that causes you to miss a job opportunity. Under the FCRA, you can request one free copy of your criminal background report each year from each background reporting agency. Explain to the prospective employer that the information on your background check is incorrect.
Explain why it is incorrect and ask for time to resolve the matter. The employer may or may not oblige your request. Submit a formal dispute. The exact protocol for submitting a dispute varies, depending upon the screening agency. However, it usually involves submitting a written letter explaining that you disagree with information listed on your report. Be specific about which information is incorrect. State why the information is incorrect. Attach a copy of your criminal background report along with any documentation you have proving the information is wrong.
Create a paper trail to prove you submitted a dispute. Make a copy of the dispute letter and all accompanying documentation, before sending it to the company. Keep the copies for your own records.Then you spent hours on phone interviews and had the top candidates come in for lengthy in-person interviews. You spent even more hours meeting with your staff and choosing the best applicant. All of the time you put into this new employee seems absolutely worthwhile until — they fail the background check.
First things first, you will want to reexamine the background check results to ensure that the check was run on the correct person. Work with your screening company to verify that all of the information on the employee matches exactly. This is especially important with people that have common last names like Smith, Thomas or Jones. In these cases, even the middle initial can be the same so you will want to verify date of birth, addresses and any other pertinent information to be sure the results of the background check are for the right person.
If you find out that there was a mistake in identity, re-run the background check on the correct person and cross your fingers that this time you get a clean check. Next you will want to confirm that any adverse actions that came back on your new employee are valid.
Once again, work with your screening company to determine if any criminal records reported are accurate. Your screening company should have verified that any adverse actions were valid on the report before delivering the results, but you as the employer also have a responsibility to confirm that the checks were in place. You will want to find out if the background check company used a court runner to verify the results as well.
Court runners are people that physically go to the court house to manually pull any criminal records and verify that they are accurate. For some reason, the county has not updated the electronic file yet and it still shows that the case is open. This is where a court runner can be extremely important. The court runner will be able to pull the physical paperwork, determine the status of the case and report the results to the background check company. Now what?
What is your policy on criminal records? Not every criminal offense is a deal-breaker when it comes to obtaining employment. Was the offense minor or major? How does the offense relate to the position that the employee was hired for?
These are things that need to be taken into consideration before you just throw away all of the work done to choose that employee in the first place. Also, did you supply your employee with proper paperwork advising them that the employment offer was valid pending the background check results? Once all of these checks have been completed, it is time to notify your employee of the results that came back. This is done through a pre-adverse action letter and in many cases is done by the background check company as part of their services.
Once the employee has received notification of pre-adverse action, this is their last chance to win you over. They have the right to dispute any of the data on the report or provide an explanation on the circumstances of the offense.
Maybe they can convince you that there was a good reason behind the offense or that they are still worth keeping on despite the results of the background check. If after you have reviewed your policies, notified the employee and discussed the situation with your employee, you feel that this employee is no longer the right fit for your company, then the final step is to send the adverse action letter.