There’s no better feeling for a person that is out of work to hear, “We would like for you to come in for an interview for the position that you applied for.” You are now ecstatic, thinking that maybe you will now be able to pay your bills and take care of your family. The day of the interview arrives you’re dressed for the part. After the interview you know that you won the hiring manager over with your answers to his/her questions, sure you got the job. Then the hiring manager says to you “the offer is contingent upon a drug test and background check”.
That once strong feeling of confidence is now gone, replaced with doubt and grief. You take the drug test knowing that you passed that without a problem, the background check is a completely different story. A few days go by and not a word form the company, a week goes by and still nothing. You know that you did great in the interview process; you know where the problem is. Once that week goes by you give up on that job and start to let depression set in.
If you have the right people in your corner they will not let you get too far down in the dumps, they will be there to lift you up. My word of advice for you is, do not quit. The first thing you have to do as a felon, accept that you are one. You made a mistake somewhere in your past and you cannot change that; nobody is going to let you forget that, especially the job market. What can you do to find employment?
Keep looking for jobs: do not stop because someone said “no” or you did not hear anything back from employers.
Network: call your family and friends and see if they know a company, a friend or a family member that is hiring.
Once you have used up those resources, do not worry there are still more out there.
Start your own business: If no one is going to hire you, then you hire yourself.
Remember that a door is not going to knock itself down; you must stay consistent, and have thick skin. What happened in your past, happened, no need to cry over it now. We all make mistake, no one walking this earth is perfect, it takes a strong person to admit their mistakes and move on with their life. From my personal experience, I know companies out there that hire felons, waiting for you to apply. Check with your state laws to see what you can do in regards to getting your record expunged/sealed. There is a procedure called a Certificate of Relief form that you may be eligible for as well. Once those jobs start calling for interviews, remember a few points…
DO NOT LIE: I cannot stress that enough. I know that it may seem that nothing is going right for you in the job market field, lying is the worst thing you can do. As a felon myself the first thing I look for on an application is “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” These companies will do a background check regardless, lying will make you seem as though you have not changed. Honesty will be admitting what you did, you may not get the job but you were honest and that goes a long way in people’s eyes.
Dress the part: If you do not have a nice pair of slacks, shirt, tie and shoes, then borrow some or head out to a goodwill or Salvation Army. Remember it is always good to ask for help. This is your future we are talking about, pride is out the window. Please be well-groomed.
Show up a few minutes early: If your interview is at 11am then be there at 10:45am, promptness shows initiative, which is always a good look to a future employer.
Smile: Let them know that life hasn’t totally beaten you down, firm handshake, good morning/afternoon, sir/ma’am, direct eye contact, let them know you mean business.
No matter what you done prior to this point in your life, no job are too small: Get in that door, however you can get in then work your way up to where you think you belong. As a felon, we have to sell ourselves a little more than others do.
Leave with pride and your head held high regardless of the outcome.
Our crimes, criminal record, faults and problems will never define the true person that we are; it just shows that we made mistakes in life. I made .70 cents a day in prison, taught me the meaning of hard work and dedication. Never let another person who has not walked in your shoes try to define who they think you are, and tell you what you cannot do in life. There are opportunities out there, do not wait for someone to hand them to you, you have to want them and then go get it.