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dealing with a past felony

By fungusAmongus ·
I'm a guy who has been programming C, C++/OOP and now PHP open source for about 20 years. I currently own my own business in a non-IT field, and its been doing pretty well for the last 3 years. I am currently looking at getting back into software development for the long-term good of my growing family.

I have a long resume of very good accomplishments (IBM Advanced Technologies, TransUnion, AT&T etc) in my field, and know C/C++ like the back of my hand (my recruiter told me I had one of the highest scores he has seen). I sent off resumes last week and have several recruiters already sending Authorization to Represent contracts.

Here is the problem...back in the heyday of IT madness (around 1998 or so), I got caught with a drug-possession felony (it was NOT pot or cocaine, but MDMA). I was going through a divorce and got caught up with a reckless crowd of younger women, and ended up with this charge.

Now, I am wondering if this transgression will doom me forever in IT land. It's not something I want to lead an interview with, but at some point BG checks will be done and it's surely better if I mention it first to eliminate the "surprise!" factor.

So what say you...can an ex-"felon" get a job in IT today, with the right skill set?? Or am I wasting my time because HR is going to bounce me no matter what?

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Omit from resume, but be honest

by DMambo In reply to dealing with a past fel ...

Based on past experience hiring, I would not try to dodge this question in an interview. Chances are that you'll be asked about the time gap, and above all, do not lie about it. If no gap shows on the resume, then bring it up when you've gotten to the point in the interview process where your considered a finalist.

It was nearly 10 years ago. Develop an "elevator speech" on how you've changed over that time and the impact it's had on your life. If you're sincere and sure that it's not going to happen again, that'll shine through.

Good luck, man.

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Depends on where you're applying, as well

by Maevinn In reply to Omit from resume, but be ...

No, I don't think it should be on your reume, but many places have a formal application that must be completed in addition to a resume, and every one of those that I've ever seen specifically ask if you have a felony conviction and a place to provide a full explanation. Obviously, lying, even by omission, is a no-no!

Legally, you CAN'T be discriminated against for the conviction. IRL? Depends on the place...And the HR. If the HR is squeeky clean, they'll be less likely to be understanding, despite 10 years clean. It wouldn't be enough to stop me from applying, though!

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by juasmith In reply to Depends on where you're a ...

Most companies will not hire someone with a criminal record (no matter what their qualifications) because their insurance company won't allow it.

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That seems argueable!

by jeroldo In reply to Insurance

I very much doubt that insurance companies can have much to say about prior felony convictions. While some companies do refuse to hire persons with a felony record, it has been my experience that two issues are of interest to a potential employer.

First, would be the nature of the crime and how would that relate to the job for which one is being considered. For example, would a public school system knowingly hire a convicted child-molester? Probably not. Another example; would a bank employ a person convicted of stealing money from her/his prior employer?

The other point most prospective employers would look very hard at is the potential employee's entire criminal history. A one-time event such as having been caught with a dose or two of something like Extasy neither demonstrates a true "criminal history" or any kind of likelihood that it will ever happen again. Especially if a lengthy period has elapsed since that conviction.

I say as others have, "go for it." If asked, don't lie. Own up to the truth! But never let a past mistake keep you from trying to make things better for you and your family.

Jeroldo (jercatchesfish)

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it might pose a problem

by Bluron In reply to That seems argueable!

if the person needs to be bonded. with a cimminal background it is highly unlikely the insurance company would approve any such bond.

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Insurance bond

by normhaga In reply to it might pose a problem

The Federal Government will bond ex-felons. If the company would accept the bond, this would not be a large problem.

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Government Bond?

by Johnita In reply to Insurance bond

I never heard of this, where can I find out more about this.

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not here in canada

by Bluron In reply to Insurance bond

we do not have that particular benefit here. if an insurer will not issue a bond, thats it, out of luck. must be nice.

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The Application Form

by Too Old For IT In reply to Depends on where you're a ...

It is prettymuch on every application form in the US, especially the standard TOPS forms.

I think it's Alaska, where after a very few years, you don't have to mention it any more. All states should be this way. Let the past be in the past. Iknow I'm in the minority, because every entry-level HR flack thinks they are a junior Homeland Security God, saving the world from iminent destruction by denying average joes a decent job. My two cents.

Mine as a 25 year old bad check, and my 60- second speech winds up with "... and of course this has no bearing on the position for which I am interviewing today." Either the interviewer moves on or they dig some more. If they dig, I've already mentally moved on, `cause I really don't want the position any more.

Any interviewer who wants to dealve into anything older than last year is WAY to self-rightous to be dealing with real people.

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Have the same headache

by Ravmanic In reply to Omit from resume, but be ...

I had a felony conviction 12 years ago on a sexual offense. I did 2 1/2 yrs in prison and 5 years probation. I also had to register as a sex offender. Luckily my employer knew me well and stuck by me. They gave me a leave of absence from the job to do my time. About a year ago I was offered a position with another company with a significant increase of salary. I was up front with the interviewer and explained the situation. the job was offered to me and I accepted the position and was ready to leave my employer. They expalined to me there would still be a background check done by the home office in Florida. The home office made the regional company revoke the offer because of the felony. I currently still apply for positions however, to this point I never receive any offers to interview. I have a feeling that the felony conviction will prevent the offers.

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