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Approaching a job interview with a misdemeanor on your record

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor in the state of Illinois, you may be well aware that fixing your mistake and recovering your reputation will take time and effort. One of the most challenging endeavors you may encounter is looking for a job. While you may have a plethora of desirable qualities and skills, you may find that potential employers are unable to look past your conviction. At Fawell & Fawell, we understand the challenges people face in recovering their lives following a criminal conviction. 

If you are able to get an interview, you face a challenging conversation where you will need to discuss your misdemeanor with hiring managers. Your approach to this oftentimes uncomfortable conversation is a critical moment where you get to market your core competencies and provide honest insight into your past. According to Chron, some of the positive things you can do during this conversation include the following:

  • Leave the excuses behind: While you may be tempted to come up with an excuse to explain your past behavior, the more honest you are, the more confidence you will exude. Other qualities this kind of integrity will demonstrate include humility, remorse and responsibility.
  • Be concise in your explanation: If you are asked to discuss your prior conviction, do so in a simple manner. Do not overshare details that could easily be left out. Answer questions honestly, but with concise language that will not further incriminate you or make you appear incompetent.
  • Use it as a learning experience: While your misdemeanor certainly is not helping your chances of getting a job easily, you can demonstrate that you have learned from your mistake and are actively working to change your life's course. You may choose to provide a simple statement sharing how your past mistake has altered your life and allowed you to become someone better.

By incorporating these actions into the interview process, you may be able to more effectively demonstrate your qualifications and show hiring managers that your misdemeanor does not define who you are or your success. For more information about criminal convictions, visit our web page. 

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