How to Disclose a Felony During an Interview

by Anna Assad

    You may have disclosed your felony conviction on your application or just need to clear the air. Whatever your reason, you should prepare before you cover your felony in your job interview. Your interview is your opportunity to explain your conviction to a person face-to-face. How you come across to the hiring manager has a significant impact on whether you get the job.

    You don't need to go into exhaustive detail about the conviction. However, you do need to prepare to answer the interviewer's questions honestly. Consider how much information you're willing to discuss beforehand so you can set limits and politely steer the conversation away from areas you're not comfortable talking about. You'll want to show remorse for your behavior while highlighting what you've learned. While you're not required to disclose drug treatment you've undergone, you may want to volunteer the information if your felony is related to drug use.

    Review, aloud, what you plan to say when you disclose your felony. You must address the interviewer's potential concerns about your past without appearing defensive. You might come off as unwilling to accept your own mistakes if you sound defensive about the felony. Rehearsing possible questions and responses beforehand can help ease your nerves and avoid an emotional confrontation. Adjust your responses as necessary to get answers you're comfortable with.

    You have to sell yourself even more strongly than the typical job candidate if you're disclosing a felony because of the associated stigma. Tell the interviewer about all your accomplishments to demonstrate your commitment to changing your life. You may be tempted to avoid talking about what you did while you served a sentence, but you're missing out on an opportunity to discuss your achievements and showcase your current skills. Tell your interviewer about your current life and career goals and tie this information into the position you're applying for.

    Be honest about your current situation with your interviewer. If you're on parole, for example, let the interviewer know. Offer the name and number of your parole officer for confirmation of the information you gave. Hiding facts about your conviction and current circumstances might cause you to lose the job opportunity. If you're hired and your employer discovers you were dishonest later, you'll have to deal with the fallout.

    About the Author

    Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

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