How Honest Should You Be In Interviews?

Dear J.T. & Dale: I am 29 years old, with a history of success in past jobs. My problem (I think) is that I have a felony (due to be deleted from my record in about a year). My question is, Should I be totally honest during interviews? - KJ J.T.: When applying for jobs that require background checks, it's wise to be the one to tell the employer about the felony. DALE: Your impulse may be to "get it out of the way" early on, but resist that. The more interviewing you go through, the more likely they are to feel they can take a chance on you. J.T.: Work to get to the point where they are asking for the background check as a condition of a job offer. At that point, tell the person in charge: "I have a lot of respect for you and the organization. Because of that respect, I wanted to tell you personally that when you do the background check you will see a felony. The only upside is that it taught me how important it is to have a clean record. If you hire me, my goal will be to make sure you are very glad you chose me." They'll respect you for having the courage to tell them yourself. DALE: They'll want to know more, of course, so you'll need to be able to discuss the conviction openly but concisely. Get comfortable talking about it, because you'll need to do it now and long after a year from now. I'm sorry to tell you that there are no more magic disappearing felonies. I used to urge people to try to get their records expunged, but last year an attorney friend informed me that that has become a false hope. In the digital age, getting a conviction set aside merely means that a new entry is added to your court history, saying it was set aside, while earlier details remain. Don't let that discourage you. One study puts the number of adult Americans with a felony at one in 40, which means your story won't be a shock to most employers. If yours was a violent crime that makes you a hiring risk, you may have to build a new job history by doing temporary or consulting work. Yes, it's an added burden, but it's a chance to turn your past into the prologue of a story about resiliency. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!