How does an X-Convict get a decent job?

My brother spent some time in prison in his younger years. He has been out for a while and has been working a telemarketing job. Now, at 39, he wants to try to make his life a better one.

Everywhere he applies they want a criminal background check so he hasn’t even bothered trying. I want to help him out but I don’t know what to tell him.

Are there companies that will hire x convicts? If so, where are they?

He lives in Los Angeles.

The best approach is for him to “take the high road” and be honest with prospective employers about his criminal record. Sooner or later a compassionate employer will hire him, though there will likely be a probationary period of three to six months. (He’ll have to “prove himself” to advance, which is to be expected.) To increase the odds of getting a job he must also maintain a good attitude. And never give up.

I’ll bet knowing how to spell “ex-convict” is probably a good start.


The criminal background check is to find people who lie about their past on the application. Having a conviction does not automatically disqualify him from consideration for many jobs, especially if he has been out for some time and has a satisfactory work history. Lying on the application does.
You said that he has worked since getting out. And, telemarketing is brutally hard work, psychologically. Having stuck with that job will be a plus.
Basically, apply for the job, be very honest on the application, and try like heck to get an interview. He should stress that he has lots of motivation to do well and not screw up, and will be a grateful and loyal employee. This might be more attractive to many employers than someone just out of school, expecting a better job but willing to settle for this one for a while, just to get the experience.
Some places won’t consider him. Don’t get discouraged and try other places. He knows how to do this from telemarketing. It’s not how many people say “no”, it’s a “yes” that counts. Keep looking for the “yes” and he will find it.

I was convicted 12 years ago and still cannot get a job, telemarketing or fast food.

He could start a business. There’s several that don’t require a lot of capital, provide a living and can be built into something decent. Buy a taxicab with an eye towards driving it while hiring off time drivers. When it’s booked with drivers 24/7, buy another. Auto detailing doesn’t require much capital to get started, either.

Crap! that’s pretty rough. Can I ask how you’ve gotten by the past 12 yrs without a job?

Would you be offended by a request for a little more info? I wonder what the offense might be?

A little bit of weed is one thing, killing the landlord is another.

General terms will suffice. vanilla, since you’ve stepped up to the plate, we’re interested. I’m a working stiff, not a hiring one, but more info might garner better responses.

Good luck to all. A debt is a debt in my book. When it’s paid, it’s paid. Damn, that was profound.

I second what Ringo said. Going into business for himself might be the best option depending on what your brother was convicted of. I know a felony (or even misdemeanor) count of larceny is a big red flag on applications. This happened to a friend of mine and he might as well have told them he killed someone. :rolleyes: If my friend got this response imagine what your brother will go through.

I know it says right there on the application that “Answering yes will not disqualify you from consideration.” (or something to that effect) but it’s not true. I believe they have to put that there for legal reason. Think about it, out of any number of applicants would you choose the one with a criminal record? Even if he was more qualified? The only chance he would have is if he was the only one applying for a particular job.

Anyways, my point is he doesn’t have to work for someone else for the rest of his life. If he was to work for himself he could circumvent the entire system. Ask him what he is good at and look into startup opportunities in the area.

Vanilla, have you looked into whether there is a stature of limitations regarding your conviction? It might be to late for this but do you have anything like a first offender status where you live? I’m not trying to pry. I just want you to know I sympathize with you. I’ve seen how hard it is for friends to get a job, home, even a car.
On preview it looks like others asked before me. It’s nice to see some people believe

Has he considered politics?

Ha! Definately not! His prior convictions were for fraud though, so you never know :wink:

Seriously though, going into business for himself sounds like a great idea but I don’t think he’s has what it takes to do that right now.

I will print out what you all have said and give it to him, at least to give him some hope. I think he’s paid his debt to society as well and deserves another chance.

Does anyone know if there are any non-profit agencies or anything like that that help ex-convicts find employment?

And vanilla, I’ll be praying for you sister :slight_smile:

I know a guy who was convicted of armed robbery and served more than a few years in Virginia. He had been employed soon after his release, and had no trouble getting subsequent jobs when he lost one (he had trouble KEEPING jobs, not GETTING jobs). Landscaping Manager/Supervisor, Sales with a company car, making mid-$30k’s.

A friend of mine was convicted of fraud and embezzlement (he is an accountant) and did time in Georgia, then was released and went back into accounting, with a company who knew full well of his crime. I personally found that specific job pretty odd, but I saw it happen.

Another friend served prison time for aggravated assault. He was a barber on Army bases in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama, I think. He went from cutting at the Exchange on base in Savannah (Hunter Army Airfield) to opening his own shop.

I would say being upfront about it, and not making excuses, would get you in the door to many jobs that don’t have stringent requirements (bank security, police officer, Brinks Armored Car driver, etc…).

I ran with some interesting guys. All very nice.

I knew someone who did five or six years for armed robbery. After he got out he worked in a box factory, then for Good Will Industries as a driver, then as a big truck driver etc. A very straightforward guy, and his jobs suited him.

I agree about the debt paid.

Maybe he should to talk to Bush. Poindexter didn’t have any problems.

That’s right. My elderly aunt brought in a couple of very bright, sophisticated guys who were going to help the family manage their land, just sign the contracts and these guys were going to help us and not even charge.

An acquaintance brought in a financial newspaper’s article on ‘the worst performing mutual funds’, starring hotshot #2, with the information that he had earlier gone up the river for bank-robbery, which he blamed on his unfortunate marijuana usage. My aunt proudly rebutted this, as he (or his well-funded family) had obtained a presidential pardon, and all he had to do was disclose these matters.

Someone else in the family had to explain that of course it was presidential, since it was a federal crime that he was convicted of. If he had been convicted of a state crime, he only would have been able to get a governor’s pardon.

The family looked into matters and there were also issues with hotshot #1, so no one signed the contract after all. I think everyone was trying to let my aunt down gently, but it took up a lot of everyone’s time, including the hotshots’.

Anyway, sorry for the digression, it is possible to get a pardon, usually with a lawyer and after several years of good behavior and ‘contributions’ after one’s release. Fairly rare though.

My state offers something like this. I’m not completely sure who you should contact, so I’d suggest first that you try finding your state’s correctional website. There might be information listed there.

If that doesn’t help, call your local prison and ask to speak to someone who deals with parole. (Failing that, try calling the parole board itself.) If they can’t answer your question, they should at least be able to refer you to someone who can.

First off, he’d be well off to keep a positive attitude. If he gets rejected from a few jobs, it may not be because of his record. Plenty of fresh-faced college graduates can’t get even undesireable jobs in this economy. He will get rejection, but if he instantly attributes it to his conviction and gives up, he’ll never get anywhere. You only need one job, and you gotta keep on trying until you get it.

Once he’s got the right attitude, he’s got a couple ways he could go.

He could look for a job with a small business. As one of those aformentioned jobless college grads, I’ve filled out dozens of job applications within the last month. Quite a few of them didn’t ask a single thing about criminal record- all of these were small businesses, not large corporations. Likewise, I’ve only heard of large corporations performing criminal background checks. Looking back, I’ve held several jobs where I did not fill out a formal application and the issue would have never come up.

Or he could go for office work. He’s got phone skills. Presumably he has office skills and likely some database/computer work. Most office jobs simply ask for a resume and cover letter. Criminal convictions are unlikely to come up in an interview. And once he’s made himself indespensible in the office and proves himself by the quality of his work, it shouldn’t be too hard to move up the ranks even if his conviction comes out.

He could also network. Does he know anyone that needs a new employee? Can he come to know someone that needs a new employee? Chances are if he knows someone on the inside he can skip the whole application process and just show up to the interview with a resume. Make friends at the places you want to work. Networking is the best way to get a job even without a record.

Or, he could enter an industry where a criminal conviction would not be too uncommon. Unskilled labor can progress into skilled labor and often end in owning your own business. Cooking, construction, painting, auto-work, landscaping, tow-truck driving (there were so many ex-convict tow truck drivers in my town that they passed a resolution saying your convictions had to be at least a year old), and the like are businesses where you are most likely to be judged by your skill and experience- and where you won’t be the only person with a record in the stack of applications. And they can all get fairly lucrative.

But mostly don’t give up hope!

He might consider lying on the job applications. Not every employer checks. If the employer finds out after a few years, they might keep him anyway if they are happy with him. If not, he can repeat the process and find a new job.

I’m not advising him to do so, but it is an option. It certainly worked for Jean Valjean.

Also note that many states have a procedure whereby after a few years you can have your criminal record expunged.

He already committed fraud, so what is wrong with lying?

I got news for ya, in todays global job market, even law abiding citizens are having trouble finding good jobs.

There are so many law abiding unemployed people to choose from , why would any employer today hire an ex con?

The only honest long run solution is to turn around supply and demand of employers and laborers. If employers are having trouble finding workers, they will relax their standards, i.e, bring back the factories and high tech jobs from asia, limit immigration, etc.