If you are a job seeker with a criminal record, you may find that landing a position is exceedingly difficult. While there is a significant push to make employment easier to come by for ex-offenders thanks to trends like ban the box, criminal history remains a consideration for most employers.
According to a 2017 survey from HR.com, 97 percent of employers conduct at least one type of pre-employment background screening—county and state criminal history checks are the most common. That statistic begs the question: What are the typical “no background check jobs,” and where are you most likely to find them?
What to Know About Seeking Out No Background Check Jobs
If you are trying to find a job with no background check required, it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Even among the small percentage of jobs that don’t require a background check, there are no clearly-defined categories, industries, or positions for which you can find out in advance that you won’t be asked to consent to a background check. In other words, there is no easy answer the question “Where can I find no background check jobs?”
Why are these types of job openings so challenging to find? It is important to recognize that employers have good reasons for conducting background checks on most or all positions. For example, in some cases, companies are required by federal, state, or industry regulations to conduct background checks on all prospective hires.
However, laws are not the only reason why background checks are so common. Many industries have no regulations requiring background screenings, which means that private companies can theoretically decide to offer positions on a “no background check required” basis. However, because of liability risks and the threat of negligent hiring lawsuits, most employers are not willing to take this risk. Running employee background checks is a method organizations use to shield themselves against legal risks.
Hiring someone with a violent criminal history and not knowing about that history can leave a business vulnerable if the employee harms a customer or coworker. Fear about that type of incident ultimately makes criminal history screenings such a common part of the hiring process.
Background Check or No? Patterns for Criminal Screening in the Workplace
The fact that most employers are free to decide whether to run criminal history checks or not makes it difficult to know whether a job will require a background check. Every employer is different, and some companies may even have diverse vetting policies for various departments or types of jobs. Sometimes, employers will outline background check requirements in a job description, which can be helpful for job seekers looking for jobs that don’t require a criminal history search. However, every employer is different, and there is no guarantee that this information will be disclosed upfront.
Despite the case-by-case nature of workplace background checks, there are specific patterns or trends that you can keep in mind if you are trying to find a no background check position.
To start, it’s good to know that there are some career types where you are unlikely ever to find a job opening that doesn’t entail a background check. For example, you can often expect multiple background checks for healthcare, education, and real estate positions when professional licensing is involved. You’ll go through a review at the licensing stage and another with a prospective employer.
On the other hand, there are some jobs where the odds of finding a no background check opening increase significantly. Speaking broadly, entry-level positions are the most likely to be “no background check required.” Retail businesses, restaurants (especially fast food), and other establishments that tend to see a lot of employee turnover fall into this category.
Again, though, keep in mind that there are never any guarantees. These businesses face the same risks for negligent hiring as any other. In other words, if you apply for a job with a fast-food restaurant, the hiring manager may well ask you to agree to a background check.
It’s easy to be frustrated about missing out on suitable job opportunities solely because you have a criminal record. If you are in this situation, it’s understandable that you might believe that finding an employer without background check requirements is your best bet.
Here’s an alternative strategy worth trying: Rather than looking for companies that don’t run background checks, look for businesses with a reputation for hiring ex-offenders. Online resources are designed to help individuals with criminal records—especially those with felony convictions—find jobs.
You can also improve your chances of employment by using local or state laws to your advantage. Seek jobs in areas with ban the box policies or in states where employers aren’t allowed to consider arrest records may give you better odds.
Finally, you might consider looking into expungement. If you are eligible, expunging your criminal record could improve your hiring chances dramatically. At backgroundchecks.com, we have a program called MyClearStart designed to help ex-offenders secure criminal record expungement.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments