Can I Employ Someone With a Criminal Record?

Written by Calvin Bowers
Last updated December 16, 2020

Are you wondering if you can employ someone with a criminal record? In addition to offering employers a key solution for closing the skills gap, employing an ex-offender can also provide significant benefits to your business. Seeing as this is a process that not many organisations are familiar with, we’re here to shed some light on the topic of employing ex-offenders and some key points to keep in mind.

Am I Able To Employ Ex-Offenders?

The short answer is, yes. You can employ someone with a criminal record unless the offence means the individual is barred from specific jobs. This is usually in the case of more serious crimes that typically prevent them from working with children, adults or other groups.

Aside from this, employing an ex-offender is at your discretion. It is essential to decide whether the person’s conviction means they are unsuitable for the role. For example, an individual with a driving offence would perhaps not be suitable for a role as a delivery driver. Nevertheless, there are many suitable jobs for ex-offenders.

What Aspects Need To Be Considered?

To help make your decision, it is important to weigh up the applicant’s skills, experience and qualifications against any risk assessment of the job.

Some of the questions you should answer include:

Is the offence related in any way to the role?

This is necessary for the protection of groups of people and your business. This can also be considered in a positive light, too. For example, someone who has moved on from a drug-related offence may be in a perfect position to work in a role that helps others do the same.

What were the circumstances surrounding the offence?

You should consider the circumstances surrounding the offence and listen to the explanation provided by the candidate. Their offence may have been a result of personal difficulties relating to housing, finances or emotional well-being. They may have completely turned their life around since then. You should look and respect openness and honesty. For many people, their criminal record will be a difficult subject to talk about.

Do they have reliable references from other employers?

References from other reputable employers will be valuable in providing further insight. It will inform you of how the candidate works and whether there were any issues with previous employment, allowing you to further assess any risk.

What level of supervision is involved in the role?

Does the role involve employees working by themselves or under supervision? Does the nature of their conviction require additional supervision to minimise risk?

Are there any safeguards or policies that can be put in place to minimise any risk?

For many ex-offenders, getting back into work is a huge step in the right direction. To help them succeed, it could be beneficial to provide the employee with a mentor to help guide them while they settle in. It may also be worth considering a probationary period to cover your business if things perhaps don’t work out as planned.

Key Takeaways

Having a criminal conviction doesn’t mean that an individual cannot continue to work. An increasing number of top employers are recognising the benefits of employing ex-offenders and transforming their recruitment practices. 

Our experts at Refreshing a Career can give you advice on ex-offender employment. Here are just some of the services we offer:

Give us a call on 03458724501 or drop us an email at to learn more about our bespoke packages.

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Last Updated: Monday February 5 2024
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