Searching for work can be quite difficult, particularly if you’ve got the previous history of a criminal record. In Australia, your job prospects with a criminal record can vary, influenced by the specifics of the crime, the industry, and potential employers’ policies. To unpack this further, it’s important to look at a few different aspects.
What is a Criminal Record?
First off, we need to define what a Criminal Record actually is. A criminal record is a record that displays a person’s past offences, including all they’ve been convicted of. This can be brought to light in a National Police Check, often necessary for certain job applications. This revealed information can significantly influence job opportunities and occasionally affect job responsibilities.
How Does It Impact Job Prospects?
The effect of a criminal record on job prospects mainly hinges on the type of offence and how relevant it is to the job role. For example, traffic offences might not hinder chances of landing an office job where driving isn’t involved. Yet, serious offences such as violent crimes could restrict you from specific roles, notably those involving kids, vulnerable people, or positions of trust and authority. Sectors like government, law enforcement, and roles involving children or vulnerable groups typically require a clean criminal record. In some cases, a criminal record could lead to immediate disqualification if you are already employed in one of these sensitive areas.
What Do Employers Take Into Account?
Employers bear the responsibility to protect their organisation, employees, and clients. Consequently, they often assess the risks of hiring someone with a criminal record. They consider factors like:
- Nature of each offence
- Seriousness of each offence
- The court’s verdict and penalties imposed
- Age at the time of the offence
- When the offences took place
- Evidence of recurring offences (if any)
- Circumstances around the offence
- The individual’s attitude towards their record
Although companies can’t discriminate based on criminal history, they can turn down applicants if their history hinders them from carrying out the essential duties of the job or if it conflicts against core values of the business or its reputation.
Tips for Job Hunting with a Criminal Record
Having a criminal record doesn’t mean all doors are closed. Many individuals with a criminal past have successful careers, notably in fields where their past offences don’t directly affect their role. If you’re job hunting with a criminal record:
- Know Your Rights: Anti-discrimination laws in Australia protect you. Employers can’t discriminate against you due to your criminal history unless the job explicitly demands a clean record.
- Be Honest: If questioned about your criminal history in a job interview, be truthful. Dodging the question or lying could cost you the opportunity. Instead, use this chance to explain your past and why you’re the right fit for the job.
- Highlight Your Progress: If you’ve made positive strides since your conviction, be sure to highlight this. Whether it’s a rehab program, new qualifications, community involvement, or maintaining steady employment – let them know.
- Choose Your Jobs Wisely: Steer clear of jobs where your past is bound to be an issue. For instance, if you’ve had financial offences, roles in banking might not be your best bet.
Remember, a criminal record can impact job opportunities, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your career. By understanding your past, your rights, and portraying yourself positively to potential employers, you can still secure meaningful work.
At Strategic Lawyers, we understand the challenges faced by individuals with a criminal history. Our team of dedicated legal professionals and criminal lawyers is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of the legal system. We provide expert advice and representation to ensure your rights are protected and your future prospects are maximised. If you’re dealing with the repercussions of a criminal record and need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. At Strategic Lawyers, we believe in second chances and are here to help you make the most of yours.