Although you should run a background check on all potential employees, you should know that approximately 65 million Americans have some type of a criminal history. Not all crimes are equal, and some are more severe than others. Rather than throwing out any resume or application with a ding in the background check, use these 3 tips to analyze the criminal records to determine whether the dings can be overlooked.

Types of Crimes Committed

Don't be put off by a potential employee just because there's a ding in their background check. Some employers are quick to throw out an entire resume just because something came up on the background check. Take a detailed look at the type of crime that was committed and the severity of the crime when making a decision. While you want to avoid the felons, you might want to forgive a potential employee for having a DUI in the event that their job responsibilities will not involve driving.

Patterns of When Crimes Were Committed

Check for when the crimes were committed and whether there are any noticeable patterns. For example, you might notice that petty crimes were only committed in the applicant's youth, and that they have been an outstanding citizen ever since. Depending on the responsibilities of the position, it might be fair to overlook discrepancies that occurred in the past instead of penalizing potential employees for dumb mistakes they've made when they were young.

Chance for Redemption or Explaining Criminal Background

If you plan on running a background check on potential employees, you'll need to do it legally by requiring the potential employees to give you permission. They'll need to sign a legal release form. You should also give the applicants an opportunity to include an explanation with their resume or application if they already know that the background check will dig up something. You might feel more empathetic upon hearing an explanation. 


People make mistakes all the time. If you dump out any resume that comes back with a ding, you could be overlooking some highly effective and productive employees. Take a more careful look at the dings to determine whether the findings from the background check can be overlooked. Some of the findings might not be as serious as you'd think. In fact, upon reading or hearing an explanation, you might even find that there was a misunderstanding that led to the unfortunate situation.