THE LAW: The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Criminal convictions of no more than 2.5 years in prison become ‘spent’ or ignored after a period of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation period varies from each offence.
To find out more, visit the Criminal Records Bureau website
Employers can find out whether you have a conviction so it is best to be honest.
You should check the individual company’s stance on employing people with a record when deciding whether to put it on your CV. Even if you do not put it in your CV, if it isn’t ‘spent’ you should definitely disclose this information at an interview.
Professions such as teaching, legal and medical organisations have more stringent policies regarding the employment of people with criminal convictions. Regardless of whether the conviction is ‘spent’ you will still need to declare it to these employers.
Disclosing your criminal record gives you the chance to explain the circumstances of your conviction and let the employer know that they no longer apply. You need to reassure the employer that they are not under any risk by employing you and focus on how you have learnt from your mistakes. It might also be a good idea to note any achievements you have undertaken since the conviction.
People may believe that anyone with a criminal past has a severe disadvantage in the job market and is likely to be unable to find work.
A jobseeker with a conviction will not be considered fairly against those with no misdemeanours.
A criminal past is not necessarily an issue to an employer as long as it does not affect the job you are hired for.
Jobs should not discriminate based on any of the information you provide at an interview or on your CV. However, there will be some jobs you won’t be able to obtain with a record.
How a criminal record will affect your job prospects will also depend on the severity of the crime. A minor offence that you committed when you were a lot younger might not affect your chances whereas a major offence committed in the recent past will have implications on your employability.
For more advice on criminal records visit: http://www.crb.gov.uk