Why am I Being Defined by a DUI?
How did my DUI during my personal time go from a transgression to being against company policy?
Mike Petras comments:
Thanks for your email. I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I think you're asking, what business is it of any company to know about my personal life outside of work--good or bad?
You're not the only one asking this question.
Unfortunately, we live in the Information Age when lots of information about us is pretty easy to come by--especially public records. The real problem is interpreting this information. Too often we can be unfairly prejudged by one misdeed or transgression.
However, this is slowly changing.
For example, 13 percent of companies will actually check your credit rating as part of their job screening process. But why? What does a weak credit rating have to do with your job skills and work ethic? This has annoyed enough people that 16 states have introduced legislation to ban the practice, and 2 states have already done so...Hawaii and Washington. And they should!
OK--back to your original question.
Many large corporations now outsource background checks to 3rd party firms who check out prospective employees and give a report to their client companies. Often times they will check your driving record. However, even if you have a DUI, it isn't necessarily a deal breaker...unless driving company vehicles is part of your job.
So, what can you do about it?
Two things. First, be prepared for your job interview so you perform well. If you stand out over other candidates, companies will judge you based on their favorable impressions and opinions of you...not just the background information they gather about you. In other words, you build your value to the company during your interview. Companies become sold on the fact that you are the best person to help them solve their problems and meet their objectives.
Based on this balanced perspective, your DUI will be an inch high instead of a mile high.
Just because you have a DUI doesn't mean you will automatically be black-balled from getting an offer. Yes--it is a serious blemish and some companies will give you the thumbs down, but many more will ask you to explain yourself or simply decide to hire you anyway.
In my recruiting practice I sent a good candidate to a $5 billion client company for a fairly high level position. He did very well in his interviews and the company told me they wanted to extend him an offer, but first wanted to do 2-3 references from past supervisors. One of these supervisors gave my candidate a bad reference. Despite this bad reference they hired him anyway. The hiring manager told me he really liked him and he didn't put too much faith in reference checks anyway. In other words, he made up his mind about this candidate during the interview process.
I guarantee this wouldn't have happened if the reference checks were done first without having ever met the candidate. The good thing is most background checks are done after the interview process because it costs companies money to do them and they simply can't afford it on every resume they receive. So, this gives you a chance to shine in the interview and reduce the impact of the DUI should it be part of their screening process.
The second thing you can do is meet with an attorney to see if there are any programs in your state that provide a way for you to get your DUI conviction reduced to a lesser offense. I talk about this option, along with a few others on my web page, Short Work History and Past DUI.
Hope this helps.
Remember: Everyone is a package of pluses and minuses. No one's life should be defined by one error in judgment.
You aren't doomed to never work again because of a DUI. Lots of companies won't even check.
So, keep moving forward. The good news is one day your DUI will be dropped completely from your driving record and will forever be a non-issue.
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