I have an offer contingent on a background check. At no point has anyone asked me about any criminal history. 2 years ago I was charged with possession of alcohol -a violation - and possession - a misdemeanor. Formally the misdemeanor possession was reduced to a violation and this is what I was convicted of.

Will the fact that I was criminally charged but wasn't criminally convicted make any difference at all when they run a background check? I can't find any information about what constitutes passing the check. What I do find focuses on misdemeanors and felonies.

Company is in IT sector, work is non government, non security clearance. I live in the US.


Background checks don't deliver a "pass" or "fail" report, which is why you can't find information as far as what is "passing". It's just a list of what the company performing the search found.

Each company has their own standards as far as what they deem acceptable or not. For example, one traffic ticket could disqualify someone from being hired as a delivery driver, whereas in most jobs they wouldn't even think twice about it.

That said, I've seen IT departments that have no problems with convictions like that while at others it would be cause for immediate dismissal. I've even seen some where it was "understood" that as long as it stays at home then nobody cares... right up until there was a problem employee which the results from a "random" drug screen was the easiest way to fire them.

I'd suggest you keep looking. If this company doesn't care then they won't bring it up. If they do, then you are unlikely to hear from them again.

  • As far as your aware will the hiring manager have the final say? Or is it more common for their to be blanket policies (technically illegal now, but doesn't make sense since their must be some cut off). Ah well thanks, I know it's hard to be definitive. And the laws in place to protect us just make it so the employer is less forthcoming about what their disqualifiers are/aren't. – Rusty Feb 4 '15 at 1:26
  • Drug screen is necessary too. I guess if this all ends up a problem I'll take it as a sign to find an employer who respects my body (not that I wouldn't pass the drug test). Still super stressful and I appreciate your thoughtful answer. – Rusty Feb 4 '15 at 1:28
  • @Rusty: There really isn't a hard and fast answer here. If the company has an HR department, then it will be more likely that they have standard policies on this which would be out of the hiring managers hands. – NotMe Feb 4 '15 at 14:20
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    This isn't so much about respecting you, it is about risk to the company. Someone who has been convicted of a crime is more likely to commit another one. A lot of businesses don't want to take that risk. – NotMe Feb 4 '15 at 14:22

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