What If Your Candidate Has A Criminal Record?

Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States has a criminal record. What will you do when you discover a great candidate is one of them?

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Making Sense Of The Options

When a background check returns criminal records, how will you decide what’s right for your business? Overlapping fair hiring laws make it unwise to say an automatic no. But you do have options:


Move Forward Anyway

Not every criminal record represents the same level of risk. Many employers choose not to consider minor traffic convictions, misdemeanor marijuana charges, and other incidents not directly relevant to the job.

Our Takeaway

Tip To Consider

Record filtering lets you exclude certain offenses so you save time when reviewing results.

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Consider The “Green Factors”

Consider the nature of the offense, the time since it happened, and the nature of the job. These nature/time/nature considerations, also called targeted screens or the “Green factors,” guide a systematic assessment of the relevance of the offense to your business.

Our Takeaway

Tip To Consider

Targeted screens help you fulfill EEOC and state or local ban-the-box guidelines for using criminal records in employment decisions.

Integrated Adverse Action

Ask For More Information

Fair hiring guidelines suggest asking the candidate to share the context around the offense, including their age at the time it occurred, what they’ve done since, and evidence of rehabilitation.

Our Takeaway

Tip To Consider

Documenting an individualized assessment lets you meet EEOC and many state or local fair hiring laws.

See Laws

A considered approach to candidates with criminal records lets you keep great candidates in your hiring pool and treat all candidates – even those you may ultimately deny – with respect in accordance with the law.


I love the peace of mind that I am following EEOC and FCRA guidelines when requesting a background check.

Jennifer M. GoodHire Employer


Individualized Assessment Made Easy

The EEOC and many state and federal laws actively discourage employers from screening out candidates based exclusively on criminal records.

True Me, our award-winning candidate experience lets candidates add context around criminal records directly into their background check results.

The context helps you make an informed, individualized assessment as required by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

True Me can also keep qualified candidates in the pipeline, helping you make confident, effective and fair hiring decisions when a candidate has a criminal record.

How Strengthening Compliance Led Us To Transform The Candidate Experience

Happy Hour Podcast

GoodHire QuoteGoodHire is unlike the background checks you’ve heard of before. Their innovative candidate-focused, technology-enabled approach is very interesting.
I like what you are doing at GoodHire, keep it up!

Steve Boese, HR Happy Hour host & Co-Chair of the HR Technology Conference

Listen to GoodHire Cofounder, Brian Monahan  on the HR Happy Hour podcast

Adverse Action

When you consider denying employment or promotion based on information in a background check, you must follow the adverse action processes mandated by the FCRA, EEOC guidance, and any state and local laws that apply.

It’s as complicated as it sounds. But you're not alone. Every GoodHire background check includes our integrated adverse action solution, which untangles the overlapping fair hiring laws for you.


More than 85% of our background checks are returned in less than one minute. Try it for yourself.