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Having a criminal record or lying on a résumé aren't quite the hiring deal breakers you might think, new research shows.
A study by background-check provider EmployeeScreenIQ revealed that more than 70 percent of businesses said less than 5 percent of candidates with criminal records are not hired due to their indiscretions.
The research found that employers factor in a number of considerations when deciding whether to hire a candidate with a criminal past, including the age and severity of the records, whether the person is a repeat offender and the relevance of the record to the job opening.
Overall, felony convictions for violent crimes were the most likely infractions to disqualify a candidate, while misdemeanor convictions for drug- and alcohol-related offenses were the least likely to prevent a candidate from being hired.
The study shows some employers are rewarding job seekers who are up-front about their colorful past. More than half of those surveyed are more inclined to hire a candidate who discloses a criminal conviction prior to a background check. However, most businesses report that criminal convictions are openly reported by less than 5 percent of job seekers.
More and more employers are also looking beyond résumé lies. Although employers estimate that 60 percent of job candidates distort or exaggerate information on their résumés, more than half of those surveyed said less than 15 percent of job candidates are rejected due to such distortions.
According to the researchers, résumé distortion, much like criminal convictions, appear to be viewed as just a single component of the larger “candidate snapshot” that must be taken into consideration.
"The overarching takeaway is that employers seem to be screening and hiring in a responsible, acceptable and compliant fashion," says Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer of EmployeeScreenIQ.
The research also refutes the common perception that employers spend their time pouring over the online activities of workers and potential new hires, with more than 60 percent of employers saying they never review sites such as Facebook and Twitter as part of the background checking process.
The study was based on surveys of nearly 1,000 human-resources professionals representing a range of U.S. organizations.