Factsheet: Telling an employer about your criminal record

Want to get back to work but worried about telling an employer about your criminal record? This guide and top tips, for people with criminal convictions and their advisors, can help.

This guide will help people with criminal convictions to:

  • Understand their criminal record

  • Check when they need to tell an employer about their criminal conviction(s)

  • Decide how they will tell an employer about their conviction(s)

A candidate has the best chance of getting into employment when they prepare and stay positive. The person you support may have a criminal conviction but if they can convince an employer that it’s not related to the job and that it won’t stop them from being a great employee then they’re still in with a shot.

This guide, which should be used by advisors in discussion with the people they support, can help prepare people to disclose their criminal convictions. It should be used alongside the Top Tips for telling an employer about criminal records.

This guide was funded as part of the work of the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance, a coalition of 13 leading criminal justice, health and youth charities, working to evidence and promote distinct and effective approaches for young adults through the criminal justice process. T2A is funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, an independent, charitable foundation, committed to bringing about socially just change.

Nacro, a UK-based crime reduction charity with 50 years’ experience, has comprehensive, up-to-date guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and numerous other definitive resources on resettlement issues. For further advice and support on disclosing criminal records, see Nacro’s Resettlement Advice Service web section. You can phone them on 0300 123 1999 or email: helpline@nacro.org.uk.

Unlock, a national charity for people with convictions, has produced new resources on the reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 that came into force on 10 March 2014.  These will help you to understand whether convictions are now regarded as ‘spent’ under the reforms. They include a poster, detailed and brief guide.  All are available to download from the Unlock online information hub.