Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Get a Job With a Bad Background Check

Whether you’ve had a juvenile arrest, DUI, bankruptcy or felony conviction, a bad mark on your background check can cause an employer to pass you up for the job. As soon as you realize that your prospective employer will be conducting a background check, be up-front. Let the company know what happened and try to mitigate any concerns they have about your professional ethics.

Focus on time frames. If you have a bad background check due to problems you encountered as juvenile or young adult, employers may be able to overlook them if you can show that you’ve matured and can exercise good judgment.

Make sure you have outstanding personal and professional references. Talk to your references beforehand and explain the negative issues from your past that you need to overcome in order to get the job. If necessary, sit down with your references and review your resume so that they can provide concrete examples of your integrity, reliability, and competence.

Explain the situation truthfully. Employers understand that you are not perfect. Lying about your background or glossing over your past can be more harmful than a negative mark on your background check. If these issues come up during an interview, explain your side of the situation and take responsibility for your actions.

Talk about what you learned from your mistakes. Whether you were fired from a previous job, have an arrest record, or filed bankruptcy, think about what you learned from the situation and how you will prevent these issues from happening again. Showing a prospective employer that you were able to learn from your mistakes may help you overcome your bad background check.


Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.