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How to Explain a DUI on a Background Check

Searching for a job is never easy, especially with how advanced background checks have become. Even something like a DUI has a chance of showing up on a background check when you apply for a job. While DUIs will show up on a background check, getting hired is still possible.

This article will take you through several methods to help you explain a DUI that appears on your pre-employment background check. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is a report that companies request about someone’s personal information. Background checks will reveal things like addresses, phone numbers, crimes, sex offender status, and much more. Companies use background checks to verify someone’s identity. While not every company uses background checks, most corporations use background checks before hiring employees.

Do Every Company Use Background Checks?

No, not every company uses background checks. Still, most companies do use background checks when vetting potential employees. Common jobs that don’t use background checks include contractors, entrepreneurs, landscapers, and freelancers.

However, while many employers do choose to perform background checks, it is illegal for them to perform the check without your written consent. Also, you are not required to submit to a background check and may refuse one, though this may be seen as a red flag, and you might not get the job.

What Information Is Revealed in a Background Check?

Background checks reveal a lot of information. Some things are minor, like name and address, while others are serious like sex offender status.

Below we list the information that comes up in a background check, including a criminal records check with

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Sex offender status
  • Criminal records
  • Court cases, closed and active
  • Traffic violations
  • Licenses and driving records
  • Social media accounts
  • Dating profiles

Depending on the person, more or less may show up on a background check.

What Is a DUI?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a charge that occurs when someone is arrested for driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These charges are serious in all 50 states and might lead to jail time. It’s also possible for DUIs to change based on the crime or type of substance. Variations of a DUI include DWI, OWI, OUI, DWAI, DUII, and OVI.

Do DUIs Show Up on Background Checks?

Yes, DUIs will appear on background checks. DUIs will also show up on most pre-employment screenings. However, a DUI may not show up in a background check if the charges were reduced or expunged. State law also determines if a DUI ends up on a background check and for how long it is viewable on your record.

5 Ways to Help You Handle a DUI on Your Next Job Interview

Talking about a DUI at a job interview is challenging. It’s something you have to approach properly or else you’ll hurt your chances of getting the job. There’s no need to panic, though, because we have several methods to help you explain a DUI.

1)   Honesty Is the Best Policy

During a job interview, honesty is the best policy. Many interviewers will ask about your criminal record on the first interview, which often occurs before the background check. During this time, the interviewer might ask you about crimes you’ve committed. When the interviewer asks at this point in the interview, make sure you’re honest about it.

When they ask, answer honestly and own up to the events that happened. Lying during the interview at this stage will harm your chances of getting hired because a DUI will show up on a background check. We also recommend asking about background checks before applying. Knowing that the company doesn’t perform background checks can prevent you from bringing it up when you don’t have to.

2)   Prepare for the DUI Question

If there’s a DUI on your record, there’s a good chance that the interviewer will ask you about it. During the interview process, interviewers ask several challenging questions. Most questions are about your past accomplishments, where you see yourself, your strengths, and also your weaknesses. While these questions are challenging to prepare for, you also have to prepare for the inevitable: “What happened with your DUI?” question.

The good news is that there are some ways to explain it away. Always make sure you refer to it as something that happened in the past. Ensure the interviewer knows you’ve grown since the incident and that you’ve learned your lesson. Still, the most important aspect of answering the question is honesty—make sure you’re honest about what happened and why it won’t happen again in the future.

3)   Get the DUI Expunged

It’s possible in some states to have a DUI expunged. A great example is Pennsylvania’s expungement law. In section 9122, it’s possible to have a DUI expunged and removed from your record. Therefore, it’s possible to have the DUI sealed by employers and background check companies. Having your DUI expunged ensures that your potential employer will never see it.

Still, you have to be careful with an expunged DUI. Avoid bringing it up during the interview process, or the hiring manager might not hire you. The golden rule here is that if the DUI is sealed, don’t talk about it.

4)   Don’t Bring It Up

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is bringing up the DUI during a job interview. Yes, DUIs show up on background checks, but that doesn’t mean your potential employer wants to talk about it. Furthermore, you shouldn’t immediately bring up your DUI because it’s something private that happened in the past.

So, if the interviewer doesn’t bring up your DUI and makes you a job offer, don’t go out of your way to bring it up. Unfortunately, doing so may cost you the opportunity if the employer doesn’t like the way you speak about it.

5)   Apply for Jobs That Don’t Require a Background Check

As a last resort, you can apply for jobs that don’t require a background check. These are jobs that won’t pull your records to look for a criminal record, court cases, and other information that shows up on background checks. Still, finding these jobs is harder than finding jobs that require background checks. Plus, you might have to get creative.

Jobs that don’t require a background check are often contractor-based. Examples include construction contractors, freelance workers, designers, developers, and more. It’s also possible to become an entrepreneur and open a small business. Doing so will prevent you from having to talk about a DUI that appears on a background check.

Final Thoughts

Many jobs require a background check because it helps employers verify the identity of their employees. While DUIs do show up on background checks, you don’t have to let them stop you from getting a job. In fact, if you explain your DUI properly, it might increase your chance of being hired. Interviewers love a story about someone who overcame adversity and learned from their mistakes.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.

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