How Do I Explain a DUI on a Job Application?

When you apply for a job there are a number of things that your potential employer will be interested in. Things such as your background experience, your teamwork skills, dependability, what former co-workers and supervisors say about, important job things. They will also take a peak at your criminal record. If you happen to have a DUI conviction on that record, they will of course ask you about it. You should be ready to answer any questions they have. Below we have put together a guide on how to explain a DUI on both job applications and in job interviews

When you apply for a job, your potential employer will want to know about your criminal record, if any. We got you covered, these are some questions you might have regarding a DUI on a job application.

Do You Have To Tell Them of Your DUI on a job application?

Yes. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, you may be tempted to not mention it and cross your fingers that the employer does not do a background check. However, if an application directly asks about your criminal background, you should be honest and disclose you DUI conviction. Lying about it just leads to a world of trouble, especially if someone finds out you lied after you have the job. It would show you cannot be trusted and you very likely would be fired on the spot.

Most of the time a background check will be run on you by a potential employer before you are even hired. You have a better shot of an employer hiring you based on you telling the truth up front because if you lied you can bet your not getting hired, or will get fired for lying.

What happens when you have the DUI on your app?

It depends on the employer, the industry, the culture of the company, and the type of position that you are seeking. Some employers could care less about your DUI conviction on a job application. More so if it’s old. They may not even ask further questions about it after you disclose it. As long as you can do the job and have not got in any trouble since they could care less. Other employers may refuse to hire a person with a DUI conviction as part of company policy. And yes it is legal. Other employers will fall in the middle of this spectrum. They may believe a DUI conviction is an immediate rejection, but might still hire you if you ace the interview and show your honesty upfront, and of course, if you qualified.

How do you talk about your DUI on a job application or in an interview?

You likely will get a question about your DUI on your job application. Just handle it like another interview question. You should practice a strong answer to the question “We see you have a DUI here can you explain” or “Do you have any criminal history that we should know about”.  To bring it up just tell them you made a huge mistake and you have grown from it. Be real. If you do not mean it don’t say it, people can tell when you are lying. You can inform them you were young and made a bad decision. Even if it recently happened show them how it is in your past and your ready for your future.  Let them know the following as well:

  • Any rehab done.
  • Any community service relating to your charge.
  • Talk about any classes or public speaking you have done regarding your DUI.
  • Don’t bring it up at all, unless they do first, unless your concerned.  You got to this point in the process for a reason, they like what they see so far.
  • Try not to make a huge discussion topic your DUI.
  • When it comes to a DUI on a job application, do what you would do in an interview. Simply explain what happened if they want to know your background. Make sure you put everything on there you can think of. Also write in ways you have changed or improved as a result of it.

Can you keep a DUI off your record?

Yes, you will not have to worry about this forever.  In most states it takes about 10 years. However, there are instances when a DUI conviction can be expunged earlier. Expunging a DUI means it will be removed from your criminal record (it may still be on your driving record) and this means you do not have to disclose it to future employers. Always talk to a  DUI attorney if you have ongoing questions.


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