You have to own your background in order to talk about it. If you don’t, people sense you’re not taking responsibility and won’t take a chance on you. It’s important that you come across as honest, forthright, and sincere. Give a strong handshake and make eye contact. Act confident and comfortable in your skin, like you own your past and your future.
It can be easier to talk about your past if you break the conversation down into three steps.
First, talk about the reason you were incarcerated. Keep it brief–-don’t go into detail–-but an employer will want to know what happened. For example, if it was robbery, don’t go into the details. Just admit you got into trouble and talk about how it hurt your life. Don’t talk as if you feel sorry for yourself or deny your past. Be honest and sincere. Show remorse.
Second, talk about what you’ve accomplished since you got into trouble. For example, you may have earned your GED, reconnected with your family, volunteered in the community, or gone through treatment. This is where you talk about what you’ve done well and the changes you’ve made.
Third, talk about how you will be a great employee and an asset to the company if given the chance. Employers want to know if you’re going to be diligent, loyal, and hard working. If you know you’ll be a great employee, promise it!
The Denver Public Library has great advice on how to talk about your background. Check out their page using the button below.
You should know what’s on your Criminal Background report. You can call 303-239-4208 or go online to order a copy from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The cost is $6.85 when you order online, but you need a credit card. If you don’t have a credit card to order online, you can go to 690 Kipling Street in Lakewood. (CBI is in the building farthest from the ReMax building and has flags out front.) Hours are 7:30am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. You can also download the request form from their website under Fees and Forms, print it off, fill it out, and mail it in with a cashier's check or money order (no personal checks accepted). The cost is $13. Cash is accepted at the Lakewood office in person. The mailing address is CBI, 690 Kipling Street, Suite 4000, Lakewood, CO 80215. Click the button below for the CBI website.
Read your report and be ready to explain all arrests and convictions. Sometimes there are several listings of the same arrest. Look at the charge date to help sort this out. If an arrest did not lead to a conviction, you may need to explain whether the charge was dropped, reduced, or you were found not guilty. If the CBI report doesn't show the final disposition of your case, you may need to order a copy of the disposition from the county or district court where you were convicted. Mail this copy to CBI at the address listed above.
CBI can also tell you how to correct your report if the information is inaccurate. Call 303-239-4208.