Making the Most of a Good Lead

Once you have a good lead for a "Felon-Friendly Employer", it's important to make the most of it! Here is some basic information designed to help you be successful in your job search.

How do I make the most of an interview?
What should I wear?
Do I tell the employer about my conviction?
What else can I do?


How do I make the most of an interview?

  1. Mentally prepare yourself before you go. Think about good, positive things. Seriously. If you go to the interview and you are focused on how you won’t get the job, or how everyone is out to get you, you won’t get the job. You want to be able to walk into the interview with (at best) an easy smile on your face. It is normal and OK to be nervous.
  2. Make eye contact, and shake the interviewer’s hand firmly. GIVE THE INTERVIEWER YOUR BUSINESS CARD AT THIS TIME. 
  3. Make the presumption that your interview starts the minute that you approach the grounds of the facility, office, or building in which you are trying to gain employment. 
  4. Be early (if you’re on time, you’re late).
  5.  Turn off your cell phone BEFORE you enter the waiting area. Spend your waiting time getting to know the business.
  6.  Prepare a few questions.
    1. “What kind of qualities would your ideal candidate have?”
    2. “Are there special clothes to wear?"
  7.  Never use bad language and avoid slang.
  8.  Carry a pen and pencil to make notes about what the company wants in an employee and what they need to fill the positions. Make sure that you have their name written correctly.
  10. If you really want to wow them, send them a note (or email) thanking them for the interview.


What should I wear?

The most important thing is to demonstrate that you take care of yourself. If you don’t take care with your presentation, they won't think that you will take care with any position that they will offer you. Actions speak louder than words.

  • Wear clean clothing with no holes. Tuck your shirt in.
  • Don’t wear a hat inside the building.
  • Make sure that you are well groomed (if your hair is long [guys], it wouldn’t hurt to put it in a pony tail).
  • Make every effort to cover any tattoos.


Do I put my conviction on my resume?

No. But you should let the company know about this during a time that seems appropriate during the interview.

Be honest and upfront. Most applications require you to indicate if you have been convicted of a felony. You can write "I would like to discuss it with you when we interview." Or you can write the basics. Some companies may consider someone with a drug-related felony, but not a fraud felony. It is important to respect their decision. Most companies run a background check before you start the job, so it’s most likely that they will find out. 

For many of you, it is a parole violation to lie. Don’t do it! Believe me, we have people that call us because they didn’t tell the interviewer about their conviction, got the job, and were fired because the information came to light. It is not worth it.


What else can I do?

If you want to change your life…PROVE IT. Make sure that you are changing the way that you behave everywhere. You have no idea how all of your actions make a difference. Your overall attitude is more important than you think.

You might do well on the interview, but if someone from the company sees you harassing people as they walk down the street the next day – you won’t be hired. Period.

Do something for someone else. When you can’t work, make good use of the time. If you find some place to volunteer, not only are you giving back to society, you are also demonstrating through your actions that you are a different person. When you are volunteering and active in your community, the people in your community see your actions, and you can develop their trust, which will help when it comes time to hire you. This may give you some job leads, give you references and there may be a place to list it on the application. (It certainly can go on your resume, if you have one).

Once you get the job, keep it.  Show up, get paid, and move on with your life.

© The Next Step Inc. 2011, All Rights Reserved • P.O. Box 19523, Shawnee Mission, KS 66285 • Phone: 888.998.7227 • Fax: 888.330.7079