Q: Hello. I am currently searching for employment as a librarian. I have my master’s in library science and practical experience working in academic and special libraries part time for several years. I got a DUI in 2007 and I am wondering how this affects my job search and how employers treat qualified candidates with a DUI on their record. Any insight?
TA: A lot of employers these days require candidates to complete an authorization form to run a criminal background check, and in some cases this can cover everything from routine traffic violations (especially if the job requires a valid driver’s license in good standing) to more serious criminal violations. Each institution approaches this differently, and in some cases, the employer can run a risk assessment to determine if the violation is serious enough (or related enough) to the job to disqualify the candidate from employment. My advice would be to be honest when asked to complete the form and disclose any criminal convictions. I think the worst case scenario would be discovering a criminal conviction when none was disclosed by the candidate completing the form. You may also want to look into the possibility of having the DUI expunged. Some states allow for this and you may want to contact a lawyer to find out if it is possible and in your best interest.