A reader’s entire family gets seriously hurt by the fallout from an exploding job offer in the August 11, 2020 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter.

Question

exploding job offerA few weeks ago my husband applied for a new job. It took weeks just to go through the process. They ran a background check, had him take a drug test, gave him a start date, and told him when he would be flying out of state for training.

He passed the drug test and he was cleared on the background check. Now, my husband is a felon, but his conviction was 15 years ago and he has had no other problems since then. The company only went back seven years on the background check, so he saw no reason to discuss a problem 15 years old. Technically he did not lie. When they asked him about his past, he was honest and told them everything. Everything was going great. He had his dream job. I moved all of our belongings into storage and we were going to move in with family until we got the relocation fee from his new company to get a house.

The night before we were leaving my husband got a call saying he might not get hired because of the old conviction. Still, HR told him not to worry because he should be fine. So I drove my children to the new town. Then my husband gets an e-mail saying, “Upon further review of your background we have to deny you the position due to the severity of your crime.”

Are you kidding me? They gave him a start date, a date and time of his flight, how long he would be gone for training, etc. The hiring process took weeks and he passed everything. Then they tell him last minute — after I already started moving out our belongings that they changed their mind? Can they do that?

I’ve been doing all the moving by myself. I’ve gotten so sick from the stress. I can hardly eat, I’m breaking out in hives, my husband is depressed, my girls are crying because we were told he had the job, when he was going to start, and when he was going to catch a flight to go to California for training. And now — nothing. Now, I have to worry about getting evicted from my home and worry about having to go through this all over again. Is there anything we can do?

Nick’s Reply

I’m very sorry to hear about this, but it’s not the first sad story I’ve heard about an exploding job offer. A 15-year-old conviction is a lifetime ago — but your husband’s good performance and reputation are current, and in my opinion that should have held sway with this company. But I don’t run the company.

In a column about a related problem — a reader’s DUI history — I discussed some ways to deal with adverse background-check results: Bankrupt & Unemployed: Will a background check doom me?

How an exploding job offer happens

I see two problems. The employer is responsible for one; your husband, for the other. First, it appears the company did not actually give your husband a written offer, but encouraged him to believe there would be a written offer so that he’d get started on his transition immediately. That’s unethical. They should have cautioned him that he should take no actions on the new job until they delivered a written offer. (This is another reason why I believe HR should get out of the hiring business.)

Second — and this is a mistake lots of people make in their excitement about a new job — your husband should not have taken any action, including moving the family, until he had a real offer in hand in writing. I know that’s hard to swallow. But it’s just not smart to risk it all without a written offer. If he had waited until all the contingencies were resolved, he’d still lose the new job but your entire family would have been spared such trauma.

What really troubles me is the number of stories readers are submitting to me about job offers being extended — then the employer pulls the plug with no consideration for what this means to the applicant. It really stinks.

What can you do?

If this job is in a state where employment is “at will,” there’s probably little you can do. An employer can fire you at any time, for any reason or no reason — even on day one of the job.

However, you still might want to consult an attorney about this. It depends on the laws in the state where the job is and on the details. A lawyer might be able to make the case that even an oral offer is bona fide. I think it’s important that the employer told your husband “not to worry,” implying it understood his reliance on the offer. It would probably not cost a lot to consult with a good employment lawyer. No matter what you learn, you may at least feel better knowing what your options are.

The one other thing I’d suggest is that your husband reach out directly to the hiring manager that wanted to hire him. It seems only HR is handling this matter. If your husband has any respect left for this company, it’s possible that a rational appeal to the manager could turn this around. That job vacancy is costing the company money. Some assurances and a direct discussion may lead the manager to make a new judgment call. See Hiring Manager: HR is the problem, you are the solution.

I wish I could be more helpful other than telling you to be more careful next time. Since this is affecting your health and your children, please try to find some counseling. Your trauma is clearly very real. Do not let a lousy employer ruin your health and your family’s peace of mind. It’s important to be able to talk it through and deal with it.

Bad stuff happens, and sometimes dishonest employers cause it. The people at the company did not behave with integrity. The best thing your husband can do is immediately move on to the next opportunity, with a better employer. I wish you the best — I really do.

Do you have a story about an exploding job offer? How did you handle it? What advice would you offer the reader in this week’s Q&A?

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31 Comments
  1. Two things here: 1. If the job requires a security clearance, ANY felony at any time in your background is disqualifying. 2. As traumatic as it was, it was good to find out that the company is not a good one.

  2. About 17 years ago, in early November, I was interviewed for a job out of state. The organization (which had more than 15,000 employees) flew me out for an interview on a Thursday, had several staff members interview me and take me out to lunch on Friday, and then paid for my expenses for the weekend so that I could become familiar with the city before I returned home. The day before Thanksgiving, they called to offer me the job and subsequently sent an offer letter. They also paid for my trip there for a week, before Christmas, to find accommodation in the city, and then I planned to move there a couple of weeks after Christmas and start working in early January. They invested a lot of money in me up front and paid for some of my moving expenses.

    On the day that my house was empty (the movers had come and gone) in early January, and I was waiting, in my house, for my friend to drive me to the airport, I received a phone call from this organization’s HR department. They needed phone numbers for my References (which I had already provided to them). Were they only then just checking me out? I told them that all my records were in a moving van on their way to my new city, and I could not provide them with these phone numbers at that time.

    The job did not work out for me, and I resigned a couple of years later. I wonder whether they ever did speak to my References; maybe they hired me without talking to my References. When I returned to my home state, I called one of my former managers (my Best Reference). He did not recall ever speaking to anyone from that organization about me.

  3. I truly feel for you and your family’s situation. There’s no immediate “up” side, but years from now you might feel differently.

    A long time ago (late 1970’s) I was in a similar situation. However as a US citizen (with clearance), I was already working for a multinational tech company overseas under US Government contract in Germany.

    Company had another long standing contract in the UK and wanted me to transfer there. My wife’s from the UK so this was good for both the family and me. They gave me paid time off to travel to the UK to check out the job and house hunt. Came back to the regional office and signed on the dotted line. Decided to self move, so over the course of the next couple of weeks I gave notice to the landlord, rented a large box truck and loaded up. Meantime the company had offered my old job to another person who was enroute from the US.

    On the morning of the actual move the company called and said they’d changed there minds. No specific reason given. And, oh by the way, since they’d filled my position, I’m now unemployed. So there I sit in a foreign country with a wife, two small children, no place to live and no job.

    Wife and I had a long, heated discussion and decided that if this is the way the company does business, we’re done with it. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. (Ballsy move, but you gotta do what ya gotta).

    Moved to the new house in the UK and after a couple weeks of hard searching landed a job with another US tech company who were thrilled to find someone with my skills, experience and a clearance readily at hand (and they didn’t have to pay for relocation from the US to the UK). There was a small signing bonus plus a higher salary. Job lasted a couple years until they lost that contract but they paid relocation for our return to the US.

    Take away from all this: Took my lumps and never looked back. Eyes wide open when working with existing and new companies. Even with an offer in writing, you may not have a case, depending on location/laws. Ain’t nobody looking out for you/yours except you.

    And the “bad” company has since gone from a world leader tech company to an also ran, barely remembered. Karma.

  4. Agreed.

  5. Nick, unfortunately, this kind of thing is why a lot of people become convicted felons in the first place and never get their act together even long after the conviction. Some people just DO NOT know how to be “straight.” EVER. With anyone. It is OBVIOUS that if someone has a serious felony conviction, esp. one which has not been expunged, there is a good likelihood it will trail them around for the rest of their lives. NOT TELLING the employer about it, UPFRONT, is the writer’s husband’s fault. No one else’s. But this crying/playing “victim” is so so typical of LOSERS like OP and her husband. The employer did its job and they got caught trying to pull a fast one. NONE of this is on the employer–why should the employer ASSUME that an applicant will turn out to have a serious felony conviction if not told about it upfront? Con artists, criminals, felons, etc., don’t just lie to get by–they rely on the concealed truth, the half-lie, failing to provide proper context, etc. etc. In this case, it came back to bite this applicant HARD, as it should have. HONESTY is ALWAYS the best policy. And, by the way–why HASN’T he gotten his conviction expunged????

    • Tip of the hat to Jos. Welch:
      “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

      But if you keep reading, how about a little empathy, especially during the pandemic and these times of high unemployment? I will let Nick comment about the appropriateness of your comment on his board.

    • @Malthus100:

      “It is OBVIOUS that if someone has a serious felony conviction, esp. one which has not been expunged, there is a good likelihood it will trail them around for the rest of their lives.”

      No, it’s not obvious at all. The simple fact is that none of us here know any more than the OP has shared. You’re free to fall back on any assumptions about people that you want. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt unless they demonstrate some reason why they don’t deserve it. A felon is someone who has done their time for their crime. Being free and without trouble for 15 years is a good sign that a person deserves benefit of the doubt — that’s my opinion. There’s a reason why a company will go back only 7 years in a background check: older information doesn’t matter. Let only the pure and perfect cast the first stone.

      “The employer did its job and they got caught trying to pull a fast one. NONE of this is on the employer–why should the employer ASSUME that an applicant will turn out to have a serious felony conviction if not told about it upfront?”

      No, this employer did not do its job. It failed to do its job until after it made representations that led this man to rely on the offer, whether it was oral or written. I’m not a lawyer and this is not a legal opinion or advice, but this is referred to as “promissory estoppel.” Read attorney Larry Barty’s comments here: https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/11977/job-offer-rescinded

      Then look up the term here: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/promissory_estoppel.asp

      Almost ALL of this is on the employer. It apparently had every opportunity to check the background, ask questions, and determine whether to make an offer. The instant that employer made an offer, its action made it responsible, accountable and culpable. As I noted, the candidate made mistakes, too, including taking action without a written offer.

      “HONESTY is ALWAYS the best policy.”

      I agree. But in commerce, it’s also true that caveat emptor. Being honest does not mean that you disclose more than is necessary to ensure an honest, fair transaction. With 15 years of a good reputation and experience under his belt, the job candidate in this story is no more obligated to disclose events of 16 years ago a than you are to list every single job you had going back two decades, including ones you may have been fired from.

      The employer also blew it when it gave this candidate a start date, scheduled training and travel, and told him not to worry about being hired. Talk about dishonesty.

      Why he hasn’t gotten his conviction expunged is no more our business than it is the employer’s.

    • “Why hasn’t he gotten his conviction expunged”? Well, expungements aren’t cheap.
      I can assume this guy isn’t letting this felony conviction define him, but having worked in rough industries that hire felons (scrap metal yards, welding/metal fabrication), I can say that diversions and expungements, like offer letters, aren’t airtight, nor are they a cure all silver bullet.

  6. That was a kind reply, Nick. HR is only looking after themselves, not the employees and not potential hires. It is such a shame. They liked him and thought he would do a good job for a reason. Then it gets all convoluted in HR.

  7. Semantic nitpick: I had always heard the term “exploding job offer” used to refer to the scenario where a company extends an offer contingent on you providing a response within a set time period. If you don’t accept by the end of the day, boom, no more job offer. That’s a whole different kind of unethical behavior. When I was in business school, we were told that if any company tried that, we should immediately report them to career services and they would be banned from on-campus recruiting.

    I don’t know what I would call the scenario described in this post. Probably just a “rescinded job offer”. Agree that it’s equally horrible and that job seekers should always get an offer in writing before they take any further steps. I recall years ago waiting by the office fax machine to snatch the signed job offer before anyone else saw it so I could march in to my boss’ office and submit my resignation. I had no reason not to distrust the company, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

    • @Greg: That’s a good point about an offer expiring. I do think “exploding job offer” is used to describe that scenario. But at least the candidate knows what the deal is — that there’s a deadline. A rescinded offer is a much bigger explosion because you’re caught unawares.

    • I wasn’t “nitpicking”, Greg. When Henry Ford II took over the Ford Motor Company, his first job was to fire the head of the Social Services Department: HR, which had turned into a network
      of spies and employee abuse, to the point where the department head walked around with a pistol.

      It was a major event in the business press when the young Henry Forde did fire him. It’s documente in David Halberstam’s “The Reckoning”

      HR can be/has become the staging ground for a lot of company instability and manager bad habits.

  8. Apologies in advance for all the old sayings, but they are appropriate in this case! “The past always comes back to haunt you”! In this day and age of technology and the internet, back ground checking companies have access to all kinds of databases, including criminal databases in all 50 states. Even back 10 years ago, in 2010, I paid 50.00 bucks to a site to get a background check on a guy I had just started dating. I couldn’t believe all the detailed information that I got back. All the addresses where he had lived, and his beach house address, info and address of his ex-wife, information and addresses of his sister and parents. and even that he once had a lien on his house from the ex for child support of his 2 kids. Nothing criminal, Great information if I was a stalker. But I digress.
    The company said they were only going back 7 years, back that was probably for job/financial history. The felony would have come out eventually. You would always have that hanging over your head, waiting for the ax to fall. And the man probably would have been fired, and have that humiliation of being walked out the door by security.
    I am assuming the “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” question was on the initial application. if the husband, said no, dishonesty has been established from the get go.
    That being said, “honesty is the best policy”. Husband should have been upfront about the felony. Explain that you did wrong, you owned up to it, did your time, (if applicable) and you have learned from it, and are a better person because of it. Of course we don’t know the particulars, and the guy could have been a teenager when it happened. Of course a violent vs non violent/ drug related/financial related are two different things. I’m in banking and finance and if you have a felony for anything financial related like writing bad checks, or credit card fraud you will never be hired in the industry.
    People make mistakes and they deserve a 2nd chance.
    Good luck in the future!

    • How about we create laws that make it illegal to use information about a candidate older than seven years against that person? Why don’t we have stricter safeguards to protect people who are trying to get on with their lives by being productive and earning a decent living, other than resorting to working minimum wage?? Good God, if you live long enough, chances are you might have some skeletons in the closet, at least as deemed so by the all-important, perfect, arrogant HR dolts and managers. Much like HIPAA protection, many things should remain private forever, especially when they have absolutely no bearing on the job in the present day. These judgmental comments about “he should have been completely honest” etc., miss the point.

      And what’s to say that the HR person and/ or hiring manager or anyone else in the company doesn’t have something potentially questionable in their background? What happens after someone is hired with a spotless BG check, but two months into the job, they get a DUI? Or retire after thirty years but had multiple arrests for any number of things (domestic violence, tax evasion, not paying child support) that no one ever knew about because they happened after he/she was hired in 1989??

      There are often many details to a person’s alleged “crimes” (for lack of better term), and I don’t believe that things happen in a vacuum. Sometimes people get “shafted” legally, and after many attempts and dollars spent to rectify a situation, the “offense” will unfortunately never be corrected in legal jargon to reflect the accuracy of what really transpired.

      For a company to make character judgments based on a cut and dry “offense” from years ago is disgraceful. Why don’t the years of productive work life after the “offense” stand for something, as in the good outweighing the bad?

    • “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

      …and that’s just the start.

      For some government jobs there can be a list of almost twelve questions
      on that topic including “Have you ever been arrested”. Sure, some of these
      questions are technically “illegal” but I see them to this day on many
      apps from well know public and private entities.

      • The HR bureaucracy is as timid and self-serving as the Soviet bureaucracy in “The Death of Stalin.” No surprise: Stalin was a great believer in what was then called “Fordism”, and sent his best young commissars to Harvard Business School to learn it.

        That’s already been noticed in these pages. Nick’s advice has been how to spot their tricks and minimize dealing with HR. But, again: why deal with them at all? Gatekeepers aren’t resources, and parsing the rules won’t cut much ice with people who don’t intend to follow them.

  9. On another note: Even in the best of circumstances, for what ever reason a job does not always work out. if you have taken a job out of state, I would recommend you not to up and relocate the family until you know the job is going to work out, at least until you get past the 90 day probationary period. I would wait at least 6 months.
    Stay in an extended stay hotel, rent a room on Air B&B, or find a furnished place on Craig’s List. Go home when you can.
    I have two jobs I took out of state, not work out, one after three months, project I was supposed to lead and own was canceled. And the other eight months later, after I realized I wasn’t a good fit for the company and culture. In both cases I rented a one bedroom apartment and did not sell old my home, or buy a new home. I wnrt back to my old state/home and licked my wounds and started over!

    • @Kelly: Excellent advice!

    • That’s exactly what I did despite the wife at the time being all emotional about why I insisted we couldn’t pack up everything within a week of me being on the job – a job that had a one YEAR probation period.

      The full move was made about three months later. I made it through the probation period with flying colors but in the end was glad the move was delayed.

      So, in summary, NEVER be so arrogant as to think “nothing will go wrong” no matter how “good” you think you are.

  10. My company addresses this issue with clients and several members of my staff, including myself work with felons prior to their release. We focus on the application process and how the person should answer any questions concerning their incarceration. The number #1 item is for the former felon (released) to be completely honest with any prospective employer. It’s obvious this man was not. His wife states, “He technically did not lie.” That excuse and rationale doesn’t cut it and to people who deal with felons, former felons, etc. this is a dodge and denotes someone who cannot be trusted. During the time period a felon is instructed how to conduct themself once on the outside, it is repeatedly stressed to be completely honest with employers, pastors, etc. This man clearly wasn’t.
    Secondly, there are different types of felonies and each carries with it different responsibilities as well as consequences. Anyone convicted of child pornography or being a pedafile cannot ever be part of any organization that includes or involves children; EVER, as in no time the rest of that individual’s life. This is a key question concerning why this man got turned down by his prospective employer. They type of felony he was convicted of dictates the type of employment he will obtain.
    To me, it’s clear the prospective employer unearthed additional facts concerning the man’s conviction that resulted in rescinding the job offer. It’s not uncommon for companies to do additional research, especially when it comes to felonies. The wife states, “When they asked him about his past, he told them everything.” Obviously he didn’t and got caught in the process. Someone within the company raised a question about this man and elected to pursue looking deeper into his felony conviction.
    Although we know little about the company, they type of job involved, etc. what is focal is the fact the applicant was not completely honest during the application process. As such he deserves not to be hired.
    In some cases it’s unfortunate former felons are either fired or not hired simply because they committed a felony. However, their are becoming more instances when complete disclosure and knowledge of a person’s felony conviction are important. Companies dealing with military, government, or sensitive information certainly want the assurance the person they employ will not ruin the company because they are prone to committing the same felony again. Fact, 79% of former felons commit the same felony within 15 years after their release. One of my clients hired a former felon who committed embezzlement. He served 7 years of a 15 year sentence, got paroled and within 12 years embezzled 6 figures from his new boss as well as his second wife.
    The obligation is solely on the shoulders of the former felon and not on the company or anyone else. It’s the former felon who knows his trigger points, weaknesses and such. Our company advises former felons not to even consider seeking employment in fields related to their felony conviction. We also highly recommend the former felon become part of a support group similar to AA because of the accountability factor needed. To me it’s obvious this person did not do this and his wife is simply an enabler. Hopefully this man and his wife will get their act together.
    Based on facts, experience in dealing with former felons, and the evolving complexities of today’s workplace, I side with the company. It’s too easy to take a stand on an issue based on one’s emotions or worse, limited knowledge about the issue.

    • “Based on facts, experience in dealing with former felons, and the evolving complexities of today’s workplace, I side with the company. It’s too easy to take a stand on an issue based on one’s emotions or worse, limited knowledge about the issue.”

      I 100% agree.

      However, you mentioned “facts” and “emotions” in the same paragraph. Unfortunately, in todays world emotion is becoming the new “facts” for almost half of the voting public and if you don’t agree with these unstable people they’ll sabotage your position with virtue signaling which, as we’ve seen, has cost countless people their careers.

      Boiling it down even further, who in their right mind trusts anything HR says these days?

  11. It’s like being at the ball park:

    Strike One:
    “…encouraged him to believe there would be a written offer…”

    Strike Two:
    “…it’s just not smart to risk it all without a written offer.”

    Stike Three:
    “…employer pulls the plug…”

    Game over.
    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Getting angry
    at reality isn’t going to earn any sympathy points. Further,
    getting something in writing isn’t the guarantee people think
    it is either.

    So, at the very least, next time don’t take someone at their word.
    The “handshake is my bond” world disappeared over a generation ago.

    • “Getting angry at reality isn’t going to earn any sympathy points”. Spot on right!
      It appears that you and I are about the only ones on here that understand that a written offer is no guarantee. It’s worthless.
      When did a job interview become a confessional? This guy appears to have shared what was asked of him.
      Sharing too much can bite you in the backside. As you’ve well alluded to, there are those malevolent virtue signalers who are looking for a reason to take you down.!
      My candor has got me disqualified in job interviews more than once. I learned late in life to wait for an offer (if there even is one, and if my gut check is ok), then I unleash with some candor and have my come to Jesus talk. At that point, Mr at will employer can fish or cut bait. Rescind if you wish then, and not blind side me later. Some say “there’s no such thing as a victim, only volunteers”. Maybe that’s true. I think this guy may have jumped the gun to soon.
      As the old saying goes “it’s not over until the fat lady sings”.

  12. This caught my eye. I had the exact same thing happen as a recruiter. With an agency that did background checks on applicants who reached a point where we wanted to submit them to a client. The 7 year cut line. If I recall ..not always in sync. That is if we found a good candidate we could submit with the background check in progress.
    He went through all the interviews..The client liked him. Then the check came back…great for 7, but a felony 10 years or more back, a youthful and serious mistake. It seems the vendor while only obligated to go back 7 years, simply did a full check back to the beginning of time.

    First point…I did NOT consider him a liar. He was told 7 and he was truthful about 7.
    2nd point. I felt I screwed up and should have advised him to do full disclosure to me. I wasn’t a newbie, but still learning.. Then I’d have set expectations better.
    3rd point. He paid his dues, did his time. and I believed that he cleaned up his act and demonstrated it via his track record after release.
    4th He was quite competent in his field (technical)

    So I went back to my HR contact in the company, explained the situation and she in turn updated the hiring manager. They said they understood, moved on, proceeded and hired him.

    Now. take note of what I just said HR HR HR. corporate life isn’t the Brady Bunch. I’ve worked in HR as a recruiter. I’ve worked with HR as a Manager for eons. But i’m not in the HR Profession. Are they a profession populated by perfect professionals? No more than other professions. But they aren’t villains. They don’t sit around trying to devise ways to screw people. They can advise, but they don’t make the hiring call. Yes they can make hiring per se difficult, but most of the HR people I worked with did the right thing. What that HR lady did is do the right thing…take it to the Hiring manager for the call. I keep seeing people point at HR for such & such, like rescinding offers. In reality..highly highly likely it was the Hiring Manager and/or his/her’s organization that called the shot. Not HR. The Hiring Manager made the call on my candidate. Yes the HR person possibly could have killed it …but didn’t.
    \
    I believe what Nick outlined..the candidate is not obligated to reveal beyond what is asked. But my advice to candidates with issues is full disclosure about anything that would turn up in a background check. Get it on the table. to avoid blindsiding your advocates. They we’ll know how to deal with it.
    Yes it will make your search harder, but when it clicks you’ll know you’ve found a hiring manager & company who accepts that..and you. Not someone who will likely throw you under the bus, not just for your past issues, but work issues where you need a boss to have your back & when you look around, there’s no one there.

  13. There seems to be some strong opinions about several issues. No one may ever know the true answers as to a background check, as with a 96% at will employment, the actual process is almost moot in any case. But in my opinion, if I had a felony of some note on my record, particularly if it could be considered a “stupid youthful bad mistake” I think I would make it my business to let the employer know about it in a “I just want to be completely transparent here, but you should be aware of ….” If they send you packing, at least you know. Or, they may be appreciative for your candor, and consider it a plus on the character assessment side.

    But the same story about formal written offers keeps raising its ugly head. Over and over, it’s not official until it’s in writing: Offer of a job, title, salary and start date. No contingencies, or else they get a contingent acceptance with a demand for another non-contingent offer in writing when it is no longer contingent.

    And whereas I appreciate that some families cannot afford two living expenses, I heartily agree with the temporary living quarters for the new hire if it would involve significant expense and upheaval associated with a move until the new job is cemented in place, for both parties.

    • @Hank: I make a suggestion just like yours in the video within the article I link to (in the article above. https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/4066/bankrupt-unemployed-will-a-background-check-doom-me

      I agree it’s up to the candidate to convince the employer. The difference in these cases is that one conviction was a year ago, the other 15 years ago. Here’s the test I suggest a candidate should apply: Are you withholding any information that would make a material difference in your ability to do the job as expected? If not, and they don’t ask, I see no business or ethical reason to shoot yourself in the foot. Does a salesperson explain that a version of the product 10 years ago caused cancer but no worries, this version does not because we removed the offending chemical? Where does it end?

      Nothing changes the facts — as reported by the OP — that the employer misrepresented a lot. Too much.

  14. It’s time to engage in some reading comprehension concerning this case study. The wife states, “Still HR told him not to worry because he should be fine.” I very seriously doubt the HR person actually made that statement. As stated in my earlier post, I’ve work with companies that deal in the hiring of former inmates. Pause: people who have served prison time do not refer to themselves as ex-cons, former felons, or former convicts. They are emphatic about being referred to as former inmates. When it comes to sensitive issues such as former inmates who apply for a job, HR usually is instructed to proceed with a more thorough and in-depth research of that person. In today’s penal environment, one’s record proceeds through various layers of release of information. It probably is such the company had to obtain clearance of more facts and this required the extra time, if such was the case. Again I doubt the wife’s statement based on my 18 years in dealing with inmates and former inmates. IF HR made any statement it probably would have been similar to this, “At this particular time we are required to secure more in-depth knowledge of your conviction. Can you supply us with more details of your conviction?” The response by the former inmate decides what happens next and not the emotions of his wife. No one is allowed to submit information other than the former inmate, period.
    The wife then states, “So I drove my children to the new town. Then my husband gets an email saying, ‘Upon further review of your background we have to deny you the position due to the severity of your crime.” OK, the key word here is severity. As I stated in my earlier post, not all felonies are the same. It should be obvious by the women’s statement her husband’s crime was not related to some youthful mistake, others may have made. The severity was sufficient to disqualify the man due to the company’s internal policies, requirements of their clients as well as state laws. Consider this: the company hires the man but 1 year down the road, a client of the company who deals in sensitive data learns the former inmate’s crime was related to their product/service. Now the company who hired the former inmate has to justify the hiring. The client is pissed and says they will review the contract with the company. The company loses the client due to hiring the former inmate despite having the opportunity to vet him. Do you really think any company is going to put themselves in a position to lose a client or potentially face lawsuit because they did not do their duty in vetting the former inmate? Not in today’s marketplace, children. The company in all likelihood has clients who require such vetting. The company knew this when they signed the contract with the client.
    A big question concerning this case study is why didn’t the husband contact Nick and state his case? As you read the woman’s account you should see the embarrassment, anger, and humiliation that controls her. She wants justification and if she can convince the people who post on this forum, then she has that justification. She is full of bullshit up to her ears and really is a con artist, period. I say this based again on my 18 years of actually experience in dealing with this issue and the people associated with it. When dealing with inmates and former inmates, one of the first things you learn is how many are really gamers, and con artists, slick willies who never accept responsibility or accountability for their actions. Research indicates 85% of inmates and former inmates are gamers. In today’s penal environment there are 3 types of inmates. #1 Those who show no remorse and do whatever it takes to make parole. #2. Those who accept their fate and take responsibility because it was their decision to commit the crime and no one else’s. #3. Those who not only take the responsibility but also accept accountability. The third type is the one who truly makes good on the outside. The other two usually don’t and end up back doing more time.
    The wife of this man is a gamer, an enabler, and a con artist who is concerned about herself more than her husband. Yes, I have a degree in psychology with extended experience in human nature and how people think. Now please tell me again, what is your background in dealing with former inmates?
    A rabbit trail of this case study is the focus on HR, and the company’s rescinding their alleged job offer. The real issue is the FACT this man is a former inmate and he nor his wife have been honest about the particulars associated with this job denial. The company was completely justified to deny the position simply because the company did not believe the former inmate was trustworthy. If he purposely withheld pertinent facts about himself, what would he do in a position that required trust, confidence, and belief he would not violate trade secrets or other proprietary information of the company.

    It’s unfortunate this particular forum does not require submissions for study to be more detailed. If such was the case, maybe the comments would be more on point.

    The one of the differences I’ve experienced in dealing with a vast array of clients over the years is that it’s getting more difficult to get clients to utilize critical thinking in their companies, especially by people in authority. In this case, the company did use critical thinking to their benefit. Too often I’m appalled at those clients and prospects that don’t use or have this ability. The result is always a quagmire of avoidable manure. A heads up for those contemplating a job change in the near future. More companies are either hiring or outsourcing to individuals who do have the ability of critical thinking. If you don’t exhibit this quality, expect not to get a promotion, a better job, and be resigned to stay in the same mode you currently are in. The marketplace dictates, not HR and the marketplace ultimately favors those who can compete to how it evolves.

    • @Tomas: I don’t agree with your opinions but what I take issue with is your spin on the OP’s statements. The text of the OP’s story is all we have to work with. These are not academic case studies that tell us all we need to know. These are real stories from real people and they’re always incomplete.

      All we have to work with is the text.

      After announcing that “It’s time to engage in some reading comprehension concerning this case study,” you immediately discard the text and re-write the OP’s statements. So much for “reading comprehension.” If we’re to discuss this, let’s stick to the text.

      You then spin an unfair, unwarranted psychological analysis based on an entirely new story that you concocted yourself. And you call bullshit on the OP because she doesn’t fit the psych profile you spun.

      You ask some good questions about the OP and her husband. Then you answer them yourself. Then you spin more speculation from which you draw conclusions, on which you base your “advice.” I’m not saying all she wrote is the truth, but I am saying the text does not support your conclusions, nor do we have any evidence that your own experience illuminates a specific person’s own motives – a person you’ve never met or talked with. Then you decree that “felon” (her word) is not the (your) proper word. Says who?

      You even put words in HR’s mouth — a lot of them. How do you know what HR “probably” said?

      Then you defame the OP directly:

      “The wife of this man is a gamer, an enabler, and a con artist”

      Really? Based on what evidence? And your job is to help employers judge job candidates with felonies on their records?

      “Yes, I have a degree in psychology with extended experience in human nature and how people think.”

      I have a degree in psychology, too. At Stanford they taught us that “how people think” is at best a guess, and that citing your credentials to justify ugly speculation and a personal attack is not only unethical, it’s ludicrous.

  15. Just a thought regarding how the offense could be relevant to the employer:

    If it was something that would, if widely known, interfere with effective supervision, or effective teamwork, or customer relations, even if utterly un-related otherwise, I could see that as being legitimately disqualifying.

    I think of Central Park Karen, who escalated an argument about her unleashed dog by calling the cops with a fictitious complaint, did it on video, and got fired. She was at a fairly high level, entrusted with important decisions requiring good judgement, and I assume she had supervisory responsibilities. How could she go back to the office with any sense of credibility after that went public?

    At the same time, it’s too bad what happened to the OP’s family, and I hope everything works out for them.

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