In the last post, Bankrupt & Unemployed: Will a background check doom me?, we discussed how a reader who is applying for a job (and who is qualified) might overcome obstacles that come up when the employer does a background check. Problems like bankruptcy triggered by long-term unemployment — and a year-old DUI (driving while intoxicated) violation.

Knowing what to do is one thing. Facing the employer and knowing what to say — and being able to say it — is something else. In this edition, let’s discuss How to Say It.

There are two keys to convincing an employer to take a chance on you:

  1. Personal recommendations from credible people who know your character and your work ethic.
  2. A clear commitment — which the employer will never ask for, but which you must offer in order to get a job offer. To find out what that commitment should be, please watch the video.

What would you say to a hiring manager to get past such obstacles? And if you’re a manager, what would a candidate need to say and do to convince you to give him or her a chance?
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  1. Dear Nick,
    I agree with your approach. However, I think that the candidate might also want to get to know the hiring manager on a personal level (say by attending the same professional association meetings) so that the hiring manager can have his own idea of the person’s worth.

    This third requirements makes the job hunt even more difficult. But forewarned is forearmed.

  2. Nick

    I like your approach.

    The only thing I can think of is how to answer “So, what have you been doing the last two years?” Give examples of how you’ve kept your skills sharp.

  3. Nick,
    I have a question on reporting a DUI. After being laid off, I have been in the job market just over three months. In 1985 I had a DUI, which I acknowledge in completing on line applications. I have been applying for positions that I’m highly qualified for, but no nibbles. My question, is the old DUI a red flag for automatic exclusion? Should I leave out the 26 year old DUI on future applications?

  4. @Pete

    IANAL, but it would depend on the position, and how they phrased the question. Have you ever been convicted of a DUI? Yes. Have you in the last n years (where n < 26)? No.