From fighting a charge for resisting arrest to facing embezzlement accusations,  a potential employee’s criminal charges can raise concerns for any business owner. While a criminal charge needn’t automatically disqualify someone, it’s important to be thorough in your evaluation. 

So here are 3 tips for hiring someone who is currently facing criminal charges.

Evaluate the Nature of the Charges

Understanding the specifics of the charges helps determine their relevance and potential impact on the candidate’s ability to perform their job duties. Charges related to integrity, theft, or violence might be more concerning for certain roles, especially those involving sensitive information or customer interaction.

You want to:

  • Look up the details of the charges, including the nature of the offense, the context in which it occurred, and the current status of the legal proceedings.
  • Engage with legal professionals to understand the implications of the charges.
  • Conduct a risk assessment to evaluate how the charges might impact your business, considering factors like the candidate’s role, company reputation, and potential legal liabilities.

For example, if you’re hiring for a financial role and the candidate faces charges of embezzlement, the nature and relevance of the charges are directly related to their potential job functions. In contrast, a candidate facing unrelated charges, such as a minor traffic violation, poses a different level of risk.

Assess Their Professional History

A candidate’s past work history and performance mean insight into their professional behavior and ability to handle job responsibilities effectively, despite personal challenges.

So, you want to:

  • Contact previous employers to gather information about the candidate’s work ethic, reliability, and integrity.
  • Examine performance evaluations, commendations, or disciplinary records to gauge their professional conduct and achievements.
  • Perform thorough background checks to validate the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate.

Implement Conditional Hiring Terms

Conditional hiring can be a great safeguard for the company, allowing for the assessment of the candidate’s performance and reliability under close supervision while protecting the company from potential risks associated with the candidate’s legal situation.


  • Set a probationary period during which the candidate’s performance and adherence to company policies are closely monitored.
  • Outline specific conditions related to their employment, such as regular performance reviews, adherence to legal obligations, and immediate disclosure of any changes in their legal status.
  • Develop comprehensive policies with input from legal and HR professionals to handle situations where the charges might impact employment.

For example, offer a position to a candidate facing charges of disorderly conduct with the understanding that their employment is subject to a six-month probationary period. During this time, their performance is regularly evaluated, and any legal updates are reported. If the candidate demonstrates excellent performance and there are no further legal issues, their employment can be confirmed post-probation.

Considering candidates who are fighting a charge doesn’t have to mean awful repercussions for your business. Try out these tips.