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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another DUI questions

I have a question about dui and job prospects. I know people really do look at your criminal records. Well, my friend is still an undergrad in college right now. He was hoping to get into engineering for the city (so a government job). But just recently he was charged with a DUI. He was wondering if this recent DUI will affect him very badly? I.e: would employers just throw the resume and application away?

what impact can a DUI make on job prospects? how do you guys view that?


Yes, it will affect him. Your friend is an idiot. I have no sympathy for people who drink and drive. You know before you pick up that glass of alcohol that you have car keys in your pocket.

However, that being said, he's just been charged, not convicted. But we'll assume a conviction will happen shortly.

Technically, an employer can't hold a conviction against someone unless it relates to the job at hand. As I said, DUI proves you're an idiot, so that pretty much applies to every job, although I realize that I couldn't actually argue that in court. (At least I think I couldn't win with that argument. I'm not a lawyer.) But, there are million and one reasons not to hire anyone, and this black mark will not help.

Employers will not just throw his resume away though. In the professional world, resumes are usually reviewed and phone interviews conducted prior to filling out an official appliaction. You wouldn't list your DUI on your resume; You would have to list it on an application if they ask about convictions. (Although, more and more, companies are having you apply through their websites, which means filling out applications from the get go.)

A smart recruiter knows that it is illegal to consider information such as that (in most cases), and won't inform a potential hiring manager. Applying for a government job may actually be a better idea than the private sector because they tend to have stricter rules in place regarding such things.

Still, the most important thing is to tell your friend not to do it again, and work his tail end off in school to get super good grades. Take whatever internships you can get (unpaid if necessary) because in a poor job market, with a DUI in tow, it's going to be difficult to get a good job.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I don’t necessarily disagree with EHRL, as her final advice is spot on, I do think that a single mistake does not always have the dire consequences described. Early in my HR career I was shocked at the number of people applying for my jobs (unskilled, skilled trades, and professional) who had DUI convictions. Over time, I’ve realized how prevalent a problem is and decided that it wasn’t so much an issue for me if they had one. If I couldn’t get over this, my pool of good candidates would be slashed by a ridiculously large percentage. What became important to me, and a source of good probing questions, was they dealt with it going forward – did they learn a lesson. Make no mistake, I’m not condoning such behavior; it is an idiotic decision to drink and then drive. However, people, particularly young people, are prone to mistakes of this sort. Now, if you’re 45 and just got your 3rd DUI and working on your 4th under a suspended license, that’s a different story. Not only is this type of person extraordinarily lucky for not having killed themselves or someone else, they are extraordinarily short sighted and stupid – these are the real idiots. Dumb people make dump mistakes repeatedly. Sensible (notice I didn’t say smart) people learn from mistakes and are better because of it. If your friend has done well in school and proven him/herself a good student engineer with potential, someone will give them a change. What your friend really needs to worry about is the overall poor job market…

R J Hall said...

Anonymous makes a great point that people make mistakes.

Bottom line: if I have 2 candidates who are equally good in all other areas, I won't pick the guy with the DUI because that's a major judgment error, plain and simple.

EHRL is right.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that this is a government job. It will probably help him....

Anonymous said...

A DUI may prove you're an idiot, but it may indicate that you're an alcoholic. Alcoholism can be protected under ADA as long as you're not under the influence on the job. Tread carefully if you're considering not hiring someone because of a non-job related DUI.

Gene said...

I've worked in the public sector since I got out of high school in the mid-70s - US Navy as a nuclear propulsion tech, and one county and three cities as an environmental regulator. Public jobs are not normally filled in the manner EHR talked about. The first thing filled out to apply for an opening is the application, a resume may or may not be requested as additional information (usually not.) Sometimes, especially in technical jobs, there will be a supplemental questionnaire to flesh out the applicants' knowledge and skill set. HR will look at all this stuff and compare to the qualifications and experience requested in the call for applicants. For entry-level positions where there may be hundreds of applicants there will usually be a written test to which everyone who met the minimum qualifications will be invited. Then typically the top 12 or 15 applicants (either through testing or evaluation of the applications and questionnaires) will be invited to an interview board. All the ones I've sat on were three or four people plus an HR person to keep things moving. The interview board has a chance to review each application then a set list of questions that will be asked so each applicant is judged equally. The board rates each applicant immediately after the interview. Once all this is done all interviewed applicants are given their ranking and have an opportunity to appeal. Once the appeal time is over, a ranked list will be sent to the Civil Service Commission for approval. When we get an approved list usually the top three will get interviews with the actual hiring manager.

At least that's how it works in most cities and counties; patronage places like Chicago are very different and more mirror private employers. Yes, it's a long convoluted process, but it's mandated by law and allows for objective rating of the applicants. The "soft" stuff like personality fit into a particular work group come at the hiring manager stage.

This was a long way of saying to the questioner, "Yes, the city will know about the conviction before any interviews." I've sat on probably 30 hiring interview boards over the years and could probably count the number of people I've interviewed who had a DUI on their application on one hand.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend that your friend not consider applying for jobs that require driving or a valid drivers license as a job requirement as this would be a fast disqualification. As time goes on the DUI should not be a problem assuming your friend does not have a recurrence.

Anonymous said...

considering the hazard from cell phone use is comparable to that from DUI, will you also not hire anyone with a cellphone usage ticket?

For the vast majority of jobs, what someone does outside the job doesn't have a whole lot of connection with what they do on the job.

class-factotum said...

"For the vast majority of jobs, what someone does outside the job doesn't have a whole lot of connection with what they do on the job."

Except a recent DUI does show bad judgment. Ten years ago? Big deal. People can mature. But last year? I would hesitate.

And if this means the person is an alcoholic (the protected class you get from open bottles), how can you be sure that person won't drink on the job? At lunch? And then hit another employee in your parking lot and open you up to all kinds of litigation?

TheLabRat said...

WHile I agree with Evil that DUI = dumbass (assuming your homie really was over the limit, not uncommon for false DUI charges to be placed), it has been my experience that most people don't care and will sympathize with the "poor person" and the fines and classes they may now have to take. Frankly, I find this disgusting but there it is.

So it make not, in terms of future employment, affect him that much. If he's pretty young (under 25), people may be even more forgiving of it as long as he doesn't do it again.

All of that said, if I were in charge of the world, he'd lose his license for life if convicted. I've lost more than one good friend to drunk drivers and the only people with DUIs I have any sympathy for are those who got a bad cop with a worse breath test machine.

Anonymous said...

"For the vast majority of jobs, what someone does outside the job doesn't have a whole lot of connection with what they do on the job."

If a job requires a valid drivers license a DUI is very relevent. Typically, a DUI means you will lose your license for at least 1-2 months. As an employer I don't want to risk having to fire this person when and if it happens again and they can not do their job.

Anonymous said...

I must have missed the part of the question where the asker condoned his friend's behavior, and then asked for a holier-than-thou sermon into the bargain.

Buy Soma said...

We must be more attentive and more determined with our jobs, all valid id's must be present.

Angela said...

Your friend should obtain a lawyer to try and get his record expunged. I do not know what state you are in, but in PA you can attend ARD classes after a first offense (If he's eligible). I am not a lawyer, but I work for one and we have a law blog with a lot of information on DUI's.

http://www.lancasterlawblog.com/articles/duiard-1/

Feel free to check out the DUI section linked above for more information on his legal options.

Anonymous said...

A sermon? It was three sentences. It's hardly "holier-than-thou" to say that driving under the influence is stupid. If Evil HR Lady said taking a hair dryer into the shower was stupid would that be "holier-than-thou" too?

As for the alcoholism thing, I think it's a huge leap to go from DUI to alcoholic and an even bigger leap to go from not hiring someone due to a DUI to an ADA violation.

- RP

Anonymous said...

Although I agree that DUIs are horrible, I'd like to know how many of you who are saying how stupid you have to be to get one has NEVER (as in not one single time in your entire life) gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. The difference is that you didn't get caught. You may say you "were under the limit" or "not impaired" but unless you were stopped and tested - how do you know for sure. It's a bad decision to drive after drinking and the risk is not worth it; however, I highly doubt that no one here can honestly say they have never driven after drinking.

Anonymous said...

You do the crime and you do the time, that should be it. This B.S about holding things agaisnt people is discrimatory. I don't condone drinking and driving, but I also believe people should not be sterotyped and discriminated agaisnt for something they served there time for. If the gov decides that a DUI should = no job ever after the fact, then let it be written in the laws. If people say that person may do it again, well let them, then let them serve there time again. People are living creatures who need to eat and tend to family. They make a msitake, let the "laws" take care of them, it is NOT right for citizens to start punishing people, it is not there place, if people think they should, then start a revolution and overthrow the gov, because you are anti-gov and maybe a "terrorist" ? ? ? Don't like how that sounds eh? haha.. This conversation is a joke and people need to STOP policing each other, let the law do that.

drunkard said...

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I ran across your blog and thought my website and DUI experience might be of some use to you. Sorry for the spam. Please forward along the link to anyone else you think may benefit from it.

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Anonymous said...

Drinking and driving endangers public lives, but it is not the only way people place others at risk. Falling asleep at the wheel statistically causes more deaths than vehicular alcohol incidents. People who drive tired are not referred to as "idiots" because they are not perceived to have a weakness in moral character like people who drink and drive. Alcoholism is not loosely referred to as a disease. It is a researched medical condition with underlying pathology. Obviously, if the reason someone continues to encounter drinking and driving arrests can be attributed to stupidity, criminalizing and branding them for life would be effective. Treatment is now court ordered with a first arrest because it has been determined that being an "idiot" is not the reason a person drinks and drives. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it is really important that we change our attitudes towards substance abuse for our own safety.

Anonymous said...

People who fall asleep, talk on cellphones, and my favorite...soccer moms yelling at the kids cause more accidents than drunk driver's with a B.A.C below .16. The limit is to low to crucify people and if people want to crucify drunk drivers because of deaths then they should be consistent and crucify the people who fall asleep, talk on cell phones and especially MADD soccer moms yelling at the kids in the car and not paying attention to the road. Put the soccer moms in jail for a year and take their license away forever since they are to stupid to watch where they are driving and yell at the kids when they get home!

Anonymous said...

Having been on the receiving end of a DUI 3 years ago at age 37, I can assure you the consequences for my actions have far outweighed the .12 that I blew. I can also tell you that I certainly did not think that I was in a state not to be able to drive after attending a family BBQ where I consumed 5 beers in 3 hours. The state police officer who asked me to drive a couple of friends home using his vehicle certainly did not feel I had too much to drink either. I do not feel that my actions were a result of stupidity, nor alcoholisim. I have never been in trouble with the law prior or since and all though my DUI was reduced to a Driving while impaired in the state of Michigan I still received 1 night in jail, 4 points on my license, restricted driving priveleges for 90 days, over $1600 in court costs and fines, 6 months probation and a drivers responsibility fine of $500 per year for 2 years. Since I am in the securities business, this must be a part of my public disclosure record for both my insurance and securities licenses. I am also on two youth sports league boards and coach both baseball and football and must report and disclose this information and explain the incident every year.

I have been denied the ability to sell for or through several carriers. I have tried applying at several firms and immediately upon disclosure of the incident, I have been told that they cannot hire me. I have also just recently been offerred a position outside of my industry after two months of interviews, accepted the position and the offer was retracted two days later when the impaired driving was disclosed as part of a background questionaire and investigation. Apparently I can be president of the United States (George Bush) with a DUI but I can't be a salesmanager, where no aspect of my job description is related to driving??

The beauty of this, is in the State of Michigan any alcohol related driving offense is non-expungible and will remain on public record for life. Does the punishment meet the crime, ask the over 20% of the male population of the State of Michigan, which is the number of individuals according to many of you are "stupid alcoholics", that have received a alcohol driving related ticket.

As a prior service Marine, an active volunteer within my community, a charitibale and church going person and well respected business man in my community and a graduate of the University of Michigan I will put my intelligence, integrity and moral fiber against anyone.

For all of you who feel it is stupidity or alcoholism that causes a person to receive a dui, I will just leave it at ..."you are all very wrong!" Also anyone who feels my right to work or support my family should be taken away because of this should truly be in no position to make hiring decisions.

Anonymous said...

^I totally am with you on this. The main issue I think is the ability to find work. It's been seven years since my DUI and the difficulty in finding work has been formidable. I'm ABD working on my doctoral dissertation and I actually want to work in the private sector in computer graphics and IT. But a DUI in Florida stays on the record for 75 years. It cannot be expunged. I completed DUI school, counseling, community service, jail work camp, paid fines and yet I still have to reference this seven years later on job applications: long after I have paid my debt to society. I made a mistake but I should not be punished for life, especially when I did not take a life: all couda or wouda conjecture is immaterial.

Anonymous said...

while all doors closes for an ex DUI offender he will be thinking,now what am I goin to do rob you car and house,come on think about it the that exactly what we may push people to!!!everybody deserves a second chance to get bette,it is up on the law to enforce severe punishment!

Anonymous said...

Evil is fitting for you to say the least. I am dealing with my first dui and have already experienced many issues with it. I had a great job offer resended but even with my dui I was able to keep the job I was leaving based on my work ethic, accomplishments and demeanor of how I handle my work related responsibilities. Yes, I admit I made a mistake but should that be held against me for the rest of my life? I sure hope not!

I dont think any employer should overlook someone based on ONE mistake in their life. I am sure the people who do the hiring do not have the best MORAL character (dark secrets) and they should not judge someone based on a mistake. Jesus is the only one I know who walked this earth and was perfect. Dont try to act like you havent made a mistake or two in you life. #justsaying!