A [background check] company that has never met me made the decision on my employment

Mar 31, 2024

When Criss first moved out to Colorado to look for a job, he was concerned that his criminal record might present some challenges.

While looking for resources to help him in this regard, he came across the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) and became a participant. He was immediately given work on a crew and connected with a job coach who was working to help connect him to fair chance employers. He also continued to eagerly search on his own for opportunities.

“I sent out resumes and applied online with Craigslist,” Criss said. “I started to get positive responses and I scheduled an interview at this community center. Because the meeting was on Zoom, I never had to fill out an application and we never talked about my incarceration.”

Criss made sure that his criminal charges were discussed early on in the interview, and the hiring manager, impressed with Criss’s resume and professionalism, said that he would recommend him for the position

“I was scheduled for an orientation, but the day before, I got a call saying I can't do it until the formal background check came back,” Criss said.

The next day, Criss got a letter from the background check company telling him that they were going to recommend the employer not hire him. A week later he received a formal letter from the community center stating that “the decision was based in whole on the investigative consumer report we received about your criminal history.”

“A company that does background checks and has never met me made the decision on my employment,” said Criss.

For Chris, that was not the end of his journey, but just the beginning.

It turned out that Criss was a perfect fit for CEO’s Emerging Leaders Program, a 12-week paid on-the-job apprenticeship program, and was selected to work alongside the organization’s communications department.

Criss remains optimistic that the skills he is gaining now and his strong work ethic will pay off and help him overcome the barriers of his criminal record.

Learn more about how CEO is trying to remove those barriers altogether, by visting MoreThanABackground.org.