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USPS Background Checks: How to Answer Questions on Criminal Background

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It’s a fact that Federal government agencies are rather strict when it comes to their hiring process. Most of the time, having a criminal record will automatically bar an applicant from being offered a Federal job. What about if you want to work for an independent Federal agency like the United States Postal Service? Will you get barred from being a postal worker if you have been convicted in the past? How should you treat such questions when lodging your application?

First, the good news. The US Postal Service recognizes the fact that a criminal record is only one facet of an individual’s profile. They know that many individuals who have criminal records but have successfully shown that they have been rehabilitated can do postal worker jobs. Thus, when it comes to determining the employability of those who have previous brushes with the law, it is USPS policy to evaluate their employability on an individual basis.

Honesty in your application when it comes to any offenses which you had previously is a must. All felonies and misdemeanor convictions and convictions in state and federal courts are criminal convictions and should be disclosed in your applications. Even if you did not spend any time in jail and/or were not required to pay a fine, you still need to disclose.

However, the USPS states that there are records which you need not disclose. The USPS application states that you may omit the following: “

1) Any charges that were dismissed or resulted in acquittal;

2) Any conviction that has been set aside, vacated, annulled, expunged, or sealed;

3) Any offense that was finally adjudicated in a juvenile court or juvenile delinquency proceeding; and

4) Any charges that resulted only in a conviction of a non-criminal offense.”

Another question which USPS applicants need to contend with in their application form is if they have been fired from a previous job. Best advice? Be honest. If you have been fired from a job, answer “yes”. This does not automatically disqualify you. The USPS will evaluate your employment history and consider your reasons for being fired from a job. If you quit, they will also look closely at the circumstances that led to your decision to leave that job.

Be informed that during the suitability screening process, the Postal Service will do criminal records and vehicle history checks (if you are applying for a position where using a vehicle is required) from independent consumer reporting agencies. However, they will ask for your consent to be able to do this. If you don’t give your consent within five business days, this could mean lost USPS employment opportunities as the Postal Service will assume that you are no longer interested for the position.

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