One issue that faces recruiters, candidates, and employers alike is the proliferation of DWI’s (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) among job applicants. In many cases a DWI or DUI can end an employment opportunity or job interview right from the start. Because of a heavy crack down on drunk driving, many people are faced with a misdemeanor on their record that can have major career implications. Although some employers have a zero tolerance attitude toward DWI’s and DUI’s there is a way to present your situation to a potential employer that could be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job.
The key to dealing with a DWI or DUI when you interview for a job is not only how but also when you present the fact that you have a DWI or DUI. Never go into an initial job interview or your first face-to-face meeting and tell the hiring official you have a DWI / DUI on your record. It is not necessary to tell your headhunter this information on the first introduction either. Doing so would be like going on a first date and telling that person you have bad breath. Beginning any job interview with this information will not only send the wrong message but also destroy any chance you may have at getting the job.
The key is waiting till the hiring official has conducted the first phone interview or the first face-to-face interview. Once you have an indication that the employer has a significant interest in you as a potential candidate you should explain how and when you received your DWI / DUI. Do this right before you fill out an application. Do not fill out an application and indicate that you have a misdemeanor (DWI, DUI) on your record without explaining this to the hiring manger or human resources executive first!
It has always been my experience that if you are the right candidate employers have the power to overlook the DWI / DUI on your record. When you present your situation to the hiring manger be one hundred percent truthful. Even the smallest of companies use sophisticated background checks that will give them your complete history. If they find out your were lying or even telling a half truth it has always been my experience that they will cut off communication with you immediately.
Writen by: Brian A. Kirk Jr. (Principal L.C. KIRK)
Brian Kirk is currently a principal with L.C. KIRK a leading executive recruiting firm based in St. Louis Mo.