Home improvement has become big business. Many people will still hire contractors to spruce up or repair their homes. Others have however been inspired by TV shows and online tutorials.
This has led to a growing DIY culture. More homeowners are picking up tools and visiting home improvement stores to work on projects.
This has helped boost businesses like Lowes. Their customer base continues to grow as DIY projects become the norm.
But how does this affect the job market? Does Lowes run background checks? Do they hire felons?
The answers to these questions are vital given the many ex-cons that lack work.
As one of the biggest retailers in the country, Lowes is an ideal employer for many people. But does it support second chances for those with criminal pasts?
Many people with criminal records find it hard to find good jobs and housing. They are often pushed to the brink of poverty and easily re-offend.
This is why initiatives like Ban-the-Box and the Fair Chance Business Pledge matter. They were designed to help those with criminal records get a fairer chance of securing good jobs. Mainly by having employers exclude questions on criminal past early on in the hiring process.
This gives those with otherwise good qualifications a chance to impress hiring managers. However, background checks can still be done later. Many businesses do this as a condition for employment.
Before we go further, let’s consider why Lowes makes for a desirable employer.
Why Work at Lowes?
Lowes is a great retailer to work for. They offer a very good pay and benefits package.
The company offers both 401 (k) contribution and pension plans. They also offer access to a slew of insurance plans for health, dental, life, disability, and more. Employees are well covered in many cases.
Lowes also offers paid vacation time and sick leave. Those that do volunteer work can also be compensated for this time.
Those in school may also be entitled to partial tuition assistance. The company also offers a variety of trade skills scholarships. Employees can easily further their education by taking advantage of discounted online university programs.
There are also employee discounts for those wanting to buy from the store. The casual dress and work atmosphere are also a plus for many people.
Lowes also runs an employee relief fund. This fund helps those that suffer events that cause major hardship.
Situations like bereavement, natural calamities, and medical emergencies can qualify. The company matches contributions from employees to this fund.
The prestige of working for such a big brand retailer is also of benefit to some.
Those starting without skills or academic qualifications can often find jobs here. They regularly have seasonal entry-level vacancies. This can be good for felons with little job experience to start with.
Positions such as stocker, cashier, and sales associate often come up and can lead to a permanent job. Many such jobs only need the employee to be literate and meet certain physical requirements.
But are any of these benefits actually within reach for felony or misdemeanor offenders?
Does Lowes Run Background Checks?
Yes. Like many big retailers, Lowes does indeed run background checks on its employees.
This is not unexpected given the size of their business and liability issues. Background checks are done to discover if a job candidate may have a criminal record. This will apply to their character.
Character assessment is part of the hiring process. Employers want to better understand the type of person they are hiring. A criminal record is considered a sign of bad character.
It can often denote dishonest or violent nature. As such, those convicted of violent offenses and theft are often unlikely to be hired by such employers.
They may however still be in the running if their offenses are quite old. And they have managed to keep crime-free since.
The Lowes job application makes it clear that any job offer is contingent on passing a background check. A drug and alcohol screening is also included.
The application also includes a question relating to criminal convictions. This provides a chance for candidates to explain.
So what else is involved in the hiring process?
Hiring Process at Lowes
Job applications are typically done online. The company has a dedicated careers page where job listing of the various locations and departments are listed. You may also opt to apply in person at one of the locations.
The application will require you to fill in personal info. You will also need to provide work history, references, and indicate availability.
Besides the application, candidates will need to complete a character and reasoning assessment test. Thereafter you can expect to undergo at least two interviews.
It is during the first interview that you will need to sign a consent form for a background check. And consent to a drug and alcohol screening.
Note that these screening may be repeated later in the event of a workplace injury. Or if there is suspected intoxication.
Next, you will be recalled for further interviews and assessment.
Some jobs can take up to two months for a final decision. However, many entry-level positions can be filled within two weeks. Especially when the demand for workers is high.
Tips to Getting Hired
Be sincere about your past. As soon as you get a chance to meet the hiring manager, be honest with your history. Explain your convictions and always take responsibility.
Also, emphasize the positive changes you have made in life. Lowes is very active in communities and even compensates those that do volunteer work.
Try to get respected members of the community to act as your references. Ask them to highlight the ways you have become a contributing member of society.
Apply to various locations to boost your chances. Also, indicate a willingness to be flexible about working hours.
When attending the interview, be sure to dress neatly and speak politely. Be sure to have done some research. You need to speak knowledgeably about the company to indicate your enthusiasm for the job.
If possible, consider getting your records expunged. More so if the offenses were violent or theft-related. Generally, expunging your records can be a big help in finding good jobs and housing.
Some states allow certain felonies to be reduced down to misdemeanors. Check to see if this can apply to your case.
As a big company, Lowes likely has to adhere to state and federal standards when it comes to reporting. This means that background checks may have reporting limits based on state laws.
Those with older convictions or arrests may not have much to worry about. It can be useful to run your own background report to ascertain what will pop up. Otherwise, expungement is the best option.
Lowes seems to handle the issue of crimes on a case-to-case basis. They will factor in the severity of the offense, how long since conviction, and if a repeat offender. They will also consider the positive changes the person has made in life.
So, it is up to the job seeker to make themselves the best candidate for the job. Put your best foot forward and do not give up.
Committing a crime is not the end of life. How you commit to making positive changes and seeking new opportunities is what matters.