Felons are easily one of the most marginalized groups in the job market. Whether SME or corporate entity, the preference seems to be for non-felons. People simply tend to distrust those with a criminal past.
Many that struggle trying to find gainful employment will often target large organizations. The number and variety of vacancies are generous here. Many large firms also support second chance initiatives for felons.
When considering a company like USPS, it does seem to tick all the boxes. So the question remains: Does USPS hire felons.
Before we get to that, let us discuss what other reasons employers do not like hiring felons.
Criminal behavior tends to indicate a lack of integrity. This is a trait that is important in the workplace.
For a company to trust you will treat your coworkers and clients well, there should be a history of good behavior. Or a lack of bad behavior. A criminal record is evidence of bad behavior.
Certain crimes also seem to be in direct conflict with some job roles. For instance, it would be risky to hire a person convicted of robbery to work as a cashier. Similarly, you would not want to make a sexual abuser the role of caregiver at a senior home.
So, in addition to trying to find employers that support second chance efforts, one should consider job roles. If there is a conflict, consider other roles.
In trying to find a job as a felon, it is very much a numbers game. You have to make many attempts, in many places. And hopefully, something sticks.
What Is USPS?
The USPS stands for the United States Postal Service. It is an independent federal authority responsible for providing postal services to the U.S. and its territories.
The service has almost 500,000 full-time employees and contracted another 137,290 temporary workers in 2018. Having been in existence since 1775, the USPS has been of great service to the population. It now, however, faces stiff competition from private firms like UPS and FedEx.
Even in a competitive environment, the company continues to see demand for its services despite profitability challenges. Package delivery does seem to however bring improved revenues. This is partly thanks to the new age of online shopping and home deliveries.
As a growth area, package deliveries offer good work opportunities for felons as well. However, the USPS does have other vital departments. These include administration, marketing, IT, facilities, logistics, plant operations, and retail support.
Many felons focus on entry-level positions. This is because the work experience and academic requirements tend to be lower. Some of the most available entry-level jobs at USPS include:
- Mail handler
- City carrier
- Mail processing clerk
- Sales associate
- Distribution associate
Now let’s find an answer to our outstanding question.
Does USPS Hire Felons?
The answer is yes. According to the USPS hiring policy, the Postal Service does evaluate candidates with criminal convictions or pending charges. They recognize rehabilitation efforts and those with the capabilities for the job.
They state that they judge each candidate on individual merits. This just means they decide a candidates’ fate on a case-by-case basis.
This is good news for felons as it means a chance at a good federal job. Federal employment is highly desirable.
It offers opportunities for career growth and great benefits. Job security also tends to be better than in the private sector.
Online anecdotal testimonials further confirm that USPS does hire felons. While most testimonies do not fully describe the crimes committed, some felonies and misdemeanors are evident.
However, some testimonies suggest that not all Postmasters are on the same page about hits. Felons may find some regions harder to get hired at than others.
Does USPS Support Second Chance Initiatives
As mentioned, companies that support second chance initiatives are a good place for felons to seek jobs. This means they support laws and campaigns that are designed to aid ex-cons to find gainful employment.
One of the most important initiatives is Ban-the-Box. It seeks to have employers remove questions on criminal history in job applications. This way employers can focus on the suitability of the candidate for the job without worrying about the criminal past.
Many such employers will still, however, carry out background checks later as a condition of employment. Those that support this initiative thus only learn about a candidate’s crimes towards the end of the hiring process.
This has sometimes proven controversial as some employers may be forced to reject candidates due to conflicts. That means having wasted time and money on evaluating a candidate who could have been eliminated earlier.
Another key initiative is the Fair Chances Business Pledge. Targeting private firms, it also calls for banning the box. It equally advocates for the training of HR staff to make fairer hiring decisions for felon applicants. The pledge also recommends the inclusion of felons in internships and job training.
Proposed by the White House during President Obama’s era, these initiatives have long been adopted by federal authorities, including the postal office.
So while they will indeed conduct background checks, this will be after fair consideration for the job. Any revelations of criminal history will be judged on its merits.
Much weight will be given to the initial evaluation, looking at the candidate’s capabilities, traits, and qualifications.
Those with minor convictions are probably the most likely to not face many challenges. If they have the right other qualifications for the job.
The Hiring Process
To apply for a job at USPS, you will need to visit their careers webpage. Applications are to be filled and submitted online. You can browse the available job opportunities based on such criteria as location and department.
This search can be done without creating a candidate profile. You will, however, need to create a profile when making an application.
Before you pick out a job to apply for, ensure you meet the general requirements. These include:
- Being 18 years at the time of appointment, or 16 years with a high school diploma
- A US citizen or permanent resident in the US or it territories
- Provide recent employment history
- Pass a background check, drug test, and medical assessment
Those seeking jobs involving driving should have a clean driving record.
If you meet the criteria, review the role and requirements for the job you are interested in. Also, study the duties and responsibilities of the job. The jobs will typically require the completion of an assessment questionnaire.
Entry-level candidates must sit the 473 Postal exam. Other higher-level positions like mechanics, clerks, and machinists also need to sit a written exam. The Postal Service will inform candidates of the testing venue and date.
Professional and corporate positions do not call for these exams. Candidates here are judged based on work experience, education, and interview performance.
If you feel that you qualify for the position, click on the apply button near the top of the page. This will take you to the login page if you have not already logged in. If you have no profile, you will need to create one to proceed.
Local management conducts interviews for its hiring needs. Know that interviews are for elimination to identify the best candidates. Preparation will be key.
Does USPS Conduct Background Checks
As mentioned, yes, the USPS does conduct background checks. All federal jobs require this to be done. to carry out this check, certain details will be requested:
- Full name
- Current and previous addresses
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number (for driving jobs)
- Completed consent form
According to the careers page, the Postal Service conducts a local criminal records check during the suitability screening process. More detailed reports are requested later in the hiring process.
The candidate receives an email requesting consent for this check. It is important to give this consent otherwise they assume the candidate is no longer interested in the job. You will be given just 5 calendar days to complete and send back the consent form.
Once you give consent, they will use a consumer reporting agency. The agency will be contracted to carry out a criminal record check and motor vehicle record check. The motor vehicle check is only necessary for jobs that involve driving.
Background checks will only go as far back as the state law allows. Some states have a 7-year limit on these reports. Others only permit convictions to be reported.
Check on the laws applied to background checks in your state to learn what details will be revealed. Better yet, run a background check on yourself using a reputable reporting agency. That way you know what disclosures to make when asked.
Also, note that offenses that have been expunged or sealed need not be disclosed. The same goes for charges dismissed or that resulted in acquittal. Juvenile offenses can also be skipped.
Does USPS Perform Drug Screening
Yes. Drug screening is mandatory for government agencies. This comes towards the end of the hiring process.
According to the hiring policies, a pre-employment drug screening must be passed. Some anecdotal testimonies, however, suggest that drug screening is not always done.
It is best to err on the side of caution and act as though it will happen. Keep off drugs if you want the job.
Remember that though many states have legalized marijuana, it is still a Schedule I drug according to federal law. And USPS is a federal agency.
Note that depending on the physical demands of the job, you may need to undergo a medical assessment.
Crimes That May Disqualify Candidates
While USPS does not list the particular crimes that could disqualify a candidate, anecdotal evidence does give some indications.
Theft and robbery may make it hard to be trusted with people’s packages. Sex offenses can also be a problem if you want to work in deliveries.
Some locations may be within forbidden zones like schools and playgrounds. As a clean driving record is required for driving jobs, felony vehicular offenses may prove problematic.
Acts of treason do also disqualify offenders from federal jobs. Mail fraud does touch directly on USPS’s primary functions, making it a possible disqualifier.
However, time, since the offenses took place and rehabilitation, may help overcome the seriousness of some of these crimes.
Federal jobs come with perks that can be hard to find in the private sector. They have a more generous attitude towards felons, making them a good employer to pursue. The potential for career growth and a variety of job opportunities also makes them attractive.
As a federal agency, USPS offers much the same benefits. If stable employment is something you aspire for, then this is it.
Based on their public hiring policies and testimonials, felons have a reasonable chance of securing jobs at USPS. However, it is vital to note that even non-felons want to work here. That means high competition for the same jobs.
It is ideal to work on building a solid resume that will help make you stand out as a candidate. Do your research on their assessment tests. These are also used to whittle down to the few top candidates.
If you get to the interview stage, be truthful about your criminal past. It will be discovered anyway when a background check is done. Providing full disclosure will help demonstrate your honesty.
However, remember to also focus on the other ways you have changed since. Emphasize on such positive accomplishments as educational milestones and volunteering.