Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Management and International Business

First Advisor

Russ H. Willis

Advisor Department

Management and International Business


This thesis presents a view into the way employers view hiring decisions with particular focus on the hiring of former criminals, and what information these hiring professionals require in order to make what they would consider an educated hiring decisions related to the risks associated with hiring individuals with prior criminal histories. While there are thousands of people looking for jobs in the United States, there is a parallel employment gap for former criminals. For numerous reasons, the unemployment rate is much higher for former criminals. Abundant research has found that, in general, employers and the public believe two very basic things: individuals who serve time for their crimes should be given a second chance and employers should try to help people get back on their feet after these people diligently serve their time in prison. The harsh reality is that it is enormously difficult for former criminals to find work and build a sustainable life after serving time in prison. Therefore, this thesis will explore the use of background checks in hiring decisions, employer views on the information that background checks provide, employer views on hiring personnel with criminal backgrounds, what information these employers use and would like to use in making hiring decisions, the risks of hiring an individual with a criminal background, and what may or may not make these hires successful. This paper provides answers to two very important questions: What information do employers need to make an informed hiring decision as it relates to hiring individuals with criminal histories? and Is more detailed information enough to mitigate the perceived risks of hiring someone with a criminal record?