Amazon is one of the largest employers in the United States, with over 1 million employees across the country. If you‘re considering applying for a job at Amazon, you may be wondering – what exactly does their background check entail?
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through everything you need to know about Amazon‘s background check policy, including what criminal records they look for, how far back they go, what disqualifies candidates, and more.
Here‘s a quick overview of Amazon‘s background check process:
Online application – This is where the process starts. Search and apply for jobs at amazon.jobs.
Interview – If your application progresses, you‘ll be contacted to interview. This may be over the phone or in-person.
Conditional offer – If you pass the interview stage, you‘ll receive a conditional job offer pending background check results.
Background checks – Amazon runs criminal background checks going back 7 years. They look for convictions, misdemeanors and felonies.
Drug testing – Amazon also requires a drug test that you must pass.
Final offer – Once you pass the background check and drug test, you‘ll receive a final offer of employment.
Now let‘s get into the details…
What Does Amazon‘s Background Check Look For?
Amazon conducts a criminal background check on all candidates once a conditional offer has been made.
This background check goes back 7 years and looks for any convictions, misdemeanors or felonies during that time period.
Some specifics on what Amazon‘s background check covers:
Criminal convictions – Any misdemeanor or felony convictions in the past 7 years will appear on the background check. Common disqualifying convictions include theft, fraud, violence, and drug-related offenses.
Pending charges – Amazon will be able to see any pending criminal charges that have not yet gone to trial. These pending charges may also disqualify candidates.
Employment history – The background check verifies past employment history to ensure dates and roles listed on your resume or application are accurate.
Driving records – For driving roles like Amazon Flex delivery, your motor vehicle record is checked for major violations.
Sex offender registries – These databases are checked for any required registrations.
Global watchlists – Background checks scan worldwide government watchlists and terrorist databases.
While the above provides a look at what Amazon‘s background check includes, it‘s important to note…
Amazon Considers Records on a Case-By-Case Basis
Amazon does not automatically disqualify all candidates with a criminal record.
Instead, they review each background check on a case-by-case basis and make determinations based on several factors:
Relevance of offense – Was the crime relevant to the duties of the job role you applied for? Fraud or theft convictions, for example, would likely disqualify for many financial roles at Amazon.
Time elapsed – How long ago did the conviction occur? More recent crimes are seen as higher risk.
Multiple offenses – Does the candidate have a pattern of repeat offenses over time? Recidivism raises red flags for Amazon recruiters.
Honest disclosure – Did the candidate disclose the offense properly throughout the hiring process when asked? Lack of transparency is a problem.
State laws – Local state laws come into play, with some states limiting how far back criminal records can be checked.
While not an exhaustive list, these factors provide insight into how Amazon determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis for applicants with a criminal history.
How Far Back Does the Background Check Go?
As noted above, Amazon currently checks criminal records going back 7 years for convictions, misdemeanors and felonies.
The 7 year scope is standard practice across most employers and is in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The FCRA legally prohibits employers from considering criminal convictions older than 7 years during the background check process.
However, some state laws further restrict criminal record checks, such as:
California – Can only check back 7 years for criminal convictions. Arrests not leading to conviction cannot be considered.
Massachusetts – Employers can only look back 3 years for misdemeanors and 7 years for felonies.
New York – Background checks can only cover convictions in the past 7 years. Pending arrests are off-limits.
Applicants are encouraged to research the laws in their state to understand how far back Amazon is allowed to check for criminal records.
What Criminal Convictions Disqualify Candidates?
As mentioned, Amazon does not automatically reject applicants with a criminal record and evaluates eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
However, there are certain types of convictions that are more likely to lead to disqualification from Amazon job opportunities:
Theft – One of the most problematic offenses for roles handling money, merchandise, and inventory.
Fraud – Includes identity theft, forgery, embezzlement and other acts of dishonesty. High risk for finance roles.
Drug distribution – Drug dealing and trafficking offenses often lead to rejection.
Assault – Amazon is cautious about workplace violence risks.
Sex crimes – Any offense requiring sex offender registration almost always leads to disqualification.
While not an exhaustive list, these types of convictions would make it very difficult to gain employment at Amazon. For driving roles, DUIs and major traffic violations also pose a significant hurdle.
For low-level drug possession and other minor offenses, the circumstances of the conviction are reviewed in making a determination.
Amazon Also Conducts Reference & Education Checks
In addition to a criminal background check, Amazon takes a few other steps to verify candidate information:
References – Hiring managers will contact 1-2 professional references to confirm your past job performance and responsibilities.
Education – Any degrees or certifications listed on your application will be verified through the issuing institution.
Employment history – Dates, titles, salaries, and duties at previous employers are checked for accuracy.
Driving records – Motor vehicle records are pulled for delivery driver roles to ensure a clean history.
While references and education are not as intensive as the criminal background screening, lying or embellishing will still disqualify candidates if uncovered.
Passing Amazon‘s Drug Test is Also Required
Along with the background check, candidates must pass a drug test before being officially hired by Amazon.
For most roles, a mouth swab drug test is administered on-site after your interview. The oral fluid is tested at a lab for a panel of common illegal and prescription drugs.
Amazon also stipulates that employees are subject to random, suspicionless drug testing throughout their employment. Failing these ongoing drug tests results in termination.
Additionally, some roles may require a urinalysis or hair drug test with an extended panel of substances tested.
By passing the drug test along with a clean background check, candidates receive their final offer of employment and can proceed with new hire paperwork.
Conclusion: What to Expect with Amazon‘s Background Check Policy
When applying for a job at Amazon, prospective employees should expect a thorough background check process evaluating:
- Criminal records going back 7 years
- Pending charges and convictions for misdemeanors/felonies
- Driving history for delivery roles
- Reference, education, and employment verification
- Mandatory drug testing
While a criminal record does not automatically disqualify candidates, convictions for theft, fraud, violence, and recent drug offenses make employment difficult to obtain at Amazon.
Knowing what to expect with Amazon‘s background checks allows applicants to be prepared and understand this crucial stage in the hiring process. With over 1 million employees globally, Amazon aims to ensuring it is recruiting and retaining a trustworthy workforce.