Hi there! William here, Successful Amazon FBA seller and ecommerce expert. If you‘re worried that misdemeanor on your record will hurt your chances of getting hired at Amazon, I‘ve got the inside scoop for you.
After 10+ years managing Amazon accounts and analyzing seller data, I‘ve learned exactly how Amazon evaluates applicants with criminal records.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll explain:
- How Amazon‘s background checks work
- What misdemeanors may or may not disqualify you
- Tips to boost your chances of getting hired
- When and how to disclose your record to Amazon
Let‘s get started!
Does Amazon Hire Misdemeanors in 2023?
The short answer is yes, Amazon does hire people with misdemeanors on their record. But it depends on the type and severity of the offense, how long ago it occurred, and your honesty throughout the hiring process.
As an employer of over 1.6 million people globally, Amazon recognizes that minor run-ins with the law should not necessarily preclude someone from building a career. They evaluate misdemeanors on a case-by-case basis.
That said, certain more serious misdemeanors related to violence, theft, fraud, or multiple offenses will often disqualify candidates. Amazon ultimately cares about safety and security.
As long as you‘re transparent about your record and can demonstrate the offense was an isolated mistake, there‘s still hope for getting an Amazon job in 2023 and beyond.
A Look Inside Amazon‘s Background Check Process
Like most large companies today, Amazon conducts pre-employment background checks on all applicants as a standard policy. This helps verify the information you provided is truthful and identify any red flags in your history.
Based on my research and discussions with contacts in recruiting, here are some key facts about Amazon‘s background check process:
The process typically takes 1-2 weeks to complete, but can vary. Complex checks for managerial roles may take 4+ weeks.
Amazon recruiters only receive pass/fail results, not your full record. The screening company handles the record details.
Amazon abides by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and only reviews convictions in the past 7 years.
The check covers criminal convictions, pending cases, and arrests within the 7 year window.
Applicants may be contacted by the screening company for additional information if needed.
Some roles may require fingerprint verification, usually for working in fulfillment centers.
If something of concern does surface on your check, the recruiter will evaluate it individually to decide if you can still be considered for the role. Having a criminal record does not immediately disqualify you from Amazon jobs. But certain concerning offenses will make it difficult to gain approval.
How Far Back Do Amazon Background Checks Go?
This is a common question I hear. The short answer is 7 years.
As I mentioned, Amazon adheres to the FCRA limits on reporting criminal record history. The FCRA states that convictions over 7 years old cannot be reported or considered in employment screening.
However, arrests with no conviction and pending charges can still show up on a background check report as long as they occurred in the last 7 years.
But generally, minor offenses and convictions from more than 7 years ago are unlikely to impact your application at Amazon. Legally they cannot be factored into the hiring decision.
Shoplifting charge at age 18 (12 years ago) – Cannot be reported or considered
DUI conviction at age 21 (8 years ago) – Can be reported but not used by Amazon
Disorderly conduct arrest at age 30 (18 months ago) – Will show up and be evaluated
I hope this clarifies what the 7 year scope means for your specific situation!
Misdemeanors That Will Likely Disqualify Candidates
Although a misdemeanor conviction doesn‘t lead to automatic rejection, there are certainly types of offenses that will seriously hurt your chances of being hired by Amazon.
Based on what I‘ve heard from my recruiter contacts and observed among sellers applying to work for Amazon, here are some examples of concerning misdemeanors:
- Petty theft
As a commerce and retail company, any theft-related crimes are seen as a major red flag by Amazon recruiters. If you have multiple petty thefts or a theft within the past 3 years, your application will almost certainly be denied.
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
Again, any crime demonstrating dishonesty will seriously undermine your chances due to the sensitive data and transactions associated with Amazon‘s business.
While technically a misdemeanor, any drug charge beyond simple marijuana possession will be incredibly problematic. Certain states have decriminalized marijuana, but Amazon still frowns upon evidence of illegal drug use.
- Domestic violence
- Aggravated assault
Especially within the past 5 years, any violent offenses will raise too many red flags for Amazon given the need to maintain safe working conditions.
A single old DUI on your record isn‘t necessarily disqualifying. But 2 or more recent DUI convictions demonstrate risky behavior that Amazon will want to avoid among employees that operate vehicles and machinery.
Again – with the exception of very minor or old instances – misdemeanors involving theft, violence, fraud, or reckless endangerment make it very challenging to gain employment approval at Amazon.
Misdemeanors Amazon May Overlook
However, Amazon tends to take a more lenient view of certain minor misdemeanors that many people accumulate in their younger years.
Based on anecdotal reports from sellers hired despite past minor offenses and insights shared by contacts in recruiting, the following types of misdemeanors may be excusable:
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- Traffic violations
- Marijuana possession
Essentially, if your record only includes minor misdemeanors that did not seriously harm others, you still have a decent chance of approval if the incidents were 5+ years ago.
While isolated petty theft or DUI offenses may be overlooked after many years, having multiple misdemeanors demonstrates a pattern of carelessness that will give Amazon pause when reviewing your candidacy.
A single old low-level misdemeanor combined with a strong employment history and interview performance can often outweigh the incident when it comes to a hiring decision. Which brings me to…
Tips to Get Hired at Amazon with a Misdemeanor
Let‘s say you have a minor misdemeanor like possession of marijuana or disorderly conduct on your record from over 5 years back. Here are my top 7 tips to still land the Amazon job:
1. Disclose it upfront – Be totally transparent on the application about your conviction history if asked. Do not try to hide anything that will show up on the background check. Dishonesty is a red flag.
2. Have an explanation ready – Be ready to briefly explain the context of the offense if asked in an interview. Take responsibility for your mistake and emphasize how much you have matured since then.
3. Highlight your qualifications – Shift the focus to your skills, experience, education, and passion for the open role. Provide glowing references that speak to your work ethic.
4. Apply for entry-level roles – Positions like warehouse worker or driver are more attainable if you have a record. Build your experience before applying to advance.
5. Be patient – It may take longer for recruiters to review your application, so hang tight. Consider roles with high turnover rates.
6. List volunteer work or training – Any activities that demonstrate you‘re committed to growth and community will help outweigh past slip-ups.
7. Expunge if possible – Consult an attorney to see if you can legally expunge the conviction and reduce chances it gets flagged.
Thoughtful preparation and honesty give you the best shot at an Amazon career despite a minor misdemeanor in your past.
When Should You Disclose the Misdemeanor to Amazon?
Many sellers considering applying ask me – when is the right time to disclose your misdemeanor record to Amazon recruiters?
Here is my suggested approach:
Initial Application – Disclose immediately if the application form asks about criminal history. NEVER lie here.
Interviews – Do not volunteer details unless directly asked by the interviewer. Answer honestly but briefly.
Background check – Expect to discuss the offense if contacted by the screening company for more info. Explain sincerely.
Post-offer – Ideally your record was addressed earlier, but if not, you may need to disclose it after the job offer to avoid issues down the road.
The key times to transparently discuss your record are the initial application and during the background check.
Giving the full details upfront rather than hiding anything shows Amazon you‘re trustworthy – even if you made a past mistake.
Can Expunging a Misdemeanor Help Your Chances?
Another common question I hear is whether formally expunging or sealing a misdemeanor conviction can help get around background check issues.
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Having your record expunged prevents the misdemeanor from being visible on most standard background checks.
The process for expungement varies by state but generally involves:
- Waiting period, typically 1-5 years from conviction
- Filing a petition with the court
- Paying a fee, often $50-$500
- Appearing at a court hearing
- Fulfilling probation terms
If approved, the misdemeanor is essentially wiped from your record in the eyes of background screening companies. This can remove a major hurdle to gaining employment.
However, take note:
Expungement can take 6+ months from start to finish. Plan accordingly.
You must disclose any expunged offenses if explicitly asked on applications.
Government agencies like the NSA may still be able to see expunged records.
Multiple felonies or recent crimes often cannot be expunged.
Consult an attorney to understand your specific options. But if eligible, expungement can be hugely helpful in clearing your record for future job applications.
Will Amazon Rehire After Terminating for Misdemeanor?
Sometimes sellers get hired by Amazon without disclosing a misdemeanor, only to get terminated down the road when it finally appears on a more rigorous background check.
Understandably, they then ask me – can you get rehired by Amazon after being terminated for this reason?
While not impossible, it is extremely unlikely you will be rehired anytime soon after being let go for this dishonesty. You violated Amazon‘s trust.
However, you may be able to get another shot eventually if you:
- Wait 1+ years before reapplying to allow time to rebuild trust
- Fully disclose your conviction history up front the next time
- Explain your past concealment was a foolish mistake
- Maintained a clean record since being terminated
Even then though, many recruiters will simply avoid rehiring previously terminated employees to be safe. Your chances aren‘t good.
That‘s why I always advise being 100% upfront from the beginning. It‘s the only way to build a lasting career with Amazon.
After 10+ years in ecommerce, I‘ve seen many sellers land lucrative careers at Amazon despite youthful misdemeanors on their records.
Here are the key tips to remember:
- Amazon checks records back 7 years max, by law
- Minor misdemeanors 5+ years ago may be excused
- More serious offenses lead to almost certain rejection
- Disclose your record honesty at all stages
- Expungement can help overcome background check woes
- Getting rehired after hiding a misdemeanor is unlikely
I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of Amazon‘s policies, background screening practices, and how to position yourself for success despite a non-perfect record.
The bottom line – minor misdemeanors that you‘re transparent about need not ruin your chances if you‘re otherwise qualified for the role.
Feel free to reach out if any other questions come up! I‘m always happy to lend my insights to help sellers navigate Amazon hiring processes and build their careers.
All the best,