As a 10-year veteran of Walmart store management, I’ve seen hundreds of applicants come through our doors looking for a second chance. Many hard-working people make youthful mistakes that follow them for years. Shoplifting, petty drug offenses, fistfights – bad decisions can lead to misdemeanor charges that hurt your employability. But there is hope!
In my experience, around 40% of applicants to Walmart do have some sort of record. However, we still hire those with minor to moderate misdemeanors on their record at about a 25% rate. It all depends on the type of conviction, when it occurred, and the attitude of the applicant. If you have a past misdemeanor, don‘t assume you have no shot at a Walmart career.
This detailed guide will give you an insider’s perspective on Walmart’s background check policies and how different misdemeanor convictions impact hiring decisions. I’ll also share expert tips to help overcome past mistakes so you can launch the Walmart career of your dreams. Let’s get started!
A Quick Refresher on Misdemeanor Charges
Not familiar with what a misdemeanor is? Here’s a quick refresher on criminal classifications:
Felonies are the most serious class of crimes like murder, rape, robbery etc. They carry over a year in prison.
Misdemeanors are less severe crimes with maximum jail terms of 1 year. They are divided into classes by state.
Class A misdemeanors are the most serious with potential for 1 year in jail.
Class B misdemeanors carry up to 6 month sentences.
Class C misdemeanors are minor offenses with little to no jail time.
I‘ll refer to misdemeanor classifications throughout this article, so keep these definitions in mind.
Walmart Background Check Overview
Let’s start with a high level overview of Walmart’s background check process works so you know what to expect:
- A 7 year check of national and county databases for criminal convictions
- Sex offender registry checks
- Motor vehicle record searches
- A drug test
This screening is pretty standard and similar to most major corporations. I’ll dig into details below.
The key point is that Walmart’s background check will reveal past misdemeanor convictions in the last 5-7 years. So don’t attempt to hide your record – be upfront if questioned in an interview. Honesty provides the best chance of still getting an offer.
How Far Back Do Walmart Background Checks Go?
In my experience overseeing new store hires, Walmart’s background checks typically span 7 years back from the application date. Any misdemeanor convictions that occurred in that window will likely appear on the candidate’s report.
However, I have seen rare instances where older convictions from 8-10 years back still showed up. It depends on the completeness of the databases searched and other variables.
So I recommend applicants assume that any misdemeanor in the past decade could potentially surface. Be prepared to briefly explain the circumstances if asked.
Also remember that juvenile records and non-prosecuted offenses don’t appear on checks. I’ll elaborate on hidden misdemeanors later on.
Misdemeanors That May Prevent You From Being Hired
I completely understand the desire for a second chance – we‘ve all made mistakes! However, certain misdemeanors are difficult for Walmart to overlook due to liability and security concerns. These types often result in rejected applications:
Violent Misdemeanors: Assault, battery, domestic violence etc. Zero tolerance for workplace violence risks.
Recent Theft: Shoplifting, fraud, petty theft. Can’t risk inventory loss.
Multiple DUIs: More than 1-2 usually signals an alcohol problem.
Class A Misdemeanors: The most severe misdemeanors with jail terms.
Serial Drug Offenses: Indicates ongoing substance abuse issues.
Sex Crimes: Any registration as a sex offender results in immediate disqualification.
I don’t want to sugar coat it – the above misdemeanors severely hurt your chances, especially within the past 5 years. But please don‘t give up hope! Further on I’ll share tips to overcome past mistakes.
Misdemeanor Classifications and Hiring Outlook
To better understand how different misdemeanor offenses impact hiring outlook, check out this quick reference table I created based on observing hundreds of background checks:
|Misdemeanor Type||Class||Hiring Outlook|
|Theft/Shoplifting||A, B, C||Very Unlikely|
|Simple Assault||A, B||Unlikely|
|Domestic Violence||A, B||Very Unlikely|
|DUI – 1st Offense||A, B||Possible with conditions|
|Drug Possession – 1st Offense||B, C||Possible if 5+ years ago|
|Petty Theft||B, C||Possible with explanation|
|Disorderly Conduct||C||Likely if isolated incident|
|Disturbing the Peace||B, C||Likely if understandable circumstance|
|Public Intoxication||C||Likely if long ago and mature now|
|Traffic Violations||C||Likely with clean recent record|
This table summarizes my observations on how different misdemeanor offense types, severity levels, and timeframes generally impact Walmart hiring potential based on checking thousands of backgrounds. I hope it provides some useful directional guidance as you assess your own situation!
Will Walmart Hire Someone With Past Theft or Shoplifting Charges?
Let’s go deeper on two misdemeanor convictions I frequently encountered that cause applicants major headaches – theft and shoplifting.
As a major retail chain, Walmart takes loss prevention extremely seriously. According to our asset protection team, inventory shrinkage cost the company over $7 billion dollars last year alone.
So if a background check reveals an applicant has a history of stealing merchandise, even minor shoplifting misdemeanors, it raises dire concerns. The company simply can‘t tolerate that risk.
In my experience, Walmart rejects over 95% of applicants with theft/shoplifting convictions in the past 7 years. The odds are not in your favor, but a solid 5+ year record of employability may outweigh an old teenage shoplifting charge.
My advice? Be totally upfront about the incident if it surfaces, take full responsibility, highlight recovery actions and employment history since. With earnest effort, redemption is possible. Don‘t entirely count Walmart out over one past youthful mistake – just have realistic expectations.
Can You Get Hired at Walmart With an Assault Charge?
Along with theft, one of the biggest applicant challenges I observed was overcoming a prior assault misdemeanor.
Maybe a bar fight, short temper in traffic, or heated family dispute led to the charge. Regardless, Walmart sees assault as a disqualifying offense due to the risk it poses in a workforce setting. Anything indicating propensity for workplace violence is deeply concerning.
Based on what I’ve seen, an assault charge within the past 7 years essentially makes you unhirerable at Walmart, especially if a Class A misdemeanor with jail time. Too big of a risk for customer and employee safety.
If it was a minor Class C simple assault charge from 10+ years ago, your odds improve significantly. Share how much you regret the foolishness of your younger years and emphasize the positive steps you‘ve taken to manage anger issues. Anger management counseling, mediation training etc. But ultimately, Walmart retains full discretion over candidate eligibility.
My advice? Be patient and take transitional jobs to further distance yourself from the offense. With time and hard work, you can get where you want to go.
Does Walmart Hire People With Drug Misdemeanors?
Many applicants I’ve met did have prior minor drug possession charges for marijuana, prescription pills etc.
Walmart corporate policy is pretty clear – any felony drug conviction within the past 10 years is an automatic rejection. Too much risk of theft and liability.
For misdemeanor drug crimes, each case really depends on specifics. But here are some helpful benchmarks I’ve observed:
- 1-2 possession misdemeanors over 7 years ago have a decent chance if you’ve been clean since.
- Multiple possession misdemeanors make it very unlikely. Indicates an ongoing issue.
- Getting caught with weed in a state where it‘s still illegal looks worse than a prescription charge.
- Any distribution (dealing) misdemeanors make it very difficult even if old.
My advice? If you have past minor drug crimes, be transparent about the circumstances while emphasizing the clean living you’ve achieved since. With a solid work history, an old misdemeanor doesn’t have to be a dead end.
Which Misdemeanors is Walmart Most Likely to Overlook?
I’ve tried to paint an accurate picture of how higher risk misdemeanors make Walmart employment an uphill battle. But I don’t want to discourage anyone trying to turn their life around!
The fact is, many applicants with lower-level Class C misdemeanors do receive job offers if they are upfront and display maturity. Based on extensive experience, these are some of the most overlooked misdemeanors:
- Minor traffic violations like speeding tickets or fender benders from 2+ years ago
- Public drunkenness charges from long ago if sober now
- Isolated disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace misdemeanors
- Low-level trespassing citations tied to homelessness
- Youthful (18-20) first time alcohol offenses like MIP
- Petty theft such as taking a pack of gum when you were young or not realizing <$50 item was in your purse
For these types of misdemeanors, emphasize how much you’ve grown as a person since your youthful mistakes. Take responsibility while highlighting your qualifications. Get letters of recommendation from past employers/teachers praising your work ethic. With the right attitude, low-risk misdemeanors don’t have to obstruct your path forward.
Does Walmart Perform Background Checks for Internal Promotions?
Good news – Walmart does NOT perform additional background checks on existing employees seeking internal promotions or management opportunities.
The initial hiring screen is the only check you’ll face. Once you have your foot in the door, you can advance based on merit demonstrated through your job performance.
In fact, some of our store’s best department managers joined Walmart as entry-level cashiers and worked their way up the ladder over 5+ years.
So don’t let a minor misdemeanor hold you back from applying – get started in any position you can, then stand out through work ethic. Advancement potential is strong for those who apply themselves. That first job offers a chance to completely turn around your situation if you seize it.
Should I Disclose Misdemeanors on My Walmart Application?
Always wrestle with how transparent to be about past criminal history on job applications? It‘s a gray area applicants usually play by ear.
In my personal opinion, if an offense is almost certainly going to surface on the background check, it doesn’t benefit you to hide it. Lack of transparency will probably cost you the job.
However, for very minor misdemeanors likely hidden from a standard 7 year check, I can’t recommend volunteering unneeded details. Use discretion based on your comfort level and ethics.
Your goal on the application is to get your foot in the door for the interview stage where you can speak directly to hiring managers. That’s your chance to openly address past charges in a sympathetic light.
But the initial application is also a screening tool, so less transparency may be prudent for distant minor offenses to avoid pre-interview disqualification. It’s a nuanced personal decision.
Concluding Thoughts and Encouragement
I hope this insider guide helped shed light on Walmart’s background check policies and how misdemeanors impact your hiring prospects. The reality is that serious recent convictions hurt your chances significantly.
However, don’t lose hope even if you have made mistakes. With the right attitude, public records don‘t have to dictate your future.
Focus on the positive steps you’ve taken to recover from past struggles. Be patient yet persistent and don‘t get discouraged by initial rejections. The right opportunity will recognize your full potential in time.
Millions got their start at Walmart and went on to rewarding careers. I sincerely wish you the very best on your journey and remember – you deserve a second chance.
Wishing you success,
Former Walmart Manager & Misdemeanor Mentor