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Target to reduce impact of criminal history for job applicants

We've all been there: you find the perfect job and you prepare yourself to apply. You study the company and learn everything you can about it. You prepare your resume and send it in. Then, your hopes start soaring. "What if I get a call back?" you think. So now you start preparing for the hypothetical interview, getting answers memorized to potential interview questions. You start thinking about what your office will look like; how your nameplate will look; how much your coworkers will appreciate you. You know you can do all of this.

But the call never comes. You never have that interview. Your nameplate remains a dream.

It's incredibly disappointing, and it infuriates many job applicants. The question in your head turns to "why didn't I get the call back?"

In some cases, the hiring manager of a company is alarmingly biased in some way. Every hiring manager will have some slight biases (maybe they like the way a certain resume looks); but some take it a step further. For example, even if you have a criminal history, that does not mean you should be immediately discounted for a position. In some cases, perfectly qualified job candidates are denied the opportunity to work at a company, which then picks an inferior candidate without a criminal background.

Little elements like this can plague a job seeker all the time; but if discrimination or bias can be proven, you may have the justification to present a civil suit.

Target is taking a step that many companies may make in the coming years: eliminating a check box on job applications that make a candidate admit they have been involved in some type of criminal activity. For now, it will not apply to Los Angeles or California -- it only applies to Minnesota, Target's home state, in accordance with a new state law. But Target plans to roll out this job application practice on a national scale soon.

Source: MPR, "At Target, criminal history check box ends for job applicants," Rupa Shenoy, Oct. 25, 2013

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