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How to disclose a disputed conviction to a potential employer

Talking about any sort of conviction or a gap in your work history is a difficult conversation to have with a potential employer; however, it can be even more of a tricky discussion if you need to disclose something you do not believe you are guilty of.

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The interview gives you a chance to get in front of the hiring manager and explain the circumstances and how things are different now; however, many employers admit that they have discriminated against applicants because of a criminal record. If you do get the opportunity, be prepared to explain how you have taken responsibility and the steps you are taking to ensure lessons have been learned.


There might be some circumstances in which you do not need to disclose a conviction at all, and it would normally make sense to keep things to yourself – bearing in mind human nature – unless you are obliged to tell. In most situations, you do not need to disclose unless you are asked, including on forms; if you are not asked, you might not want to volunteer. It is not always this straightforward, however; in some situations, you might be better off disclosing even if you have not been asked.

If checks will be carried out, you may want to let a potential employer know what they will find so it is not a surprise. A basic DBS check can be carried out online by companies such as There is no ‘best time’ to disclose; some might be put off at interview, while others might feel tricked if they find out later down the line.

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Accepting responsibility

Showing that you accept what you did and have learned from it is often all employers want to know to give you a chance. Sometimes people will work on a response for this, even if they believe they were wrongly convicted, while others will maintain their innocence, although you can expect more questions and a longer conversation in this instance. More information on when and what to disclose is available on the government website.

You are ultimately trying to get a job, so do you research on the employer and the position and make the decision. Focus on why you are the best person for the job and look to the positives.


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