While getting a job if you have a criminal record or a felony conviction can be very hard, you have to realize that there are THOUSANDS of companies in the US that are willing to hire felons.
Many large corporations as well as medium size companies from a wide range of industries have a hiring policy that does not discriminate against applicants who have a felony conviction.
Some people mistakenly assume that this means a company will definitely hire you, and get disappointed and discouraged when they get rejected. What the policy means is that they will not discriminate against you based on your felony or misdemeanor
However, you must still demonstrate that you are the best person for the job in order to be considered for employment.
We have put together a comprehensive list of large companies that have a history of hiring felons and ex-cons. This list has just been updated with new felon friendly employers added for 2020. Moreover, we regularly review the list and add more companies when we learn that they are hiring felons.
To increase your chances of getting the job, its best to apply to as many open positions as possible. Don’t just stick to one industry, such as food, or hospitality, or retail. Most people can do entry level work pretty much in any field of work, so don’t limit yourself!
List of companies hiring felons
Keep in mind that the companies on this list are not necessarily hiring right now. They are listed because they have a history of hiring people with felony convictions.
When you click on the name of the company you will be taken directly to their hiring/careers page. Take a look at what positions they have currently open and if you find something that may work for you start filling out the application.
Its always a good idea to go back to companies that you liked and check whether any new positions have opened up.
To make your search easier, the list is broken down based on industry. Also, note that this is NOT a complete list. Across the US, there are hundreds more small companies, retail stores, restaurants, factories, construction businesses, offices, etc that are looking to hire employees on a regular basis.
To widen your search, look for local jobs on Craigslist and Indeed.com. While you may not know if a company will hire a felon, you can still apply. You don’t loose anything by trying!
Many grocery stores are open to giving felons a second chance. Most likely you can get a job stocking products, bagging food, etc. Some stores may allow you to work the cash register, but that will depend on the nature of your felony and their discretion.
Costco – base salary for most locations starts at $14/hr. View available jobs.
Stop and Shop
Publix – view available jobs & apply here
Whole Foods Market
Krogers: includes 25 different brands, such as Metro Market, Gerbes, QFC, Ruler Foods, King Soopers, etc
Win Co. Foods
If you want to try your luck in the hotel industry, you can expect to work in the cleaning/maintenance services, helping customers with baggage, etc. These are strenuous jobs that usually pay at or slightly above minimum wage. However, they are a good way to start a track record of holding a steady job.
Marriott Hotels includes 30 brands, such as Ritz Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, W hotels, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels, Four Points, Courtyard by Marriot, etc.
IHG: includes Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels and Hotel Indigo
Homewood Suites by Hilton
Radisson Hotel Group: includes Radisson, Park Plaza, Red Raddison, Park Inn, Country Inn & Suites, Prizeotel.
Clear Talk Wireless
One of the easiest jobs for a felon to get is working at a restaurant or fast food service chain. Don’t expect a high salary, but if you work hard, there is a good chance of being promoted to a better position within the restaurant.
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Golden Corral Buffet
Old Country Buffet
Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Papa Murphy’s Pizza
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Buffalo Wild Wings
Red Robin Burgers
Maggiano’s Little Italy
The Cheesecake Factory
Qdoba Mexican Eats
Ben & Jerry’s
There are huge food production and packaging facilities scattered all across the US. Workers are always needed in these places because the pay is usually minimum wage and the labor is strenuous. If you have had no luck finding a job, this may be a good industry to consider.
McLane Food Services
Food Services of America
Campbell’s Soup Co
Del Monte Foods
Entry level jobs in manufacturing are often manual labor and require a lot of physical strength. Some require working with heavy equipment and robots. Because these are huge companies there also may be opportunities for growth and improvement in salary, once you prove yourself in the first job.
Sealed Air Corporation
Stanley Black and Decker
The Washington Post
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Lennox International (located in Texas)
SPX Corp (located in Charlotte, North Carolina)
Broadcom (located in California)
HollyFrontier Corp (located in Texas)
FMC Technologies (located in Houston, Texas)
Western Refining (located in El Paso, Texas)
Jet Blue Airlines
Delivery drivers are always in demand, but this job may be particularly hot during the holiday seasons. Starting from November through December may be your best chance of getting your foot in the door.
Amazon Flex jobs (Amazon order delivery service – view details)
Allied Van Lines
There are many retail stores around, both large chains, and privately owned ones. Many are willing to hire people with past felonies. You will need to do the leg work and apply to as many local stores as possible, to maximize your chances of getting hired.
Walmart (view positions and apply here)
Bed Bath and Beyond
Christmas Tree Shops
Home Depot (click here to apply)
Bob’s Discount Furniture
Men’s Wear House
Pilot Travel Centers
Ride Sharing Services (UBER, LYFT, etc)
If you like driving, you can try making some cash in the ride sharing industry. Drivers are in high demand, and many felons report having success driving for Lyft and Uber. The benefits are flexible schedule, and ability to work as much or as little as you want.
Automotive and Car Rental Services
If you like cars and are good at fixing/servicing them, the automotive industry is a good place to start looking for a job. Many places will be open to hiring an ex-con, especially if you have relevant skills and experience.
O’Reilly Auto Parts
Good Year Tire
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
This industry is considered to be felon friendly. Many companies even offer on the job training for qualifying applicants. Its a hard job, since you are alone on the road for many days. However, the big perks are decent pay and independence.
Check out our detailed overview of truck driving jobs for felons (both local and over the road or OTR).
Here are trucking companies that hire felons (with some restrictions):
Trans Am Transportation
Boyd Bros. Transportation
Freelancing / Online Jobs
If you are into coding, blogging, web design, etc, you can get a freelancing job online. There is no background check or formal interview with HR required.
All you need is a portfolio of previous work and a few good reviews on your page. This is a great way to start your own business and make a 6 figure salary! If you don’t have any technical skills now, consider learning them, because this is a great way to earn a living.
As a freelancer, you are pretty much not limited by your conviction at all, as most clients that will hire you, will never even consider running a background check on you – these are usually small businesses and solopreneurs that need some remote (usually programming or graphics design or writing) job done.
Also, your pay is usually directly related to your skills. For example, if you are a decent software developer, you can easily earn $35-70/hr or more.
See our complete Freelance Jobs for Felons guide.
Upwork – biggest freelance job marketplace – has most clients who can hire you, but also, biggest competition of freelancers around the world.
Fiverr – Also a very popular remote jobs listings site. Don’t be confused by the name – most projects go well beyond $5, and can range from $50 for a quick logo render, to several hundreds or even thousands, for big projects.
Working at a warehouse requires a lot of physical strength and endurance. This is by no means an easy job, and the pay is often minimal wage. However, historically many people with felony convictions have been able to land a job at a warehouse. Hence, this may be a good place to start!
Common Wealth Inc
Preferred Freezer Services
Reliable Transportation Solutions
Amazon Warehouse (Amazon’s minimum salary start at $15/hr. View available positions and apply here)
Oil and Gas
One booming industry that is very open to hiring ex cons is oil and gas. Oil and gas jobs are growing at an unprecedented rate and this growth will continue in the coming years. There are plenty of high-paying jobs in this field but many people don’t want them because of how demanding the work is.
Oil and gas companies are willing to hire qualified felons, and you don’t even need a high school diploma to be considered. Most positions offer on the job training, and there are professional growth opportunities for people who want to stay in this career for the long haul.
Most gas and oil fracking jobs are located in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, Utah, North Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania.
OXY (formerly Anadarko)
Arnold Oil Company
In addition to the giant corporations on this list, there are actually over 14,000 small companies that are in the oil and gas drilling business. This means that if you have the stamina to endure hard work, you will most likely find a job in this field.
Many felons report having luck getting employed when they go through a temp agency. The benefit of working with a temp agency when you have a felony conviction is that they will only offer you jobs that they think you can actually get. The temp agency already has a contract with an employer and they know exactly who is qualified to get a job. This makes your job search less of a desperate shot in the dark.
Additionally temp agencies enable you to apply to multiple positions at once. When you sign up with a temp agency and submit your resume and references, they do the job search for you. Once they find something, you just have to be ready to take it.
Signing up with a temp agency will not cost you any money. This is because they get paid by the employers when they recruit someone for an open position.
Keep in mind that most temp agencies will run a background check on you, and some will reject you because of the criminal record. However, many temp agencies regularly work with felons and help them find good jobs.
While temp jobs can be very frustrating because they last a few weeks to a few months, its still a step in the right direction and some cash flow in your pocket.
Although not ideal long term, having various temping jobs helps you build your resume and demonstrates to prospective employers that you are serious about working hard and holding down a job.
Part time and seasonal jobs
If your felony has been preventing you from finding full time work, it may be time to consider part time or seasonal work opportunities. While the money you earn at a part time job may not be enough to pay your bills, it is still a good idea to take a part time job for the following reasons:
– having a job will boost your self-confidence that you are worthy of having good paying work
– working will help you stay out of trouble, drugs, alcohol, crime, etc
– any real job will improve your resume and will show future employers that you are a reliable worker
– if you work hard, a part time job can be a springboard for getting a full time position
All of the above benefits apply to seasonal positions. Most large retail stores, shipping companies and grocery chains are always hiring during their busy seasons. The biggest hiring rush is obviously around Thanksgiving/Christmas time.
While this job may only last 3-5 weeks, it can be a great learning experience and a resume booster. Plus, a little extra cash in your pocket:)
Will the company preform a criminal background check?
The short answer is “yes”. By law, the company is allowed to check criminal records and other types of legal and financial history of every prospective employee. However, depending on the state and the company, there are different policies regarding criminal background check .
For most companies the standard policy is to look back at criminal records up to 7 years. In some places, this time period is as little as 3 or 5 years. Some states allow the company to access records without a time limit. This means that if you committed a felony 35 years ago, the company will still find out about it.
There are a number of states that report even the None-Guilty verdicts (Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).
Unfortunately, what this means is that you may have an easier or harder time getting a job as a felon, simply depending on where you live. If you have been struggling without a job and continuously get turned down, consider moving to a state with more lenient laws when it comes to background checks.
These are: California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Employment is offered on a case by case basis
When you are looking through the list of felon friendly employers and filling out applications, the most important thing to keep in mind is that each company will judge your felony on a case by case basis.
For example, a trucking company will be more concerned with driving violations, drug related crimes, car theft, etc, than other types of violations. Similarly, a hotel will be more worried about theft and violent crimes than other felonies.
This means that you need to think about whether your felony would be admissible in the type of work your are pursuing. Don’t apply to be a cashier if you have theft or other financial fraud charges on your record!
Also, be ready to take up entry level, minimum wage jobs that don’t require any major skills. Most companies will also be hesitant to hire a felon for positions where a lot of customer service is involved.
In general, registered sex offenders, and people with history of violent crimes and assault, will have the hardest time getting employment.
Your goal should be just to get your foot in the door. Once you land your first job as a felon, you will have much easier time looking for better, higher paying jobs in the future. You will also have a chance to move up in rank with the company that hired you in the first place.
Still no luck finding a job?
Many felons come to us for advice because they have applied to all kinds of jobs and just continue getting rejected. The mantra: “just keep trying!” does not seem to work anymore. In this case, maybe you need to shift your gears all together and start thinking outside the box.
Instead of looking for manual labor, entry-level jobs, you need to consider opening up a small business, improving your education, getting technical training, etc.
If you are considering opening up your business but are worried that you don’t have any start up money, there is good news. There are a number of federal and state business loan programs for felons that want to start their own business.
Moreover, on-demand economy is rapidly growing in the US. These jobs are like freelancing, they often don’t require interviews or background checks, just your skills, and willingness to work hard. Perhaps you can look for a job in this niche.
Share your feedback and let us know whether you have been hired by any of the companies on our list.