Few careers have the potential for growth, security, and benefits of a job with the United States Postal Service, and that’s why their hiring process is so rigorous.
You might be wondering, though, if any mistakes you made in your past could come back to haunt you as you seek employment with USPS.
Or, to be more succinct, just what is the USPS background check policy? Let me tell you about that just below.
USPS Background Check Policy
The United States Postal Service conducts a thorough background for every potential hire. This includes a look into the applicant’s criminal history for the last five years, as well as their driving record, especially for positions that require the operation of a motor vehicle. Applicants to USPS are not automatically disqualified due to a criminal record.
For more about the types of background checks USPS conducts, what could disqualify you from working for the Postal Service, and whether you can have a felony on your record and still be hired, keep reading!
What Kind Of Background Check Does USPS Do?
The United States Postal Service, an independent agency of the federal government’s executive branch, is a selective employer that performs a number of background checks.
The two most common and recognizable are the criminal background check and the driver’s record check.
The criminal background check examines, per the USPS website, “…where the individual has resided, worked or gone to school within the United States or its territories.”
This stretches back only five years, so unfortunately, if the applicant lived abroad at any point in the last five years, a thorough check cannot be completed.
That may invalidate the candidate for employment.
In order to initiate the background checks, you must provide your name and address for the last five years, as well as your driver’s license number (for driving positions).
You will also have to verify your date of birth and social security number.
But before USPS looks into any of that, you will be asked for your consent for the agency to perform this check.
Finally, USPS also looks into your employment history, including whether or not you have been fired.
Be honest – the application isn’t being fed into a machine that disqualifies you if you have been fired.
Rather, there is a real person reading your application. They (as well as any other hiring staff) can evaluate the circumstances with an open mind. A firing isn’t an immediate no.
What Disqualifies You From Working For USPS?
While being fired from a previous job or even being convicted of a felony aren’t disqualifiers from working for the USPS (provided you are honest), a poor driving record might be.
If you are applying for a position that requires driving – like a rural mail carrier – you should bring a squeaky-clean driving record to the table.
- Less than two years of proven driving record
- Driving permit suspended at least once in three years, at least twice in five
- Driving permit revoked at least once in five years
- Reckless driving violation at least once in three years, at least twice in five
- DUI (drugs, alcohol, etc.) at any point
- Any other traffic violations at least three in three years, at least five in five
- At-fault accidents at least twice in three or five years, or any accident that resulted in a fatality
- Any hit-and-run offense
Can you still get hired with a poor driving record for a non-driving position? It’s possible since it won’t have any bearing on how you complete your work.
Unfortunately, though, if you have any of these offenses on your driving record, you will not be qualifying for some of the positions at USPS.
Can You Work For USPS With a Felony?
The United States Postal Service takes an incredibly fair and measured approach to its consideration of convicted felons as employees.
Per their background check statement:
The Postal Service recognizes that many persons with criminal records have demonstrated successful rehabilitation and are capable of performing the duties of postal jobs. These applicants are entitled to compete for jobs on individual merits.
In keeping with this belief, even convicted felons are welcome to apply and can expect to have their application evaluated with a fair and open mind.
Certainly, showing steps toward rehabilitation after the criminal offense is a necessary part of that evaluation.
This might include not having any other criminal activity on your record since the conviction or a positive history of employment after incarceration.
In the same spirit, misdemeanor convictions must also be reported, and the candidate’s suitability after such an offense will likewise be assessed.
Further, you might occupy a grey area, where you were charged but not convicted, convicted but had that ruling set aside, or convicted of a noncriminal (civil) offense.
Or perhaps you have a criminal record from juvenile court, which was expunged when you reached your majority.
In all these cases, USPS does not require you to report.
How Far Does a USPS Background Check Go?
The Postal Service looks at your history up to five years previous.
If I had to guess, the reasoning for this time frame is similar to their openness to hiring people convicted of felonies.
That is, if you can show that you have rehabilitated or maintained a principled life for the last five years, you show promise as a prospective employee.