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Does IBM Hire Felons in 2021?

By Last update April 8, 2019
jobs for felons, company profile, IBM, computers, technology

If you have ever dreamed of an exciting career with an innovative and renowned company, you may be wondering: Does IBM hire felons? Well, we have, too! Today, we are going to give you information about how to get a job at IBM with a felony. We will also bring you answers to other important questions you may have, including:

  • Does IBM hire people with misdemeanors?
  • What are some entry-level positions?
  • Does IBM do background checks?
  • What are some tips for getting hired?
  • Does IBM drug test during the hiring process?

We got answers directly from IBM directly and performed our own research. Helping former felons get a job and get back on their feet is a passion of ours at Relaunch Pad. Not only do we bring you valuable information, but we also hire former felons. Now, let’s find out how to get a job at IBM with a felony.

Does IBM hire felons?

jobs for felons, company profile, IBM, computers, technology

Official company policy for hiring felons

We asked IBM about their policy regarding hiring felons. They told us:

“IBM complies with all applicable laws regarding conducting criminal background checks. Any individual is welcome to apply for a job opening, and any information they provide regarding a criminal history will be appropriately reviewed.”

You may be wondering whether that is a yes or a no, but don’t worry. We are going to dig into that statement.

Have they hired felons in the past?

IBM did not say specifically that they’ve hired felons in the past. We searched for responses from former employees and those who have tried to get a job at IBM. Our research hasn’t turned up any results of former felons getting hired at IBM.

Does IBM hire people with misdemeanors?

IBM didn’t address this specifically, and we didn’t find much in our research. It’s likely, though, that IBM will be more willing to hire those with misdemeanors than those with felonies on their record.

Is IBM on the Ban the Box list?

You may have heard of the Ban the Box campaign and the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Both initiatives work hard to give former felons a chance for job success.

Ban the Box has been successful in encouraging employers to remove criminal history questions from their application process. The Pledge has strongly encouraged employers to give former felons more opportunities within their companies.

IBM does not ask about your criminal history on their employment application, though they are not officially part of the Ban the Box campaign.

Does IBM have any special programs for hiring felons?

IBM didn’t say if they have any programs designed specifically to help felons, but we know that there are likely programs available at your local unemployment office and job placement agencies.

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

uncertain likelihood of being hired

We think you have uncertain chances of getting a job at IBM with a felony conviction. While we did not find strong evidence that they will hire former felons, they did say they do not discriminate when making hiring decisions.

What are some entry-level jobs?

When you browse the job section of IBM’s website, you may get overwhelmed by what you see. Remember, this is a leading technology company. Many of the jobs they hire for require advanced degrees. That doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for a lot of other roles. Some of those include:

  • Sales specialists
  • Procurement assistants
  • Material purchasers
  • Event managers
  • Content writers

We encourage you to apply to any and all positions you have the qualifications for. If you have computer programming skills or other technical expertise, look beyond entry-level positions.

How to get hired at IBM with a felony

The initial application process for IBM is done completely online. When you find a position you want to apply for, you will be asked to create a profile to fill out an application. When we tried out their application process, the first thing we were asked is if we want to upload a resume. You can skip this part, but we don’t think you should.

This would be a good time to consider creating a spectacular resume, and we can help! We’ve made a guide that will walk you through the resume-building process. Even if you don’t have a bunch of experience, you can still have a great resume.

You may think that your work experiences do not qualify you for many positions, but they do. We want you to start considering every experience you have had, including prison jobs you held. Did you work as any of the following?

  • Library worker
  • Kitchen staff
  • Maintenance worker
  • Clerks for prison staff
  • Landscaper

These jobs allowed you to interact with prison staff and other inmates, and we all know how difficult that can be! You gained valuable work experience that carries over to the real world.

Did you take any classes while you were in prison? Many facilities offer vocational classes to prepare men and women for a return to the outside.

Once you get your resume built, come back to the application and upload it into their system. You can use your profile to apply to as many positions as you want at IBM. If you are a match for an opening, IBM will contact you.

While you are waiting to hear back from them, start considering basic interview questions like:

  • Why do you want to work for IBM?
  • How can you bring value to the company?
  • What kind of work experience do you have?

Also consider getting a new interview outfit. Many local job placement agencies will provide those coming out of prison with clothing or money to help them prepare for an interview. You need to make a good first impression. To do that, make sure you:

  • Get a fresh haircut
  • Cover as many tattoos as possible
  • Brush your teeth
  • Put deodorant on

Use the interview to show them why you would be a valuable member of the IBM team. If they ask about your criminal history, be upfront with them. Yes, you’ve made mistakes in the past but you are ready to start fresh. Make sure they know that.

Does IBM do background checks?

Yes, IBM does use background checks as part of their hiring process.

Here’s what you need to know about background checks:

Not all checks are equal. Each state has a different process. Some, like the ones listed here, only perform checks that go back seven years:

  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Kansas*
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York*
  • Texas*
  • Washington*

*sometimes certain pay or salary bracket positions require one.

Other states will only reveal convictions that you were found guilty of. They leave off any charges that were dismissed or that you were found not guilty of. Here are those states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana (limited check)
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York

Then there are the states that show everything on their background checks. That means all charges show up, including the ones in which you were found not guilty. Those states are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana (extensive check)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina

Company ratings

On the website glassdoor.com, IBM has a 3.6 out of a possible 5 star rating.

When it comes to what people like about the company, the main praise goes to the work-life balance. Many positions offer flexible work arrangements and some jobs can even be done from home. People also said there was great potential for growth within the company.

Since there are so many employees at IBM, a common complaint is that management cares little for individual employees. There were some complaints that pay was low, but not many.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

You may still be wondering: Does IBM hire felons? We told you that the chances were average, but there are some convictions that may make it harder to get hired than others.

You may have a hard time getting a job in procurement at IBM if you have theft charges. They deal with very valuable equipment and may see that as a liability. Those with any kind of computer crime charges will also have a hard time getting hired in positions where you will have access to sensitive information.

Just because your charges may keep you from one type of entry-level job doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for another one.

Does IBM drug test?

IBM didn’t give us an answer to this question. In our research across job boards and other postings, most people say they were never drug tested.

Keep in mind that IBM has many contracts with the federal government, so they will be subject to federal law which still counts marijuana as an illegal narcotic. While marijuana may be legal in many states, it’s still illegal at the federal level.

Have you applied for a job or worked here before? Share your experiences!

Can you help us? If you have suggestions for our readers about how to get hired at IBM with a felony, please share them in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!

Allen Watson
Reentry Educator

Allen has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Teaching from Coastal Carolina University. He has worked in education, EMS, and law enforcement. Allen has worked extensively with people who are re-establishing their lives after leaving prison.