Yes, Amazon does hire felons. Your eligibility for employment will depend on the type of felony, time since you have fulfilled your sentence and corrective actions you have completed. Amazon will handle each felon’s application on a case by case basis.
Does Amazon Hire Felons?
As stated above yes Amazon hires felons but that does not mean they will hire every felon that applies. The good new is that they do not have a blanket policy against hiring people with criminal records or felons.
How to improve your chances of being hired
There are several things you can do to greatly improve your chances of being hired by Amazon even with a felony conviction. You will have to work harder and a bit smarter than other applicants that have a clean record, but it is not impossible.
Our organization Help for Felons has helped and talked with many clients that have been hired by Amazon. Below you will find our guide on how to improve your chances of getting the job. There are no guarantees, but this will allow you to maximize the possibility.
Guide: How to get hired be Amazon with a Felony
Please read all steps in this guide before you do anything.
Step 1) Job or position selection
You can increase your chances of being hired by Amazon by selecting the right type of job to apply for. Do not apply for management positions or driver positions. Your best bet is to apply for the most needed jobs that Amazon has a hard time filling. Let us face it, everyone would rather be a manager than a warehouse picker.
It is much better to apply for a position that has less competition, is in demand and can be handled by an employee that “can’t be fully trusted” because of a felony conviction. Getting your foot in the door will allow you to prove your worth to Amazon and your department supervisor.
The best positions for felons to apply for are as follows.
- Delivery Station/Warehouse Team Member – In this position you will handle packages and sort them for delivery. This is a continually active job requiring a high degree of physical fitness.
- Fulfillment Center/Warehouse Team Member – Pick, pack, and ship packages. Again, this job requires a high degree of physical fitness.
Both positions are labor intensive as noted but the pay well (more on that later) and are open to felons. Keep in mind that the goal of getting this job is to get your foot in the door and to move up later.
Step 2) Amazon application
Amazon has an online application process that is relatively easy to follow and fill out. Do NOT fill it out yet though, not until you have read the rest of this post.
The good news for you is that the application does NOT ask you if you have a criminal record or any felony convictions. The application is simple and straightforward.
Make sure you do the following when filling out the Amazon application.
- Make your availability as open as possible. This gives you an edge over other applicants that can not work on particular days or during certain hours.
- Double check for any mistakes. You do not want a silly mistake to keep you from getting an interview.
- Make sure you are honest about your previous addresses, work history and anything else. Amazon will run a complete background check and will know everything about you.
- After you fill out and submit your application the waiting game starts. Remember at this point Amazon has no clue that you have a felony. They will not run a background check until after your interview.
Amazon Assessment test
When you apply for a warehouse position you will also have to take a test, or assessment. It is particularly important that you score well on this test. By scoring better than most other applicants you again give yourself an edge. Combine this with open availability and your felony will look less significant to Amazon.
Amazon application warning
Do not use a phone to complete the application! There are parts of the assessment that will not work well on your phone and can cost you the job. Use a laptop or desktop only. If you do not have access to a computer head to your local university, job center or library to fill out the application and complete the assessment.
Amazon hiring process video
This a highly informative video chalked full of information that will give you an edge.
Step 3) Interview
This is your time to shine and impress the Amazon interviewer. I am not going to go into detail on how to interview well as I am not an expert on that subject. What I am an expert on is how to deal with your felony record.
Even though Amazon knows nothing about your felony this is the time to bring it up with the person that is conducting the interview.
Why? Because this is the only time you will have any control over their decision or opinion. If you leave the interview and the hiring manager gets a “surprise, felony record” fax a week later from the background check company they will be much more apt to cut you than if it is not a surprise and they know your story. I can not stress how important this is!
How to present you felony to the Amazon hiring manager
There are some things you can do explain your felony without shocking the interviewer. You must be prepared to present your felony to the interviewer both orally and in written form. Here are the details.
Explaining your felony to the Amazon hiring manager
- Timing – Do not bring this up your felony until the interview is almost finished, but not after it has ended. This allows the interviewer to form a good opinion about you before you bring up the bad news. Nine times out of ten at the end of the interview the Amazon hiring manager will ask you if you have any questions. This is the time to let them know about your criminal record. Do not use the word felony yet though, work into it.
- Explain your felony – Now everyone’s story is different so some variation may be needed for your situation. You need to explain briefly how you got in trouble and what happened. Be brief and do not dwell on this part. Limit this to a minute or two.
- Explain what you have done since your felony – This is important and should be well thought out before you get to the interview. Talk about what you have done to change your life including but not limited to; education, classes, skills gained, lessons learned and how you want to continue your life by finding a home at Amazon. Keep the attention on the present and not happened in the past.
- Final note – After you have done your explaining it is time to ask the interviewer if they have any questions. After the interview is concluded thank them for their time.
Make sure that you are honest throughout the entire interview process. Many Amazon hiring managers have years of experience interviewing applicants and they easily pick up on when people are trying to fool them.
Written Explanation of felony
It is important to have a short letter concerning your felony. Keep it brief and to the point and do not provide too many details. The most important part of this is not the letter but what goes along with it.
Attached to the letter provide any awards, certifications, diplomas, and a few letters of reference attesting to your character and work ethic. After you have explained your felony to the interviewer then give them the letter and documents.
Firsthand information about amazon hiring felons
We were contacted by one of our readers to let us know the following:
“I was a direct hire at Amazon (Phoenix, AZ) in September. I have a felony possession (mj) from 2011 and few assorted misdemeanors/DUI’s along the way (no theft or fraud). It’s January and I’m still working at Amazon. If you want to work at Amazon, have your name in the hat well before their hiring frenzy (sept-oct) for peak season (nov-dec). Check the status of your application often and renew/resubmit as often as necessary to keep current.”
We have heard from many additional clients that have found long term jobs at Amazon.
Contributing factors regarding Amazon hiring you
I can tell you for a fact that some felony convictions are a 100% guarantee that Amazon will not hire you. Murder and sex offense charges are extremely hard to overcome for many. There are some other factors that will also play into Amazon’s decision.
- Time since you have been released. The more time that has gone by the better chance you will have at being hired.
- The type of conviction also makes a difference. Violent felonies are worse that non-violent, but I cannot tell you specifically which felonies are “better” than others.
- What you have done to improve yourself since you got into trouble.
Felony expungement and Amazon
I will only touch on this briefly. If you do not know what expungement it is is basically a legal way to scrub your felony off so nobody can see it.
It can be expensive and not all felonies can be expunged depending on what state you live in. It is is well worth your time investigating whether this is an option for you or not. Most expungement lawyers will give a free consultation and give you their opinion. If you can successfully expunge your record, then companies like Amazon will have no idea that you were ever convicted.
If your felony is expunged never answer the question honestly “have you ever been convicted of a crime” since there is no way that they can find the record.
Most warehouse positions at Amazon start at $15 or $16 per hour. They often have sign on bonuses in addition to decent pay.
Amazon Benefits for full time employees (warehouse)
Amazon has a decent benefits package that includes medical and prescription plans, discounts, 401k and paid vacation.
Background Check Limits for Amazon
It is important to understand that some states have laws regarding how far back a criminal background check can go. This may play a big part in whether Amazon will hire you or not. You can find more information about seven year states here.
Twelve states do not allow any felony conviction information older than seven years to be reported.
- New Hampshire*
- New York *
- Texas *
(* exceptions based on pay/salary)
These states will report unlimited numbers of years back of felony convictions and also report NOT 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.
Amazon has no outright ban on Felons
Amazon has no blanket policy regarding the hiring of felons which is great. You will run into claims online stating, “Amazon didn’t hire me because of my felony.” While this may be true that does not mean that they do not hire felons.
Keep in mind some people interview poorly, have different experience levels, have different criminal records, etc. Every case is different and it seems like Amazon takes each case individually.
However, we know that they do hire some felons in some instances. Our opinion is that it is worth your time to go through the application process.
Staffing agencies that hire for Amazon
In addition to Amazon directly hiring applicants they also utilize staffing agencies. At this time, I am unclear if the staffing agencies will consider felons. There are three staffing agencies that hire for Amazon warehouse positions.
They include the following:
If you are hired by a staffing agency it is possible to be directly hired by Amazon after a specified period of time. My advice to you is to try and go for a direct hire by Amazon first if possible, then a staffing agency.
Staffing agency policy regarding felons (updated info)
In the past none of these staffing companies would hire anyone with a criminal background, let alone a felony.
In 2012 Integrity Staffing was sued by a man that was denied employment by Integrity over a long-ago felony conviction. The lawsuit did not make it to trial but was settled out of court. Integrity was forced to change their blanket policy of “we don’t hire felons.”
“Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Integrity Staffing Solutions has reaffirmed its policy of providing equal employment opportunity for people with past criminal convictions and has agreed to change its employment advertisements and job applications to comply with its policy. Integrity Staffing Solutions also has further reemphasized to supervisors and personnel engaged in the hiring process the importance of and appropriate review of a job applicants with criminal convictions”.
The lawsuit forced these staffing agencies to make more sensible decisions about people with criminal backgrounds.
Amazon is growing as a company at remarkable speed. This creates opportunity for felons to be able to get a good paying job with benefits. Often Amazon has trouble finding enough workers. Use this to your advantage and apply to amazon!