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Does McDonalds Do Background Checks?

You’ve probably heard that it’s easy to get a job at McDonald’s, and that’s generally true. McDonald’s has a huge need for employees, so as long as you can walk, talk, and smile, they’re probably willing to hire you. But what if you’ve got a criminal record? Does McDonalds do background checks, and will your offense disqualify you?

Let’s find out.

Does McDonalds Do Background Checks in 2024?

Does McDonalds Do Background Checks

You’ll often need to pass a background check to work in a McDonald’s restaurant but the background checks aren’t super strict.

You might not know this, but roughly 95% of McDonald’s restaurants are actually owned by franchises. A franchise is a company or individual who has paid an enormous sum of money to run a restaurant like a McDonald’s.

McDonald’s franchise owners set their own hiring and employment policies, and the McDonald’s Corporation (also called McDonald’s, USA) has no input.

Because of the independent ownership of most restaurants, it’s impossible to say how strict the franchise you apply to will be, but many McDonald’s are willing to hire individuals with a criminal background.

When a restaurant is owned and operated by McDonald’s Corporation, you will need to pass a background check which follows company policy.

How To Tell If The Job Is At A Franchise Restaurant

Whether you’re looking on the McDonald’s Careers website or on a job site like, you’ll see job listings for both types of restaurants.

If the job is for a McDonald-owned restaurant, the job description should say McDonald’s USA at the top.

If the job is for a McDonald’s franchise, you may see the name of the franchise company on the listing, and you will always see a disclaimer pointing out that the job is at a franchise, and that McDonald’s, USA has no input into the hiring process, employment policies, schedules, or disciplinary procedures.

What Does The Background Check Look For?

For crew members, background checks at McDonald’s will usually verify your identity and your right to work in the United States. A nationwide criminal records search is also part of the background check.

Applicants for management positions may undergo additional checks to verify past employment and education.

A credit check isn’t part of the McDonald’s background check for restaurant staff.

You’ll need to provide a form of ID and your social security number when you fill out the paperwork for your background check.

It’s a good idea to make sure you take your ID to the interview because if they want to hire you, they’ll often ask you for your information after the interview to speed up the hiring process.

How Far Back Does The McDonald’s Background Check Go?

How Far Back Does The McDonald’s Background Check Go?

McDonald’s, USA, and McDonald’s franchise owners don’t make the details of their background check policies public, and with over 1000 franchise companies, there’s bound to be some variation with how far back the background checks go.

On the McDonald’s USA application, candidates are asked about criminal offenses (excluding misdemeanors and traffic violations) during the past 5 years.

This suggests that the background check will go back at least 5 years.

Employers can legally search through at least 7 years of your background in every state, although some states have made 7 years the upper limit.

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

If you live in one of those states, your background check will be limited to 7 years, but it’s impossible to say how far it will go in other states.

How Long Does McDonald’s Background Check Take?

The background check itself is usually pretty fast, and only takes a couple of days to come back. The hold-up in the hiring process is often because managers are too busy to finalize their employment and set their schedule.

If you haven’t heard anything after 1 week, go to the restaurant in person and ask to speak to the manager.

It’s also a good idea to ask about the hiring timeline when you have your interview so you know what to expect.

Does McDonald’s Hire Applicants With Misdemeanors?

Usually, the answer to this question will be yes. McDonald’s USA doesn’t want to know about misdemeanors on the application form, so a misdemeanor is unlikely to be a problem.

And judging by employee feedback shared online, a misdemeanor won’t usually lead to rejection at a franchise-owned McDonald’.

Be prepared with an honest explanation if you’re asked about criminal offenses during your interview, and if you can gather some character references, those will help to provide reassurance to the hiring manager that you’ll be a good addition to the team.

Does McDonald’s Hire Felons?

Corporate-owned McDonald’s asks about criminal offenses on the application form. They’re specifically interested in felony convictions during the last 5 years. The application also states that answering yes to the question, will not necessarily bar you from employment.

What can we learn from that? Basically, McDonald’s USA is open to hiring felons, and depending on the type of offense, a fairly recent felony may be okay.

Independent owners will have their own policies, but the fast food industry seems happy to employ people with felony offenses on their record, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be successful if you apply.

Those with older offenses and less serious felonies, shouldn’t face obstacles, especially if you can show some good recent work history.

We’ve heard of serial felons being hired days after release from prison, and plenty of other felons have found work at McDonald’s.

But if you’ve got a theft conviction, you may find it easier to be hired as a cook rather than as a cashier that needs to handle money.

McDonald’s USA also asks if you’re a registered sex offender on their application and it seems unlikely that they’ll hire you if you have a felony for a sex offense.

The hiring manager at a franchise may decide about registered sex offenders on a case-by-case basis, though, because some sex offenses are less serious than others. But if your offense suggests that you’re a risk to coworkers or customers, you probably won’t be hired.

Can McDonald’s Managers Have A Criminal Background?

Possibly. Whether you’ll be hired as a manager or promoted from a crew member position will depend on the type of offense on your record.

Offenses related to theft or fraud would obviously be of concern because managers are responsible for restaurant finances.

Consider applying for a crew member job first, so you can prove that you’re a reliable and trustworthy person.

McDonald’s Supports Second Chances

Many companies have realized that a criminal record doesn’t always make someone a bad employee. And studies show that individuals with a criminal background often work harder and show more loyalty to employers.

McDonald’s Corporation is a member of the Second Chance Business Coalition. The coalition focuses on improving employment prospects for individuals with criminal records.

Is A Drug Test Part Of The Hiring Process?

For crew members, a pre-employment drug test isn’t usually required. But drug tests can be used if you’re seen using drugs at work or if you appear to be under the influence during your shift.

You could also face a drug test after an accident.

Candidates for management positions may need to take a McDonald’s drug test during the hiring process.

Final Thoughts On McDonald’s Background Checks

When you apply for a crew member position at McDonald’s you may have to pass a background check. The majority of McDonald’s restaurants are owned by franchise operations and each franchise owner sets their own hiring and employment policies, so background check requirements will vary.

If a background check is required, it will verify your identity and run a criminal records check.

Having a criminal record isn’t always a barrier to employment, and many individuals with misdemeanor and felony convictions work at McDonald’s.

The McDonald’s application and interview process are quick and easy, so don’t overthink things, apply for a job and see how you get on.

See Also: Does Facebook Background Check?