Proposed rule would delay questions about criminal history

WASHINGTON (AP) The Obama administration is issuing a proposed rule that would prohibit federal agencies from asking certain job applicants questions about criminal and credit history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.

The proposed rule would cover jobs in which applicants must compete with others in an open competition. It won't apply to many of the positions dealing with national security, intelligence and law enforcement.

The president has already directed the government's personnel office to wait until later in the hiring process to ask about criminal histories. The proposed rule would formalize that process.

The administration says that early inquiries about criminal history can unnecessarily narrow the pool of qualified candidates and make it that much harder for those with criminal histories to support themselves and their families.