Why Does Fair Chance Hiring Matter to Your Small Business’s Hiring Process? 14 May 2019


Your business has a fantastic hiring process. Except, it has one serious flaw. It’s weeding out some of the best job candidates. Why is your hiring process working against you?

Most hiring processes automatically exclude people with criminal records. Disqualifying individuals with criminal histories can deprive your business of amazing talent. However, employers may worry about the safety and legal issues that could come with hiring a former criminal. How can you balance finding the employees you need with keeping your business safe?

Fair chance hiring can help you discover the right person for the job while still protecting your company. Let’s explore what fair chance hiring is and how you can incorporate it into your hiring process.

Fair Chance Hiring Gives Everyone an Opportunity  

Fair chance hiring gives each person an equal chance of being hired, even if they have a criminal record. It means you base your hiring decision on the applicant’s qualifications, like every other job applicant.

Fair chance hiring doesn’t stop you from taking someone’s criminal history into account. It merely requires that you hold off on asking candidates about their criminal past until you’ve reviewed their credentials. Once you know more about an applicant’s abilities, you can impartially decide if their history affects their ability to do the job.

Fair chance hiring is beneficial for former convicts. However, it takes more time and effort than other hiring processes. Is it worth it for businesses to change their hiring processes?  

Fair Chance Hiring Benefits Your Business

Using equal opportunity hiring practices helps your business find great talent in a tight job market. Former criminals might have work experience or education that’s in short supply. Due to their past, some employers shy away from snatching them up. Having a fair chance hiring process can expand your hiring prospects when other companies are limiting theirs.

People with criminal records typically run into many barriers when they’re looking for employment. When they’re offered a job, they tend to be loyal, productive employees. One study found that employees with a criminal record have a 13 percent lower turnover rate than other staff members.

Using fair chance hiring practices also keeps your business legally compliant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has strict fair chance hiring guidelines. The EEOC isn’t afraid to sue companies that don’t follow them, either. The commission has gone after big companies, like BMW Manufacturing and Dollar General, for violating fair chance hiring practices. Plus, the EEOC isn’t the only government program that wants more ex-offenders employed.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As a result, both state and federal governments are concerned about helping former criminals get jobs. To make this possible, the federal government and many state governments offer tax benefits to businesses that hire former convicts.

Clearly, fair chance hiring improves your business in terms of hiring, compliance, and profit margin. Now, how can you turn your old hiring practices into a fair chance hiring process?

Business professionals discuss the benefits of fair chance hiring

Transform Your Hiring Process Into a Fair Chance Hiring Process

Since new laws require businesses to follow fair chance hiring practices, you don’t want to be left behind. Here are some general steps you can take to transform your hiring process:

  • Review the EEOC’s fair hiring guidelines. These guidelines should form the basis of your hiring process.
  • Understand your state’s and city’s laws. You don’t want to comply with the EEOC only to break your state’s or city’s laws.
  • When writing job applications, get rid of questions that relate to criminal history. Ban-the-box laws have made these questions illegal in many states and cities.
  • Tailor your interview questions so they focus on a candidate’s skills. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be able to ask about an applicant’s criminal history. However, zeroing in on someone’s criminal past doesn’t help you make an impartial decision.
  • When deciding if you should hire someone with a past criminal offense, consider three vital factors. How long ago was the crime? How severe was the offense? What relevance does the crime have to the job position?

Follow these steps to get your hiring practice up to speed with fair chance hiring. However, keep in mind that fair chance hiring involves many legal requirements. To make sure you’re legally protected, always have your lawyer look over your hiring procedures before implementing them.

Give Fair Chance Hiring a Chance

Your hiring process used to have a huge blind spot that made you miss out on some of the best candidates. Using a fair chance hiring process can help your business find the right applicant for the job.

Fair chance hiring may be based on providing equal job opportunities to ex-offenders. However, it also offers significant benefits to your company. By implementing fair chance hiring in your business, you can find more than fantastic talent. You’ll find employees who will help you create a successful business.