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Incarceration rates in the U.S. have soared lately. Between 70 to 100 million Americans have a criminal record, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That criminal record can follow an individual for a long time, making them feel the effects long after they’ve served their sentence. 

Those who need a second chance deserve steady employment to gain a feeling of financial stability, support themselves and their families, and feel like a contributing member of society. All of this helps lower recidivism rates and keep individuals from re-entering the prison system. 

Having a criminal record exhibits a unique set of employment difficulties. Because of their criminal history, individuals are regularly ruled out for job opportunities, even when they’re qualified. Those who need a second chance are less likely to be asked for an interview.  

If you’re not familiar with fair chance hiring and are considering implementing this into your company, this guide should help you comprehend what goes into the process, the advantages that stem from it, and how you can begin today. 

What is Fair Chance Hiring? 

Fair chance hiring is based on the reason that everybody, regardless of their background, has the right to be fairly evaluated for a job they are qualified for. 

Organizations that practice fair chance hiring can take advantage of a bigger pool of qualified, diverse talent with a broad scope of experiences, better comprehend their customers and reach stronger business outcomes. 

What are the advantages of Fair Chance Hiring? 

Fair chance hiring allows for a more diverse and inclusive environment. The discussion around diversity and inclusion shouldn’t stop at race, gender, or sexual orientation. To create an inclusive workplace, the conversation needs to extend to those with criminal records. Refusing to hire job candidates with criminal backgrounds has an unintended effect on minority applicants. This makes it significantly more challenging to assemble a genuinely diverse and inclusive workplace. 

By embracing fair chance hiring policies, you extend your potential candidate pool to a mostly untapped group of diverse, talented, and eager workers. With the job market being so competitive, applicants can wait and choose between multiple job offers prolonging the hiring process. Those who need a second chance often have a difficult time finding work, so you’re far less likely to deal with a drawn-out hiring process. This makes it easier for you to grow your organization in today’s competitive employment market. 

Fair chance hiring offers a significant return on investment, both from a performance and retention perspective. According to a SHRM survey, 80 percent of managers surveyed feel the value workers with criminal records bring to the organization is just as high or higher than that of workers without records. Anytime you’re hiring; it’s an investment. However, when practicing fair chance hiring, you’re likely to get a better return on that investment. 

How do I incorporate Fair Chance Hiring into my hiring process? 

Having a criminal record doesn’t mean an individual is irresponsible, immoral, or likely to take part in illegal activity in the future. When working with a candidate, make it a point to see where they are today. They’ve already assumed responsibility for their actions and fulfilled their legal obligations. What matters now is that they’re qualified, prepared, and have the assets to be effective in the job.  

Before you start interviewing job applicants, it’s important to distinguish any convictions that are relevant to the position or organization that would cause a candidate to be disqualified from the hiring process. And if an applicant falls outside of those restrictions? They should get as much of a fair chance to be employed for that position as any other person. 

How do I get my current employees on-board to Fair Chance Hiring? 

Ensure your company knows and comprehends why you’re supporting fair chance hiring practices. Make it a pillar of your organization’s missions and values. The more you open the discussion about fair chance hiring, the more you’ll normalize it, and it will be understood by your company. 

A criminal record is a barrier for qualified, devoted applicants in finding employment and an obstacle for companies looking to create diverse teams. By adopting fair chance practices, you’re offering opportunities for financial stability, career advancement, and a sense of purpose for millions of Americans that deserve a fair chance. 

To learn more, check out our Fair Chance Handbook.  

Contact us  today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employee onboarding process to the next level.  

This article gives a general overview of the legal matters. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing this area. SELECTiON.COM® does not provide legal advice, and we always suggest consulting your own legal counsel for all applicant approval matters.    

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