Fair chance hiring enables individuals with arrest or conviction records to get back on their feet and reintegrated into society. It is built on the premise that everyone, regardless of their background, should be fairly assessed for a role they are qualified for, including those with criminal histories. Candidates that fall into this category are often eager and driven but overlooked for past infractions that may or may not have any connection to the role for which they are applying.
Steps have been made is the past several years to help re-integrate individuals with records back into the work force. Recently, the Fair Chance Act was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The law prohibits the federal government and federal contractors from asking about an applicant’s criminal history prior to the offer stage.
With this law, the White House is joining the 35 states and over 150 cities with similar “ban the box” policies. “Ban the box” policies help remove barriers for people with criminal records during the hiring process by delaying questions about one’s criminal history from the initial part of the hiring process.
Many employers don’t consider hiring individuals with a criminal record, as they fear it can create risk. While every company, position, and fair chance candidate is unique, and there are certainly times when someones record makes them unfit for the position, we think it's important to not turn a qualified candidate down simply because they have a record. Some practices companies can implement into their hiring process to help eliminate bias and promote fair chance hiring is identifying the core competencies of the role and conducting skill based interviews.
Fair chance hiring is about fostering a culture of second chances. Research shows that 77 million Americans have a criminal record. Fair chance hiring benefits that people group, and is also of great benefit to employers as well.
Creating an inclusive workplace can help drive employee satisfaction and attract talent. In fact, research shows that a diverse workforce is happier, sees improved retention, and is more likely to attract new talent. These employees also bring new skill sets and diverse thinking to a business, which can drive greater innovation and outcomes.
Beyond being good for business, fair chance programs are good for society. Fair Chance Hiring is one step businesses can take to make an impact and be part of the efforts to improve societal challenges.