Make Fair Chance Hiring Part of Your New Screening Program

, , , , | April 7, 2023 | By

Your organization needs to be a safe environment for staff, clients, and community members who use your services. Background checks are crucial to limiting liability and protecting people and property. If you’re hiring a new employee or recruiting volunteers, you likely want to know if a person you’re considering has a criminal background.

However, not all criminal histories reflect who a person is today. An applicant might seem well-suited for your organization, but they have a less-than-perfect past. For this reason, fair chance hiring can be an optimal practice for hiring the most qualified people. Fair chance hiring allows you to give some people a second chance to obtain meaningful work while keeping your workplace safe.

What Is Fair Chance Hiring?

With fair chance hiring, some candidates with minor criminal infractions or arrest records can still gain access to gainful employment or rewarding volunteer opportunities. Many of these people do not pose a risk to others and are still qualified for specific jobs. That’s why state and federal laws exist to give these people a second chance to contribute to the economy and their communities.

Two significant types of legislation enable fair chance hiring, one of which is the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2021. The Act makes it unlawful for federal agencies and contractors to request criminal background information before they extend conditional employment offers. Since it’s been enacted, this Act has contributed to more than 700,000 applicants with arrest or conviction records getting greater access to fair hiring.

Thirty-seven states and over 150 cities and counties have “Ban the Box” laws. This legislation also prevents companies from inquiring about applicants’ criminal backgrounds until a certain point in the hiring process, usually when they extend a conditional offer.

Benefits of Fair Chance Hiring for Job Seekers and Employers

Barring someone from employment because of a past mistake can seem like infinite punishment for a finite crime. Fair chance hiring gives some people with conviction and arrest records opportunities for redemption and getting their lives back on track. Overall, this practice can benefit job applicants and the organizations recruiting them.

Benefits for Job Seekers

Far too many qualified people get denied access to fulfilling jobs or volunteer opportunities because of blemishes on their background checks. About one in three Americans have an arrest or conviction in their background. Based on these odds, you will eventually review applications of people with criminal records if you haven’t already.

Fair chance hiring doesn’t hide criminal background information from employers when the law permits access. Instead, this practice allows companies and nonprofits to consider certain applicants for positions that might otherwise suit them. Generally, fair chance hiring reduces the bias and discrimination many candidates face when seeking gainful employment.

Benefits for Employers

Fair chance hiring widens the pool of qualified candidates, which can give your organization an advantage during a tight labor market. Instead of overlooking talented, experienced individuals because of “failed” background checks, you can give otherwise deserving people a chance to add value to your workforce.

Fair chance hiring also helps employers decrease turnover. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) highlights data showing that employees with criminal backgrounds are more likely to stick with their current jobs.

Finally, there’s a good chance your organization has goals toward increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your hiring and other practices. Fair chance hiring helps open the applicant field, allowing you to recruit more diverse people who would otherwise be excluded because of their past. It also lets you show staff, clients, and stakeholders that you “walk the walk” when promoting DEI.

BIB Can Help Your Organization Benefit From Fair Chance Hiring

At BIB, we understand that fair chance hiring makes good business sense. In addition to providing secure background checks and other screening services, we can help you get the most out of this practice to make better hiring decisions.

To learn how we can partner with you, call us at (704) 439-3900 or visit today. For more information about fair chance hiring, quality background checks, and other aspects of employee and volunteer screening, check out our blog.