A nationwide survey from the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has found as many as 84 percent of HR managers were open to hiring persons with a criminal past.
Around two-thirds of those surveyed said they’d already hired persons with a criminal past for their businesses. The findings were drawn from a survey of 1,052 full-time employees and 1,228 HR professionals.
Employers Report Some with a Criminal Past Become Highest Quality Workers
These HR professionals also expressed that they felt these workers were at least as valuable and in some cases higher-performing than their other staff members without a criminal record. They reported costs being the same or lower with these individuals that had a criminal past as well.
One of the biggest factors that went into hiring these persons was a demonstrated positive work history despite the criminal incident. Some of the reasons employers and hiring managers gave for hiring workers despite a criminal past included:
Quality. The employer felt the candidate was the best-qualified applicant and was willing to give them a chance despite their criminal past.
Service. The employer wished to take an action that contributed to quality of life for these community members.
A Second Chance. The business owner wished to give persons who had made mistakes another chance at having a good job.
This last point taps into recent actions taken by the Trump administration, with April 2018 having been proclaimed “Second Chance Month.” The proclamation has an objective of preventing crime and fully respecting the rule of law, but of also providing opportunities for past offenders to have a second chance at making an honest living.
Gainful Employment Reduces Recidivism, Reforms Lives
One of the biggest keys to becoming successful after being convicted of a crime is securing employment. In addition to providing income, gainful employment helps with teaching responsibility and affirms the dignity of each individual.
Unemployment is near a record low in the U.S. However, about one third of all Americans have a criminal past. Many employers are having trouble keeping jobs filled and hiring enough workers to keep up with demand. Skilled persons with a criminal past who are sincerely looking to reform themselves are valuable sources of untapped talent for many businesses.
Social science researchers report one of the biggest keys to reducing recidivism and ensuring public safety is getting past offenders back to work. Considering applicants based upon their talent, merit, skills and future goals instead of just their past is an important step businesses can take in giving an at-risk group a second chance.
Employment Screening Should Consider All Factors
Pre-employment background screening will always be an important part of the hiring process. Businesses should be aware of who they are hiring and their track record in relevant areas. However, a little compassion can go a long way in making a difference for individuals with a criminal past and communities. It can also result in businesses gaining some of the most loyal and valuable employees they’ve ever hired.