America’s unemployment rate has dropped below 4 percent. This has left many employers in a bind as they try to fill positions. According to a recent poll by the Charles Koch Institute and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the solution many employers, HR staff and managers would likely embrace is hiring people with criminal records, with 80 percent saying they would at least consider the applicants.
Criminal records have long sent up red flags on job applications, but many companies have no official policy about not hiring felons or those who have been incarcerated. To change this thinking, the study suggests that executives and HR staff will need to be proactive in announcing that they are willing to hire employees who have spent time in prison.
According an article in Fast Company, creating a policy for hiring those who have served time would help turn the initial good intentions discussed in a meeting into actual strategy for the company to tap this employee resource.
Ban the box
Companies may not have an official policy about not hiring those incarcerated, but it is common practice to have a box on the application that is to be checked if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. Now advocacy groups like All of Us or None have pushed for the box to be removed from applications. The reason for doing this is twofold:
- HR managers and others who hire may be biased against a candidate if the box is checked.
- Just seeing the box and having to check it may prove to be discouraging to the former convicts.
Those who do hire former convicts are rewarded
The final anecdotal information from the study also pointed out that those who hire former inmates have average or above average satisfaction with the performance of these hires. This is good news for those facing charges and potential time in jail. While it is always advisable to seek out legal help if you face criminal charges, it is also comforting to know that you may have employment opportunities for starting your life again once your time is served.