A significant issue facing the United States is the number of people who have criminal records and the fact that most employers aren’t willing to hire them. It makes sense that organizations want to protect their employees from dangerous people. But the truth is, there are many people with felony convictions, who aren’t harmful. They are people who made a mistake, were convicted for their crime, and are now considered outcasts in society. Without a second chance how are they to succeed in their professional lives?
When interviewing candidates hiring a convicted felon isn’t what most businesses set out to do. However, giving a person a second chance doesn’t only benefit the person with a criminal record, but also the company, and the community. Here are few things to think about to help you reconsider how valuable someone with a felony record can be to your organization.
They’re Hard Workers
Many people leaving prison have years of experience working before and during their time served, and they’re looking for a chance to be accepted by a company and prove themselves through full-time work. A person who knows they don’t have many opportunities in the job market will do anything they can to go above and beyond expectations.
They Have Served Their Time
When someone receives a label by society, many people forget to take the time to look past it and see the actual person. Yes, that person committed a crime and got caught, but they were given a punishment and served their term. They did everything required of them, and now they just want to live a normal life.
People who are reentering the workforce after serving time experience rejection in all facets of their life. Looking for a place to live, building relationships, and looking for a job are all vital needs for our human existence. Yet a person with a record has to try and rebuild their life with their head hung in shame, something that most of us will never understand. Instead of punishing them, doesn’t it make sense to allow them a chance to become a productive member of society?
The average length of stay at the job nowadays is two years, and it’s not the just newer generations entering the workforce who are leaving. Technology and constant change keep all of us antsy with curiosity about future opportunities. Knowing they have limited options when looking for work, and after being told no so many times, people who have a criminal record tend to be extremely loyal employees. They are appreciative of employers who are willing to give them that second chance and will go above and beyond to keep their job and grow with the company.
You May Receive A Tax Credit
Willingness to hire people with criminal records not only expands your recruitment market but could also earn your company an additional $1,200 to $9,600. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring people who have consistently faced significant barriers while looking for employment. You must qualify for the tax credit, and not every company that applies automatically receives it. It’s worth checking into because if you hire multiple employees that are eligible under the WOTC, your business would be entitled to a tax credit for each person. Many small business owners would benefit from this tax break.
Ban the Box
The state has a vested interest in getting people with criminal histories employment because having a job reduces the chance of recidivism. 35 states and 150 cities have passed ban-the-box legislation that prevents you from asking about criminal history before offering the person a job. When an offer is ready to be made, you can do a background check which involves asking about any convictions. If you decide to disqualify a candidate with a record, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires you to give the person a chance to explain themselves and give you additional information.
Be sure to review your state’s laws before you ask a job candidate about their past. If you find someone with a conviction that you are interested in hiring, first consider the crime they committed as well as the crime they were sentenced for. To help you make your decision, you can look at how long it has been since their conviction; and how it relates to your business or the position they’re interested in.
In conclusion, looking past a person’s conviction can lead you to a strong, loyal, and talented employee. Refusing the stigma that having a record makes you a danger to society, will promote tolerance in your community and the nation as a whole. Having an organized business with a healthy company culture can be the second chance someone needs to become your next top-performing employee.