Businesses have a responsibility to develop fair and equal hiring processes for all job candidates. This should include building a consistent and compliant policy to address candidates with a criminal record. Title VII, EEOC standards, and various ban-the-box laws across the nation stress the importance of treating applicants with past convictions fairly. To do this, companies must assess candidates and their circumstances individually while staying compliant with local and federal antidiscrimination laws. Learn more about how to build a fair and reliable hiring process with these tips for considering candidates with criminal records.
Develop an Individualized Assessment Process
When a professional background search brings up a past conviction, employers must learn more about the details surrounding the incident. The more context you know, the better chance you have of making a smart decision about the candidate. Look deeper into all sides of the story. Information such as how long ago the incident occurred, the type and severity of crime, and what your candidate has been up to since the conviction can give you a clearer idea about what happened. Keep in mind, youthful mistakes or misunderstandings can make a criminal record look far worse than it actually is. You should also consider how relevant the crime is to your industry. While you wouldn’t want to hire someone with a DUI for a driving job, crimes irrelevant to the responsibilities of the role are often less of a concern.
Assess Skills Over History
Creating and maintaining equal hiring practices goes beyond simply accepting applications from convicted candidates. You will likely have to make deeper changes to your overall process. One of the most crucial tips for considering candidates with criminal records is to reevaluate how you approach and interview potential hires. Many of the standard red flags in the hiring process—such as lack of previous experience or large gaps in employment history—are common among individuals who experienced jail or probation. Focus on qualifications beyond the standard experience and history. Transferable skills, passion for the job and company, and a willingness to learn can sometimes be valuable than a typical employment history.