Give Someone a Second Chance
More than 78 million Americans, ¼ of the total population, have a criminal record. ⅓ of Black men have a felony record, and Black and Latino adults are both more likely to be incarcerated than white adults.
Biases surrounding people with criminal records make it extremely difficult for them to find employment, even when they meet the job qualifications. In fact, 26% of managers will not hire someone with a criminal record. If you are part of that percentage, you’re missing out on qualified talent that could help solve your labor shortage problems.
Second chance hiring, or fair chance hiring, is hiring talent with a criminal record. And while “doing the right thing” is important in life, this is about more than altruism. Second chance hiring expands your talent pool and helps you build a more diverse and inclusive workplace. You’re also building trust with the people you hire, leading to improved performance, increased employee satisfaction, and a higher likelihood of retention.
Benefits of Second Chance Hiring
The benefits are proven by these stats from a 2021 study on hiring people with criminal records:
- 85% of HR professionals and 81% of business leaders say workers with criminal records perform the same or better than those without a criminal record.
- 75% of HR professionals and 73% of business leaders say workers with criminal records are just as dependable as those without criminal records.
- 81% of HR professionals and 74% of business leaders said the cost-per-hire was about the same or less for people with criminal records.
- 81% of HR professionals and 74% of business leaders said the quality of hire was about the same or better for people with criminal records vs. those without one.
What About Safety?
In case anyone on your hiring team brings up safety: According to HR professionals who hired people with criminal records, 83% of the felonies represented on background checks were related to substance abuse (e.g., DUI, drug-related crimes), not violent crimes (e.g., assault, domestic violence).
We understand that not all companies can kick background checks to the curb, but you can shorten the length of your check to focus only on felony offenses within the past 3-5 years. You should also have open conversations with your recruitment agency about hiring people with criminal records and reach out to colleagues to ask about their fair hiring practices.
A little food for thought to close out this topic: If corporate giants like Target, Home Depot, and JPMorgan Chase & Company are on board with second-chance hiring, you can be too.