Things you should know: Hiring applicants with criminal histories

criminal history, background check, hiring, things you should know, employee screening

Things you should know: Hiring applicants with criminal histories- 12 Dec

The fairly low unemployment rate is causing once-reluctant employers to open their doors to applicants with criminal histories.

Hiring a candidate with a criminal history shouldn’t always have such a negative connotation. The most important thing is to fully understand exactly who you are hiring.

And with a fully-comprehensive background screening, you can understand just that!

We want to help you make this process as simple and safe as possible.

Some things to consider:

Hiring applicants with criminal histories can be a sensitive issue, as it can put different risks into play, including: workplace safety, legal, financial and reputational risks.

Another hurdle to cross is checking your state laws on whether or not it is permissible to disclose a new hire’s history to other employees or to even ask if they have a history in the first place.

We’ve outlined some points here on good steps to take when hiring someone with a criminal history:

1. Find a Partner:

-HR’s first step should be to identify support organizations and suitable contacts among law enforcement, corrections and parole officers.

-Look out for organizations such as Help For Felons or Hope for Prisoners that help former prisoners get back into the workplace and will work with you.

2. Build a Case:

-HR might need to build a case to show management why hiring a candidate with a criminal history might not just be “the right thing to do” as many argue, but will actually benefit the company.

-Former convicts often come with salary reimbursements and tax credits that can end up saving a business some money. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit can accredit up to $2,400 of an ex-offender’s wages.

Many also argue that because work can be harder to come by for ex-convicts, they will work harder. They show up earlier, stay later, accept overtime, do more, and truly value their jobs.

3. Work with Your Legal Team:

-Make sure that you’re covering all your bases to be sure you won’t get in trouble for “negligent hiring”.

-The most important thing to look out for is that there isn’t any correlation between the potential employee’s crime and his or her job. i.e. If someone has multiple DUI’s, they probably shouldn’t be hired as a driver for your company.

All of these things said, every employee should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Every person brings with them a new set of skills, weaknesses and background. Just be sure you know who you are hiring and lay out a plan for the best course of action for each and every employee.

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