Don’t Be So Quick to Dismiss a Candidate With a Criminal Record

by Evil HR Lady on May 9, 2017

If you’re not familiar with “Ban the Box” legislation, you’re not alone — but it’s an important legal trend for business leaders to understand. Most states have some law that prohibits businesses from asking job applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. (Hence, the campaign to ban the checkbox that asks people if they’ve ever been convicted.) That doesn’t mean you can’t ask a candidate about convictions, but it does mean that you can’t do it until the offer stage.

Blanket rejection of convicted felons is against the law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines for when you can reject someone based on a felony conviction. The guidelines are complex, but the main gist is that the conviction needs to be related to the specific position in order to reject someone. So, you can reject an accountant applicant who was convicted of embezzling, but you likely can’t reject the same person for a field service role if the role doesn’t involve handling cash.

But there are many reasons, legal or otherwise, to consider every qualified candidate you can find.

To keep reading, click here: Don’t Be So Quick to Dismiss a Candidate With a Criminal Record

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

JAmes Horn May 9, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Many years ago, I worked in a place that prefabricated steel for building construction, had a heavy duty machine shop, a foundry, and more.

The owner tried to forces his worker needs and visited the prison to not only recruit soon to be released cons, but to encourage others to learn the skills that he needed.

When released, they had good jobs waiting for them. 90% stayed with his company until they retired, we’re fiercely loyal, and his products were very highly rated as sought after.

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Blake May 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

“there are many reasons, legal or otherwise, to consider every qualified candidate you can find.”

I could not agree more! Hiring managers have to walk a fine line, even before these proposed changes go into effect. And the responsibility to know the law is on the hiring manager, not the screening company.

Honestly, with the cost of background checks increasing, I think it makes sense from a business standpoint as well to save these questions for a later stage in the hiring process. Excellent article! Thank you for sharing.

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