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Showing posts with label jobs interviews for ex-offenders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jobs interviews for ex-offenders. Show all posts

Monday, March 2, 2020

This company is hiring without asking about candidates’ backgrounds — here’s why

Originally published on CNBCKarina Hernandez
Wed, Feb 26 2020

Inquiries into your criminal background are standard when filling out a job application. But for folks who have experienced life behind bars, their prospects of getting hired are cut in half, hindering their ability to settle back into society.

The Body ShopThe Body Shop, the cosmetics brand from the United Kingdom, wants to lend a helping hand for marginalized people struggling to get a job. This summer, the company will implement “open hiring” — a hiring process that employs anyone on a first-come first-serve basis without asking about criminal and educational backgrounds — in all of its North American stores. The Body Shop claims it is the first retailer to do so in the United States.

“For us it’s not about filling roles and hiring more people,” said Andrea Blieden, the U.S. general manager for The Body Shop. “This is about setting an example as a brand about how this can be a force for good and fight injustices in society that exist, like unequal access to employment.”

How ‘open hiring’ began

The concept of open hiring is often credited to Greyston Bakery, which was established in 1982 in Yonkers, New York. People can sign up for a job at the factory and are immediately hired once a position becomes available.

New hires go through an apprenticeship program to learn the job’s duties and basic life skills. Completion of the apprenticeship leads to an entry-level position with Greyston Bakery, which supplies Ben & Jerry’s with brownies and sells its own brownies at Whole Foods.

Lucas Tanner, chief operating officer of Greyston Bakery, considers the hiring practice to be revolutionary. “We profoundly believe that open hiring, even though it’s a simple idea and it’s an extraordinary idea, can change the world,” said Tanner.

Open hiring can also change lives. Arthur, 50, had been in and out of prison since he was 16 years old, and his criminal record affected his chances of obtaining a steady job. “So many people judge you by your background and mistakes you did in your past,” he said. “They will slam the door on you right away.”

But 19 months ago, Greyston Bakery took a chance on Arthur. He was immediately hired after patiently waiting eight months to land an interview with the company. “I wasn’t judged,” said Arthur. “Right off the bat I was given an opportunity.”

Oftentimes, companies ask Tanner whether the new hires are ever violent. He said that is a misconception of open hiring. “We’ve never witnessed that,” said Tanner.

Starting ‘open hiring’ with larger employers

In 2018, the company launched the Center for Open Hiring to aid other businesses in adopting similar practices. One of their clients is The Body Shop.

In September 2019, Greyston helped the company transform its North Carolina distribution center into a pilot program. Background checks and educational requirements were removed for the 208 seasonal workers hired at the distribution center. Only three questions were asked during the application process: “Are you authorized to work in the United States?,” “Can you stand for up to eight hours?” and “Can you lift over 50 pounds?”

Since the start of the program, the company saw a 60% decline in employee turnover in 2019 compared to 2018. These results convinced The Body Shop to take this initiative to its stores, in hopes of giving a second chance to marginalized communities, like formerly incarcerated people.

A 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative found that 27% of ex-offenders are unemployed, compared to just 5.2% of the general population. Those who have earnings when released from prison earn less than a full-time worker earning minimum wage.

“All of these barriers that come into people’s way can be lessened when someone has some independence,” said Han Lu, a policy analyst at National Employment Law Project, “which is usually found in a salary or a wage.”

In a time when employers are voicing concerns over a labor shortage, Lu believes it’s an opportunity for employers to take the lead and abandon criminal background checks. “Workers with records tend to be more reliable and can have less turnover,” explained Lu. “It’s a place where employers can have a big impact in the communities that they exist in.”

The Body Shop sees the potential in this untapped population. “You are expanding your employment opportunities and you are giving people a chance they might have not had,” said Blieden, “and the goal would be that you have less employees turn.”

Formerly incarcerated employees perform as well or better, studies show

Prior studies explain the benefits for an employer when hiring people with a criminal background. In a study of military members, experts found that among 1.3 million ex-felons in the military, those with a criminal record performed as well or better than those with no record.Often times, ex-felons were promoted faster to higher ranks.

In 2016, John Hopkins Hospital shared results of a five-year study on 500 ex-offenders it hired. There was a lower turnover rate in the first 40 months, compared to non-offenders.

But not everyone is on board with these types of hiring practices. Opponents say ex-offender friendly initiatives, like “ban the box” or “fair chance hiring,” come along with unintended consequences. Initiatives like “ban the box” or “fair chance hiring” differ slightly from “open hiring” because applicants still deal with the typical job application process, but any questions regarding criminal history are removed. In contrast, people are automatically hired through open hiring without a formal job application or interview.

A study claims that when criminal history information is removed during the hiring process, it can actually lead to an “increase of statistical discrimination against demographic groups that include more ex-offenders,” like black and Latino men, because of the assumption that they are more likely to possess a criminal record. These findings have been disputed by economists.

The movement for inclusive hiring gained some momentum in December 2019 when President Donald Trump signed the Fair Chance Act as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Federal agencies and contractors will be barred from inquiring about criminal records before a job offer. It will take effect at the end of 2021.

Just like the federal government, Andrea Blieden hopes other companies join The Body Shop to take a chance on those who have been locked out of the labor market. “We take chances every single day at work, in life,” said Blieden, “and this is probably one of the best chances that we have taken, and we’re really excited about it.”

Companies that Hire Felons

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This company is hiring without asking about candidates’ backgrounds — here’s why

Eric Mayo

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

How Female Felons can get Jobs

How Female Felons can get Jobs
Hello Mr. Mayo,

Thank you for reading my email.

I am a 24 year old girl and have a charge of simple assault.  I got into a fight with another girl who pulled a knife on me.  I had no choice but to protect myself but I got a charge anyway.   I have gotten interviews, but when I get to the part about explaining my charge, everything changes and I don't get hired.

I read your blog all the time.  How can people with charges find jobs if no one will give them a chance.  If they can't find jobs then they sell drugs and do other things to get money.  I want to get a job and put this nightmare behind me in the worst way.  Any advice you can give me will be appreciated.

Thank you.


How Female Felons can get Jobs

Hello Lori,

More and more I am seeing women with felony convictions who are have a hard time finding jobs.  First let me say that ex-offenders and felons get hired everyday all across the country.  You have two challenges.  Firstly, to make yourself as marketable as possible and secondly to find employers who will offer you an opportunity.

First you will need a well written resume.  A resume will quickly help an employer get an understanding of your skills and qualifications.  There are many resources online that can help you get an understanding of how to put a resume together.  If you have never done this before, get help from someone who has written one before.

On most application you will find the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?"  This part is critical.  I encourage everyone I work with to never lie on an application.  In this computer age, lying about criminal records doesn't work so always be honest.   When answering this question, list the name of the conviction, the county you were convicted in, the month and year, and the final outcome.  It might look something like:

Simple Assault (isolated incident), Cook County, IL, 2016 ,  Probation/Fine Paid

When it's time to talk about it, briefly state what happened and how sorry you you are that it happened and how hard you are working to move past it.

Next you will have to practice your interviewing skills.  Find someone who will pose and an interviewer so you can practice answering questions and work on your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.  Practice until you can easily answer questions while sounding sincere.

You will also need professional interview clothes.  The best clothes for an interview is a nice pants or skirt suit with coordinated blouse and shoes.  If you wanted to be looked at as a professional, you must look like a professional.

Finally, check out this list of companies that have hired felons in the past:  Companies that Hire Felons

Bear in mind that these companies will not hire you just because you are a felon, but you may get the opportunity if you are qualified.  Best of luck to you.

 Companies that hire felons

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

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How Female Felons can get Jobs

Eric Mayo

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

Convicted felons urge community, businesses

to give them a second chance

It is very difficult for ex-offenders and felons to get considered for jobs so to get a chance to interview is a great opportunity.  A lot of hard work went in to getting an interview.  Ok, you have an interview.  This is the day when all of the hard work pays off.  For many people, interviews are stressful. They don't have to be. The interview is it time to show just how professional you are and that you want the right person for the job you have applied for,so we're going to take some steps to make sure we make the most of this opportunity.

Preparation for the interview will begin the day before. 

The first a most important preparation you can make is having proper interview clothes.  I tell my students that interviews are business meetings.  Does your clothes make you look like a businessperson ready to make a deal.  It should.  Be sure that your clothes are neat, clean and in good condition.  Don’t forget the shoes.  They should be clean and shined.

Take a few minutes to look at the article at the link below.

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

 Plan all of the steps leading up to the time the interview begins.

You must know the company name, where it is located, and the interview time.  Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.  This will allow you to relax and make any last minute adjustments.  If possible, make a trip to
Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews
the interview location the day before to see exactly how long it takes to get there.  There is no excuse for being late to an interview.

Know the name of the person interviewing you so that you can ask for him or her by name when you arrive.  Call the company and get the correct spelling and pronunciation.

Know and understand the position you are applying for.  Get as much information as you can. Call or visit the company.  Get a written description of the job if possible.

Have all of your documentation ready.  Have your Social Security card, birth certificate, driver’s license and any diplomas, certifications, awards or letters of recommendation.
Have a typed list of your references in case the interviewer asks for them..Good references help ex-offenders and felons get jobs.

Get a professional looking portfolio with a notepad to carry your documents and resume copies and to keep them neat.

Always carry two pens just in case one fails to work.

Have at least 5 copies of your resume.  You may be interviewed by more than one person.

Have a copy of your personal data sheet.  That is a sheet that has all of the information you will need to complete an applications.  Don't try to do it from memory.  Gather all the information and have it on a sheet of paper.  You may have to complete an application.

Have a list of relevant questions to ask the interviewer.  Type them up so they are easy to read.

Study your resume personal data sheet.  Many of your interview questions will be related to either the resume or the application.  Know your skills.

Ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs have a very difficult time getting interviews,  When an opportunity does come up, they must make the most it.  Follow the tips above and make the most of every opportunity you get.

Jobs for Felons: Preparing to Ace the Interview

Jobs for Felons: Preparing to Ace the Interview. Pt. 2

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: The Interview

Jobs for felons: Following up after interviews

Check this real story of a student of mine:  Real Stories of Ex-offenders and Felons looking for Jobs

Please Rate This Post at the Top!
I have been helping ex-offenders and felons get jobs for over ten years and I feel I have an understanding of what works. I will be updating this blog often. I will answer specific questions relating to getting a job with a criminal record on this blog so feel free to send me your questions. You can send email me at

If you are really serious about getting a job with a criminal record or helping someone you care about get a job, check out this link: From Jail to a Job

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

This Book Has Helped Thousands of Felons Get Jobs ! You can get a copy of this book for as little as $5.00 Click Here!

Ex-offenders, Felons and Preparing for Job Interviews

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Felon is Nervous about Job Interview

 Felon is Nervous about Job Interview

 Felon is Nervous about Job Interview
Hello Sir,

I have a job interview next week and I am very nervous about it.  I have an interview for a job as a clerk in a title office.  I have done this kind of work before but not since my legal troubles.  I was involved with a guy who was selling drugs.  There were some in my apartment when he was arrested.  Because the lease was in my name, I was charged with possession. I wasn't selling but I was charged anyway.  I know this will come up on a background check.  

Do you think I have a chance to get this job?


  Felon is Nervous about Job Interview

Hi Candy,

You don't know how often I hear stories like this.  Too many people get dragged down by people around them and often there are lasting effects.  I'm not going into a lecture about choosing better friends, but you knew he was selling, and there are certain risks involved associating with people and their criminal activities.

Hopefully you were honest on your application and you got an interview anyway.  If that is the case,
 Felon is Nervous about Job Interview
somewhere in the interview, the question is going to come up. You can handle it in three steps.

Own your Mistake - Never blame anyone else for your mistake.  Acknowledge your role in your troubles.  You could start by saying something like this, "I'm glad you asked me that because I want you to feel comfortable about hiring me. I’ll be honest with you because you have the right to know.  I have been in trouble but it didn’t have anything to do with any of my previous employers.  I was involved with someone who was into some bad things and I was arrested along with him.  I am proud to say that I have put that all behind me.

Focus on the Positive - Shift the conversation away from your problem and on to the things you have done to improve yourself and how you now only associate with people who are doing positive things.  Talk about what you have learned through this bad experience.

Talk about your Goals - Without being specific, tell the interviewer that you have goals and this job will help you put your mistake behind you.

Sell your Skills - Talk about your skills, training, education and how they make you an ideal candidate for the job.

Don't forget to be personable and friendly.  Get the interviewer to focus on your skills and personality instead of the fact that have a criminal record.  Stick to the formula above and you will do well.  Remind the interviewer that you can be bonded.  Get information about the Federal Bonding Program and how it can help felons get jobs here:

The Federal Bonding Program

There also may be financial benefits to employers that may also be a selling point.  The Work Opportunity Tax Credit offers tax incentives to employers who hire felons under certain conditions.  You can find out more about it here:

Best of luck to you!

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to getting a Job with a Criminal record

Jobs for Felons: 12 Job Interview Tips

Eric Mayo


Top Five Job Interview Mistakes Ex-offenders and Felons Make

  Felon is Nervous about Job Interview

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