Second Chance Hiring

Are you struggling to locate untapped sources of talent? Is it getting harder and harder to source and onboard valuable new hires? This is partly because businesses have become far more aggressive in terms of recruiting. The question is no longer whether contract-to-hire vs direct-hire methods deliver better results; instead, it is now a question of getting to talent pools faster than the competition.

At the same time, in the midst of the Great Resignation, the career priorities of candidates and workers have undergone dramatic changes.

In such a situation, finding an untapped pool of talent would be a godsend for businesses, and it may surprise hiring managers to know that there is a massive one available to them. Second chance hiring could be the solution to many business hiring needs. Read on to discover what it is and how it could help businesses acquire talented new workers.

What Is Second Chance Hiring?

The United States is home to one of the world’s largest prison populations. As a result, it also has a very high number of Americans who have an arrest or a conviction on their permanent records. Of course, this permanent record often raises concerns among employers. Some former felons may even try to hide it, but a routine workplace investigation can quickly locate such records.

For many, this is a significant barrier to entering talent pools, even for individuals with college degrees. Second-chance hiring refers to the practice of hiring candidates despite an arrest/conviction for a crime in the past. The underlying philosophy is that an unbiased chance at reintegration could help them leave behind criminal behavior permanently.

Being open to second chance hiring offers businesses a chance at sourcing talent from among the millions of Americans with prior criminal records. As many have begun to discover, precluding candidates with criminal records only limit a business’s ability to make unbiased hires. Quite a few brands like Starbucks and Walmart have already begun to expand their hiring practices to give such candidates a fairer chance, or a second chance.

The Benefits to Second-Chance Hiring

From the perspective of an employer, offering second chance hires another opportunity often pays off. Many find them to be dedicated and responsible individuals. Motivated by a need to reintegrate into life, they often go the extra mile more frequently than people without criminal records.

In fact, businesses may find such hires to be extremely loyal to their employer. Understandably so since it can be harder to locate future employment with a prior record. Therefore, such hires tend to stick around. In the process, they help to lower employee turnover and recruitment.

At the same time, for smaller firms, second-chance hires can prove a great way to strengthen communities. Hiring people with former criminal records can often help offer more chances to underserved communities and families. This visible effort at inclusion, in turn, improves the brand’s perception in that community.

Are There Any Tax Incentives to Hire Former Felons?

Financial incentives often play a huge role in second-chance hiring. Governments are usually very concerned with helping former felons reintegrate into life after prison. Employers may not necessarily feel the same way, especially with workplace safety concerns. To help motivate more second chances, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit offers sizeable tax credits to firms with even a single ex-felon on the payroll. The federal tax credit has a ceiling of 25% of the worker’s wages for the first year.

Of course, there are safeguards to prevent workers/employers from abusing this credit. Therefore, the 25% tax credit only applies where the ex-felon has put in at least 120 hours of work. If the hire has delivered over 400 hours of work, the tax credit jumps up to a significant 40%.

How Second Chances Help Candidates

Hiring a second-chance candidate isn’t just about broadening workforce diversity. Neither is it solely about onboarding new talent that shows above-par loyalty to an employer. A key part of a second chance approach is about preventing ex-felons from returning to a life of crime. The lack of meaningful work opportunities simply because of a criminal record can be severely demoralizing.

Consider a candidate who may have been incarcerated at a younger age. The candidate may have grown up in an underserved community and may have simply made poor choices at an age that barely qualifies them as an adult. Once released from prison, the additional bias to a criminal record could be enough to alienate them and force them to return to criminal behavior just to make a decent living.

Employers like a mortgage staffing agency offer them a second chance at rebuilding their lives through legal and meaningful ways. Thus, they contribute to lowering crime and offering opportunities for communities to strengthen their fabric.

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