Talent acquisition includes identifying, acquiring and evaluating the best person for each job. Research shows that the success of an organization is closely tied to the quality of its employees. Talent acquisition ensures that your organization has the right people, with the right skills, in the right job.
HR professionals and hiring managers frequently ask, “Should we interview and assess applicants with criminal records differently from candidates without a record?”
The answer is no.
Interviews should be equal and fair assessments, and the basic hiring structure should not vary between candidates. Formerly incarcerated applicants are people looking to be employed, functioning members of our society, with strengths and weaknesses just like any other candidate.
In addition, employers that use criminal records in their hiring decisions need to be aware of applicable federal and state laws.
Free, High-Quality Resources
Understand the latest research, evidence-based best practices and industry guidance needed to reduce legal liability and increase inclusive hiring by downloading the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit.
An employer who adopts a blanket policy of excluding all applicants with an arrest record could face disparate impact liability under federal nondiscrimination law. Learn more in this specific section of the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit, or via the links below.
Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Issued as part of the Commission’s efforts to eliminate unlawful discrimination in employment screening, for hiring or retention, by entities covered by Title VII, including private employers as well as federal, state, and local governments.
Pre-Employment Inquiries and Arrest & Conviction
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Guidance on prohibited practices.
What You Should Know About the EEOC and Arrest and Conviction Records
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: A Q&A resource to understand the application of Title VII to use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions.
Tips for Small Businesses
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Fact sheet when making hiring or other employment decisions.
Federal Discrimination Laws
SHRM: PowerPoint presentation to understand three key areas within discrimination, harassment and retaliation laws.
Managing Equal Employment Opportunity
SHRM: Toolkit discussing pertinent federal laws, protected classes of employees, types of employment discrimination, risk management, enforcement of equal employment opportunity laws and policies, and possible legal remedies.
National Employment Law Project Fair Chance Hub
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) can help interpret and navigate the legal landscape of second chance hiring, both locally and nationally.
Background Check & Providers
Making an informed decision regarding a job applicant with a criminal record starts with having an accurate report. Therefore, employers must evaluate prospective providers, known as consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), to ensure that they have a quality supplier. Learn more in this specific section of the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit, or via the links below.
Quiz: Use of Criminal Background Checks in Employment Decisions
SHRM: Test your knowledge on this five-question quiz.
Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Joint publication with Federal Trade Commission provides information on how background checks are used in employment and when such use may implicate laws enforced by the EEOC or FTC.
How to Conduct Compliant Criminal Background Investigations
SHRM: Understanding criminal background check laws and how to implement investigations.
EEOC Guidance & Background Screening
Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: Understanding guidance from employers engaged in hiring.
Interviewing & Assessment
Employers must ensure that interviews and assessments are yielding information and results to identify the best candidate for each role. Learn more in this specific section of the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit, or via the links below.
Interview & Assessment
Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: First-hand experience and knowledge interviewing candidates with a criminal background.
Sourcing candidates from this untapped talent source may look different from sourcing other candidates.
Staffing & Recruiting
Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: Sourcing talent from job centers and staffing agencies.
12 Recruiting Tips from Talent Acquisition Leaders
These recruiting practices, provided by SHRM, are relevant for all employees, including underrepresented talent forces. Specifically for individuals with a criminal background, consider: