Should I Hire a _________?

Should I Hire a _________?

That old phrase “nobody’s perfect” becomes abundantly clear as hiring managers process their incoming resumes, requiring many to make compromises on what they’d consider their ideal candidate. Most people are willing to extend an offer of employment if an applicant meets a certain amount of their desired criteria, but it’s not always an easy decision. What should an employer do if the right person for the job also happens to be carrying some pretty heavy baggage?


Should I hire a…


…Convicted Felon?

Employment is quite an effective measure against crime, helping to provide a great deal of stability for individuals after their release from prison. The Indiana Department of Justice found that employment is “significantly and statistically correlated with recidivism, regardless of the offender’s classification.”

In other words, providing a job to a felon helps lower crime and gives a person the chance to become a productive member of society. Governors Pence and Holcomb both put in place new rules that supported this notion.

There are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision to hire a felon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mandates that employers treat everyone with a conviction the same (regardless of race, gender, etc.) and refrain from using arbitrary criminal history screenings that fail to determine employability. Beyond that, determine how the person’s conviction relates to the job you’re offering.


…Person with Bad Credit?

According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, about 47 percent of employers evaluate the financial history and credit information of job candidates. Most of these companies have job offerings that relate to money being handled or increased security clearances.

The general line of thinking is that a person with lots of late payments or considerable debt may pose a greater risk for being disorganized or prone to theft. Many perceive the report to be indicative of a person’s level of responsibility and accountability, but research has suggested otherwise.

A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology by Louisiana State University researchers actually found that people with better credit tend to be more disagreeable and rude, certainly not the hallmarks of a good employee. The same study also found no discernable link between credit history and workplace performance.

If your company is using credit histories as a metric for candidacy, be sure to take them with a grain of salt. They may not describe potential performance whatsoever and should not be the basis for your decision.


…Registered Sex Offender?

This is a topic that understandably makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so the facts are important. There are several different categories of sex offenders under Indiana law and registered individuals carry varying degrees of restrictions that may or may not apply in your industry. Determining the presence of any restrictions should be your first step in making a hiring decision.

For example, state representatives voted unanimously this year to pass new restrictions on where “sexually violent predators” and/or “offenders against children” can work, barring their employment in many caregiver settings. But not all registered offenders on the list fall into these categories. In fact, many are not prohibited from contact with children at all.

Other individuals may be barred from computer and internet use. It varies widely. Conditions of registration, probation, and parole are established on an individual basis.

As to whether or not a registered offender is likely to reoffend, the research is a bit complicated. This is not a homogenous group of offenders, so the data is broad. It’s worth noting, however, that one of the largest studies conducted on this subject by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 3.5 percent of released offenders were reconvicted for a sex crime within three years of their release. Reports have also suggested that registered offenders make good employees because of increased loyalty resulting from the job opportunity.

There’s a lot to consider in this situation – the individual, the nature of the conviction, restrictions, employment history, any potential risk to employees or customers, and more. Simply being a registered sex offender shouldn’t automatically disqualify someone for employment, as long as any restrictions are satisfied.


An Individual Basis

These hiring questions can truly only be answered on a case-by-case basis. Blanket statements to any affect would do a great disservice to excellent employees for your company, despite past issues they may bear. Take stock of the whole person before you make your decision and remember that absolutely no one is perfect.





Sources: Klaas Kids, Indiana DOC, Camden & Meridew P.C., NWI Times, Washington Post, U.S. DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, SHRM, IndyStar, NOLO, Faegre Baker Daniels, WalletHub, CBS

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