Understanding fair and ‘fair chance’ hiring

fair and fair chance hiring
Posted on 08 May 2024 In Recruitment

In the world of work, how we choose our team matters. Fair and fair chance hiring are gaining attention for a good reason. They’re about giving everyone a fair opportunity, ensuring your hiring process is clear of bias, and creating an even playing field so every candidate has a real shot at success.

These approaches aren’t just about being kind; they’re smart business. Opening doors to people with diverse backgrounds brings fresh skills and ideas into your workplace. For businesses looking to lead, getting to grips with fair and fair chance hiring is key. This is how we start – by understanding that fair hiring is more than a policy; it’s a chance to bring out the best in everyone.

What is fair chance hiring?

Fair chance hiring is all about giving everyone, no matter their past, an equal shot at job opportunities. This approach is crucial for creating a workplace that reflects the diverse world we live in. It especially focuses on individuals who have faced legal issues in the past, ensuring they’re not left out of the job market just because of their history. The idea here is simple but powerful: judge a candidate by their skills and how they present themselves today, not by mistakes they’ve made in the past.

What is the difference between fair hiring and fair chance hiring?

At first glance the terms ‘fair hiring’ and ‘fair chance hiring’ may seem interchangeable. 

However, they address different aspects of fairness in their promotion of equality in the recruitment process.

Fair hiring encompasses a broad approach, ensuring that the recruitment process is free from biases related to age, gender, ethnicity, or any other personal characteristics. This could include, for instance, anonymising hiring processes so that hiring decisions are purely skills-based.

On the other hand, fair chance hiring narrows the focus a bit, specifically targeting the inclusion of individuals with criminal records. It challenges employers to look beyond an applicant’s past legal issues, considering their current skills and potential contribution to the workplace instead. While fair hiring is about removing all forms of discrimination—for example, the unfair treatment often faced by trans women in the job market—fair chance hiring specifically addresses the stigma attached to past convictions. It advocates for a non-prejudicial evaluation of a candidate’s professional capabilities.

What are the benefits of fair chance hiring?

The advantages of fair chance hiring stretch far and wide. For employers, it means access to a larger pool of talented individuals hungry for a chance to prove themselves. Society wins too, as employment is one of the most effective ways to reduce reoffending. By fostering a culture of second chances, businesses can play a significant part in turning lives around, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable community.

The legal landscape of fair chance hiring

According to the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), screening employees is “nearly universal” among U.S. employers, with criminal background checks being the most common type at 94%. This statistic underlines the importance of fair chance hiring principles in ensuring that these checks do not become barriers to employment for those with past convictions.

The movement towards fair chance hiring has gained significant legal backing through “Ban the Box” initiatives. These laws, now adopted in various forms across many states, aim to remove the checkbox that asks about criminal history from job application forms. This small change has a big impact, allowing candidates to be judged first on their qualifications rather than their criminal records.

These initiatives highlight a growing recognition that access to employment should be fair and unprejudiced. Legislation supporting fair chance hiring practices sends a strong message: everyone deserves a chance to work towards a better future. States that have embraced these laws are making a stand for individual rights and also paving the way for businesses to benefit from a broader range of experiences and perspectives.

Such laws encourage companies to take a closer look at their hiring practices, ensuring they’re not just lawful but also truly fair.

Examples of fair chance hiring practices

Fair chance hiring practices include creating job advertisements that focus on the skills and experiences relevant to the role, rather than personal backgrounds. Another good practice is training for hiring managers on the importance of evaluating candidates based on their abilities and potential, instead of their past. Additionally, implementing a standardised interview process that uses the same set of job-related questions for all candidates ensures a level playing field. Adopting a policy of conducting background checks only after a conditional offer has been made also aligns with fair chance hiring. This means all applicants are assessed fairly based on their qualifications for the job first and foremost.

Unfair hiring practices you should avoid as employer

Understanding what constitutes unfair hiring practices is crucial in fostering a fair and inclusive recruitment environment. Unfair hiring practices include any form of discrimination or bias against candidates based on non-job-related factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, or history of convictions. These practices not only limit the diversity within your team but also restrict access to a broader range of talents and experiences.

Unfair hiring practices examples

Examples of unfair practices include discriminatory job ads and bias in interviews or selection processes. Misusing background checks to exclude candidates based on irrelevant past actions can also fall into this category. These approaches limit access to a broad talent pool and can lead to legal challenges and reputational damage. Adopting fair and fair chance hiring not only meets standards for regulatory compliance, it also brings a competitive edge by opening your business to a wider array of skills and experiences.

Final thoughts on embracing fairness in hiring

Embracing fair hiring and fair chance hiring is vital for crafting a job market that’s both just and rich in opportunities for everyone. By prioritising these approaches, employers not only meet legal standards but also open the doors to a wider, more diverse talent pool. This diversity is the key to innovation and growth, offering fresh perspectives that can propel your business forward. It’s time for direct employers to assess and refine their recruitment strategies, ensuring they provide every candidate with a fair chance based on merit and potential.

Unlock the potential of your fair recruitment strategy with Broadbean

Making your hiring process more inclusive is a step towards not only compliance but also a stronger, more diverse team. Broadbean’s solutions for direct employers are designed to streamline and enhance your recruitment efforts, ensuring fairness and compliance every step of the way. From reaching a wider audience to simplifying the application process, Broadbean’s technology makes it easier to adopt fair chance hiring practices. Request a demo of Broadbean’s solutions today and take a significant step towards a more inclusive and equitable recruitment strategy.

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