Are you in a position where you are considering hiring a felon? I know we all hear the word felon and immediately think that a felon is an untrustworthy, bad person. Well I am here to clear the air on some of the bad stereotypes surrounding “felons” and how you can help them get back on their feet.
While there are many completely understandable reasons to be weary when hiring a felon, I would encourage you to treat a felon as a non felon when going through the hiring process. Felons know that you, the employer, will see that they have a criminal background. You do not have to remind them of this, because trust me they know.
There are plenty of reasons why a person could be a convicted felon and most crimes people are convicted for are not dangerous at all. Some people even get arrested and convicted because of their race or nationality. Some people also have past convictions for things that are not even illegal anymore.
There are certain guidelines you need to take in the process of hiring a felon and we will go into detail about that later.
The greatest part about helping someone just trying to get back on their feet is that you get tax credit. Yes that’s right. For hiring a felon you will catch a break.
Now that is not to say go out there and hire every felon you can. There is even an entire website to help felons find jobs, https://jobsforfelonsnow.com. Be on the right side of helping someone change their life for the better.
I mean why not? I am about to give you all of the steps!
What Are the Steps?
Hiring a felon is a process but it is not much different from hiring a non felon. So let me give you all of the steps all in one place.
It may be difficult for some felons to locate certain jobs. There are of course job boards online but many are not free. If you are fresh out of prison you definitely do not have any money to put into a job board subscription.
I have mentioned earlier that there is one website that is specifically designed for helping felons find jobs and that is https://jobsforfelonsnow.com. Unfortunately many people do not know about this amazing website. Take it upon yourself to educate others about the website and the good that it does.
I would also encourage you to get out there and find places with programs that help felons. Find out how you can help as an employer, give your time and help those in need.
Recruit people, especially if they are qualified! Many felons are actually more qualified in the field you are hiring for than some of your employees. It is a very simple step to take and it could change someones life for the better.
Plan It Out and The Selection Process
With any type of perspective hiree you should plan out the hiring process. In the beginning it is important that you highlight the specific qualifications and skills you are looking for directly to the prospective employee.
A lot of felons spend time in prison learning new skills. Skills that will be useful to them when they are able to leave prison and become a member of society again. So 9 times out of 10 the felon you are looking to hire has a very reputable skill set.
You, the employer, need to keep a few questions in mind without judging them on their past of being a felon. You would need to ask yourself surface level questions. The same questions you would ask yourself when looking to hire a non felon
Can they work well with others? Does their skill set meet the job criteria? Will they work hard or slack off? Will they be punctual? Are they the most qualified for the position? I say surface level questions because the questions you ask yourself must be non biased.
You can not discriminate against someone for their past, unless of course their felony offense disqualifies them from the job but that would have already happened before they would have applied. For example a felon that was involved in a hit and run accident would not be allowed to work as a truck driver.
It may be possible that the prospective employees qualifications or skills do not match the job description. That does happen and that is a perfectly fine reason to not hire. This is non biased because if a non felon applied and did not have the qualifications or any type of similar skill set, you would not hire them either.
The most important thing to remember here, as I have mentioned before, is that you can not discriminate because of a prospective employee’s criminal background.
Every prospective employee must go through a background check, felon or non felon. For a felon the background check process is a little bit more in depth. Again there will be some questions that you need to ask yourself.
When were they convicted? Is it something that happened 10 years ago or is it something that happened 1 year ago?
There is a huge difference between something that happened a year ago and something that happened 10 years ago. This is especially true if it has been 10 years and no other crimes have been committed since that time.
Is the conviction related to the job? This one is just common sense. Was the person convicted of a financial crime? Well, you probably will not be putting them in charge of handling money. However, the felon could be hired for a non money handling job.
Did the prospective employee have a chance to explain themselves? It is important to be fair and listen to the felons side of the story. There are always two sides to a story and you should never judge someone without hearing their side first.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The equal employment opportunity commission is a commission that reminds all employers to practice certain guidelines while looking to hire a felon.
One of the guidelines I mentioned earlier, is to consider the length of time between when they are looking to be hired and when their conviction was.
Another guideline is to find out the circumstances of the offense. Obviously a murder conviction is a lot different from a fraud conviction.
The relation of the conviction and the job position is another important guideline. I mentioned this one earlier as well when I talked about felons convicted of a financial crime.
Another example would be if a person was arrested for animal cruelty you would definitely not hire them to work at an animal shelter.
The most important guideline is to look at what type of actions the felon has taken since the conviction to fix his or her mistake(s). Everyone deserves a second chance and everybody deserves the equal opportunity to right their wrongs.
Knowing about all of this information is essential, especially if the felon you are looking to hire is the most qualified for the job.
The moment you have been waiting for! Yes, you will get a tax credit for hiring a felon. This is made possible by The Work Opportunity Commission.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a program that began in 1966. It was started by the Small Business Job Protection Act.
How does it work you ask? If a felon has been convicted or released within a year of being hired, they are eligible to be hired with the WOTC.
It is not limited to just one felon per company either. You can hire as many felons as needed.
That is not to say go out and hire every felon you see just to get a tax break. However, if they are the most qualified for the job then go for it.
For every felon hired under the WOTC you could receive up to $2,400 for a 2 year period. The tax credit you receive also depends on how many hours the felon works.
Should You Hire a Felon?
You should always be open to giving someone a second chance at a better life. Please consider hiring a felon, especially if this prospective employee is highly qualified and a perfect fit for the job.
It does take a bit of extra work and consideration but it is pretty much the same process you go through when hiring a non felon.
If you are still concerned and feel like you need more information, I would recommend checking out https://jobsforfelonsnow.com. I would seriously take a look at this website if you are looking to hire for a specific job like truck driving, security guard, etc.
Always keep in mind you could be the reason someone’s life turns around for the better.