10/30/2019 Molly Moseley

Breaking down barriers to employment

As an employer, you want to find the best candidate for the job. However, in the current competitive job market, it can be difficult to find the star in what seems to be a limited talent pool. If you feel like you’re treading stagnant water, have you ever wondered if your pool is simply too restrictive? Or just maybe, there’s something holding a candidate back from even entering the water?

Of course a candidate needs to have the necessary skills to excel in the position, but maybe it’s time to look more closely at your hiring policies to help broaden applicant potential so your pool becomes much bigger. Here are three common barriers you might consider tackling to facilitate more candidates and better hires.

Criminal convictions

As many as one in three adults has a criminal record of some kind. For those with convictions, it can come at the cost of a potential job. While there are certainly instances when a specific crime should eliminate a candidate from a specific job, general policies to not hire someone with a conviction even if unrelated to the position are often too restrictive.

The Ban the Box campaign is a movement that is meant to remove the checkbox on applications that ask about convictions. Over 45 cities and counties, including New York City, Boston and Chicago have removed the question regarding conviction history from their employment applications.

Even if your company isn’t in these locations, consider how your conviction restrictions could be impacting hiring and consider updates. JP Morgan Chase is an example of a company that did just that, whose “second chance hiring program” means the company doesn’t ask about criminal records on the job application.

Transportation

If you can’t get to work, you can’t hold down a job. If you can’t get to an interview, you can’t get a job in the first place. Whether it’s struggles with public transportation in a big city or lack of transportation from a remote location, getting to work is a major barrier for many otherwise employable professionals.

Lyft is looking to change this for people across the country. The ride-share company recently announced a Jobs Access Program that offers free rides to job training programs, interviews and the first three weeks of a new job to help get an employee to their first paycheck when they can start to pay for transportation themselves.

When scheduling interviews with employees, you may want to provide information about this new program. It could help reduce the number of no-shows and last-minute cancellations, plus facilitate someone getting to their job when it starts.

Education

Yes a doctor needs a medical license, a lawyer needs to have passed the bar exam and there are numerous tech jobs that require certifications. Some education is necessary depending on the position, but the requirement to have a college degree or you need not apply is dated and shortsighted.

Many companies still require a college degree. The ironic part is the degree often doesn’t need to be directly related to the job. They just want the certificate. That’s a bunch of BS!

Is it time for your company to move a college degree from the must-have section to the nice-to-have-but-not-required section of a job description? Your candidate pool may blossom and you might be surprised which highly qualified people turn up, sans degree but with great experience and knowledge. Google, Hilton and Bank of America are just a few companies that have nixed the degree requirement. Will you join them?

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