What is Second Chance Hiring and Why It Matters in the Present Times of Distress?

What is Second Chance Hiring and why it has emerged as a Trend in the Present Times?

We consider it an axiom that once someone is fired from a job or has done time in prison or otherwise, have a bad or blotted record, then chances of such people finding jobs is difficult and almost impossible.

Indeed, it is drilled into our heads that once you have a blot on your resume, then you can bid goodbye to any chance of being hired in most firms, and especially the top notch ones.

While this is certainly true since corporates are usually conservative when it comes to hiring people, in recent years, a new trend has emerged wherein the so-called Second Chance hiring or the process of giving those with a criminal record or otherwise, a Black Mark on their resumes, another chance at reforming themselves and ensuring that they remain employed.

The vision behind this concept is that everyone deserves a second chance and more so in the present times of distress where Covid has made it harder for all of us to sustain ourselves and our families. Therefore, it is indeed the case that Second Chance hiring matters for all stakeholders.

Some Practicalities and Barriers to Second Chance Hiring and Perils of Utopian Thinking

Having said that, one must also be realistic and not start dreaming Utopian fantasies about reformed criminals and those who have been fired elsewhere or otherwise, have made a mess of their careers to start life afresh with the Second Chance hiring.

After all, corporates exist to make profits and hence, not being charity shows, they have every right not to participate in the process of Second Chance hiring.

Indeed, this is the case with the majority of corporates who believe that Second Chance Hiring is a risky and pointless bet on people who might or might not deserve the Second Chance.

Therefore, many Human Rights activists often point to the practicalities of Second Chance hiring wherein most firms are reluctant to take in those with Blemished Resumes.

The corporates cannot be faulted in this aspect as repeat offenders usually fall back on their old ways and this can cause irreparable harm to their reputations as well as their business sense since law enforcement would blame them for hiring those with criminal backgrounds.

Moreover, given the extensive background checks that corporates conduct, there is also the matter of violating organizational policies by hiring those with criminal records and blemished reputations.

How Corporates Can Go About Second Chance Hiring According to Their Business Needs

On the other hand, the activists usually distinguish between hiring those under Second Chance by categorizing them according to the severity of their misdemeanours.

In other words, what the activists say is that not everyone who has done Jail Time is there because of severe and serious criminal charges and there are many who were either wrongly convicted or sent to jail on flimsy charges.

What this means is that we need to distinguish between Serious Felonies and Ordinary Misdemeanours to ensure Social Justice by giving the latter a Second Chance to reform them.

Of course, there is also the fact that Second Chance Hiring might or might not work as intended and hence, what many in the United States are insisting is that corporates can very well formulate their hiring policies based on their assessment of who can be hired under this paradigm.

Moreover, with the mass incarceration rates at an all time high, there is a fiscal case to be made for Second Chance Hiring since lack of adequate pool of candidates can lead to distortions in the labour market.

Anyway, most prisons in the US often employ the convicts in full time jobs with the corporates themselves.

Why Second Chance Hiring Should be Seen as an Extension of Jobs in Private Prisons

Indeed, the last point is the most important as far as Second Chance hiring goes. It is the fact that there are private prisons in the US where the inmates often work full time in jobs that are agreed upon between the government and the corporates.

This is also a major source of revenue for both the corporates and the governments and hence, it is a natural extension of this trend wherein those released from prison are hired by the same corporates.

This is something that should make sense to all stakeholders and this is where some activists see hope that once released, those with minor charges can go and resume their lives and lead a normal existence.

It is our argument as well that Second Chance hiring as an idea whose time has come should be seriously pursued.

Moreover, with the pandemic increasing joblessness, there has to some sort of relaxation in the rules of hiring as there is the equity and the social justice angles to be considered.

In other words, corporates have to do their bit for social responsibility and Second Chance hiring gives them the right platform for them to actualize the vision of social equity.

Need for Extensive Stakeholder Due Diligence

Last, Second Chance hiring is a concept that is fraught with many perils and hence, we recommend that corporates do their Due Diligence before deciding on hiring those with criminal histories and black marked resumes.

On the other hand, the government has a role to play in this as well by smoothening the process through assistance to both employers and potential employees and getting them together face to face.

To conclude, while there is a humanitarian aspect to Second Chance Hiring, corporates can take the chance or decide to not take chances and this decision should come after extensive discussions.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


Human Resource Management