Would You Hire Someone with a Criminal Record?

June 1st, 2012 by Michael Page

Would You Hire Someone with a Criminal Record?

April 25th 2012 saw a shocking announcement that will affect the careers of millions of workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new Enforcement Guidance on criminal background checks. Despite heavy concerns from the Chamber of Commerce and background check industry professionals, the new guidance was passed in a 4-1 vote by Commissioners. The Guidance states: “Under Title VII of our civil rights laws, employers may not deny employment based on a conviction except when the offense is job related.” Supporters of the ruling feel that employers can protect their business interests and safety on the job, whereas qualified workers with minor convictions can have a fair shot at a job opportunity.

According to a case study by the National Employment Law Project, over 65 million American adults carry an arrest or conviction on their record. 90% percent of companies have reported using criminal background checks for hiring decisions, some even specify on the job description,”You must not have any felony or misdemeanor convictions on your record. Period.”

Therefore, these 65 million people could possibly be under the same impression, that they “need not apply,” only 10% of them may be considered for employment!

For years background checks have played a vital role in determining safety and security for all employees in a workplace. Some studies are debating whether or not barring people with a record is compromising public safety, as hiring these people into stable employment actually reduces crime rates.

According to the EEOC Title VII, “The EEOC enforces Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Having a criminal record is not listed as a protected basis in Title VII. Title VII liability for employment discrimination is determined using two analytic frameworks: “disparate treatment” and “disparate impact.” Disparate treatment is discussed in Section IV and disparate impact is discussed in Section V.”

The Guidance outlined three ‘Green factors’ for employers to base their hiring decisions of prospect employees with a criminal record on, these are:
• The nature or gravity of the offense or conduct
• The time elapsed since the offense, conviction; and/or completion of the sentence
• The nature of the job sought or held.

Follow best practices for employers to ensure your organization does not violate this new Guidance:

• Eliminate policies or practices that exclude candidates from employment based on a criminal record
• Train managers, HR staff and decision makers on Title VII and its prohibition on employment discrimination
• Develop new tailored policies and procedures for screening applicants for criminal conduct
• Identify job requirements and actual circumstances under which jobs are performed
• Determine the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing such jobs
• Identify criminal offenses based on all evidence
• Determine the duration of exclusions for criminal conduct based on evidence
• Include an individualized assessment
• Record all consultations, procedures and justification

With or without a background check, you can still analyze a candidates work-related values. The Step One Survey II® is a brief pre-employment assessment that measures an individual’s basic work-related values. We closely examine: employment history, integrity, personal reliability, and work ethic. This pre-employment assessment is used primarily as a screening tool early in the candidate selection process.

Since the new ruling has been passed, there has been much debate and conversation on this controversial topic. What do you think? Should employers be allowed to deny employment to anyone with a criminal record? Or, do you agree that it is hurting our economy with so many capable people on un-employment?

Reducing turnover with Step One Survey II

How the SOS II dropped turnover at three organizations

Three organizations faced unchecked turnover that affected entire workforces. Open positions in these organizations required other workers to carry more of the load; some workers shut down or quit from the stress. Customer service was affected, as workers’ ability to process orders decreased and newly hired workers were pressed into service with minimum training.

Here is a look at how leaders realized a significant drop in turnover after using Profiles Step One Survey II®:

Case study 1: A commercial janitorial service with high-profile clients like banks and other commercial buildings saw staffing requirements grow with its success. The problem was both a blessing and a curse. The service needed more workers, but finding the right workers who would not be out the door after a short period of time was a challenge.

Supervisors turned to Profiles’ SOS II assessment as a pre-screening instrument. After 18 months, the service’s staffing level had increased by 4 percent. Simultaneously, the number of assessments required to screen new hires dropped by 67 percent.

Reason for the assessment decrease: Reduced turnover, leading to fewer job interviews and a decreasing need for pumping in new hires to maintain staffing levels.

Result for the organization: Employee retention, resulting in better training.

Benefits for the organization’s customers: Quality work provided by reliable employees.

Case study 2: A small professional staffing agency needed quality workers for medical and dental office placements. Its challenge was a 17 percent worker failure rate, which was damaging to its reputation and daunting to the budget, as hiring costs spiraled.

Leaders turned to SOS II and monitored its effects. After four months of screening applicants with the assessment, it noted that worker failures were reduced to 6 percent.

Benefit of using the assessment: An estimated $198,000 savings, using the cost of $3,000 for each worker (66) who did not fail. Cost of using SOS II, including staff time to administer and score the assessment: $12,000 a year.

Case study 3: A manufacturer realized explosive growth in demand for its products. It was already using SOS II, but it needed more people immediately, so it relaxed its hiring criteria. The problem was a common one – reduced supervision in the face of great success.

Before loosening its hiring criteria, the manufacturer started using SOS II when it noted that 51 percent of its workers failed to complete even six calendar months of employment with the company. After using the assessment and deciding not to hire candidates who scored a 3 or less, leaders reduced turnover to 29 percent – even when hiring 53 percent of all candidates.

Then, hiring standards relaxed as the manufacturer needed more employees. Hiring managers looked at what was happening, and decided to add a professional recruiter to the HR staff. As 78 percent of applicants were hired, the six-month failure rate grew to 49 percent. After the recruiter came in, 174 applicants were hired and 76 failed the six-month test – a failure rate of 44 percent, while the percentage of applicants hired dropped only by 2.

After the recruiter had been on the job only a month, turnover dropped. Only 38 percent of the people she hired left early; meanwhile, the percentage of applicants she hired went up to 81.

Result of using the assessment: The data spanned three years and several methods of operating, including a large drop in turnover after the organization started using SOS II and before it relaxed hiring standards. Even though turnover increased in the face of looser hiring standards, three years of data in different hiring situations show a consistent relationship between systematic use of SOS II scores and successful hiring.


The assessment is scientifically designed to evaluate, early in the candidate-selection process, a job applicant’s work-related attitudes in four areas: integrity, substance abuse, reliability, and work ethic. SOS II gives managers a structured, objective system to obtain better information, identify the best candidates, and conduct better interviews. Further, it helps organizations reduce hiring risk in a rapid yet careful and cost-effective manner.

Answers to SOS II questions can reveal how a prospective candidate looks at such behaviors as unauthorized use of the Internet; using company email for personal communications; disclosing private computer data; theft of office supplies and other company property; clocking in or out for other employees; discussing confidential information and/or trade secrets to outsiders; shoplifting or inventory shrinkage; carelessness on the job; unexcused absences; tardiness; drug use; mediocre performance; fraud; and job-hopping.

Conversely, it encourages “an honest day’s work for a full day’s pay” by modeling, through its questions, the positive employee behaviors of promptness, confidentiality, employee loyalty and increased productivity.

Reports from the assessment go to the hiring manager, who sees a score based on the applicant’s responses to the four questions about integrity, substance abuse, reliability and work ethic. The report provides the managers with suggested interview questions to clarify areas of concern.

SOS II takes an applicant about 20 minutes to complete. He or she can finish it online or by using pencil and paper. Managers are able to see the scored results immediately, which means the SOS II can be easily incorporated into the hiring process.


Says one leader: “Step One Survey II® ensures that all our managers are following the same hiring procedure. I like the fact that the questions are provided in a specific format. We also found that using this tool is a much better judge of honesty or integrity than when our managers rely on gut instinct.”

From the general manager of the janitorial service described above: “Thanks for all your help in our hiring process. It has made a tremendous difference in quality, reliability and customer satisfaction. We have received numerous comments from customers regarding the quality of individuals we hire for their sites.”

Step One Survey II®

The Step One Survey II® is a brief pre-employment assessment that measures an individual’s basic work-related values. Work-related values that we closely examine in our Step One Survey II® include: employee background, employment history, integrity, personal reliability, and work ethic. This pre-employment assessment is used primarily as a screening tool early in the candidate selection process.


This assessment helps organizations reduce hiring risk in a quick and cost-effective manner by evaluating various work-related values including, but not limited to, personal integrity, reliability, and work ethic.


• Personal integrity
• Propensity for substance abuse
• Reliability
• Work ethic
• Attitudes toward theft
• Employee background
• Employee history

Types & Uses of Reports

Quick Check Report- Useful to the manager

Provides a score based on the applicant’s responses to questions about integrity, substance abuse, reliability, and work ethic.

Interviewing Report – Useful to the hiring manager

Provides the manager with the applicant’s responses, and also provides suggested interview questions to clarify areas of concern.

Click Here to learn more about the Step One Survey II®

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