You Need a Second-Chance Talent Strategy for 2020

jobs for felons

You Need a Second-Chance Talent Strategy for 2020

In the political, criminal justice, and human resources communities using the term, “Felon” is looked down upon. This is for good reason. Imagine being in your 30’s and having everyone still call you a bully because of that one time you were mean to someone in high school. People should be rewarded for making a positive change, not continuously shamed.

But for people with felony convictions, it almost a necessity to use the term “Felon”. Nine times out of ten when you ask a hiring manager “Do you hire people with prior criminal histories?” or “Do you hire formerly incarcerated job candidates?”, they will reply with “We evaluate them on a case by case bases” or “It depends. Is it a felony?”.

People with felony convictions know that most companies will not give them a chance. They’ve learned that being rejected fast and often is the quickest path to finding the one employer who will say yes.

Going from Prison to Positive Impact

I dealt with this problem for years after serving 14-months in prison for crimes I committed when I was 18 years old. Since the day I was released from prison I stayed sober, worked full-time and when to college. Nothing I did really seemed to make a difference as far as hiring managers were concerned. A felony was just something they had to stay away from. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a business degree and honors, I interviewed with three dozen fortune 500 companies and didn’t receive a single job offer.

Several months after graduation I was offered a job with Owens Corning as a Production Coordinator and was promoted to Supervisor within a year. Although I was making good money and had overcome my past, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I’m a white male with a good education and a support system and it was THAT hard for me to find a job. I couldn’t imagine what it was like for most people affected by our justice system.

This is when I decided to leave the job that I worked so hard to earn (with a two weeks notice of course).

I set out to create a better job hunting experience for formerly incarcerated job candidates. A job site catered to this massive and overlooked talent pool that makes up nearly 30% of the workforce.

Pairing my personal experience with the skills I learned in Business School, I knew that I had to create a product/service for hiring managers. Something that helps solve a real problem employers are having. Something that was valuable.

I’m excited to tell you that nearly two years later my business ( is thriving and my message of positivity around second-chance employment is spreading with over 200 companies using platform nationwide.

Here’s why:

  • We’re passionate about rebuilding lives and making communities safer through employment
  • It’s free for Job Seekers and Employers to use
  • Roughly 15% of employers opt into a premium paid plan (thanks for the support!)
  • Second-chance candidates are eager, loyal, and hard-working
  • Society for Human Resource Management is backing second-chance employment (G.T.B.W.)
  • We find you job candidates whose criminal histories do not conflict with the job duties using a tool we created called PassCheck (see below)

PassCheck | A Case-by-Case Solution

When you create a business account with you will be asked to fill out the form below. Our custom algorithm takes the information you provide us and shows job seekers how likely their specific criminal history is to conflict with the job duties. This means you get applications from people you can hire and Job Seekers can save time by applying for jobs that their criminal histories don’t conflict with. It’s a win-win.

What PassCheck looks like to Job Seekers

The red-to-green sliding scale helps Job Seekers know which jobs are best for them to apply for. This also mitigates a lot of the financial risk for employers by saving your hiring managers hours of interviewing candidates that they could not hire.

Want to Try Our Service? 

The process is very simple and can easily be done in 15-minutes using this link: Try Our Service!

If you’d like to do a 3, 6, or 12 month pilot of our service, please call or email me directly (contact info below).

Next time someone asks, “Are You a Second-Chance Employer?”, you can say, “Yes, We use HonestJobs!”


Contact Info and Two of My Talks

Harley Blakeman | Founder and CEO

(614) 900-5447

Connect with me on LinkedIn

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I Suck At Passing Background Checks | Harley Blakeman | DisruptHR Talks