Part One: Engaging Employers
Introduction: The Regis Spring student team included Courtney Bargas, Claire Swann and Kate Milburn. After listening to presentations by several local-area non-profits, the three selected Community Educational Outreach for their term project. The objective of their project included coming to CEO to participate in practice interviews at the men’s facility, then assume the role of a CEO client, placing themselves in an interview position, and finally participating in a segment of academic post testing. The following is extracted from the Regis final project report:
It was agreed between staff and students that the team would research information pertinent to CEO clients in their pursuit of employment and then formulate a client “tip sheet”. Second, the team would canvass potential employers in the Denver area and conduct in-person surveys with manager and hiring personnel to gather information relating to attitudes towards hiring former felons.
Going into the interview process, we were not sure what to expect. We were unsure how employers would react to hiring someone with a criminal history, but expected to hear mostly negative reactions especially from larger, more well known companies such as Starbucks. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the employers we spoke with were much more open minded to the idea of hiring ex-convicts. Upon speaking with employers from a variety of different sectors, we discovered that many businesses believe in giving second chances and recognize that everyone makes mistakes. We conducted our interviews along the Federal Corridor near Regis, as well as the industrial warehouse district just off Pecos and I-70.
We started our research at (a large national fast food chain), where the hiring manager we spoke with got us started on a positive note. He told us that the ex-felons he has had experience with hiring are, “some of the best and most hard-working employees,” he has had. In his experience, the ex-felons he has hired seem to show a stronger work ethic than many other applicant pools he has come across, including high school students. He felt that their strong desire to make a change in their lives means that they are usually more committed than other applicants, such as high school students that just come in looking to make some easy money to spend on clothes or partying and leave after they get their first paycheck. Timeliness and willingness to work hard are the most important factors that the hiring manager takes into consideration when judging whether an applicant will be a good employee. When asked how much detail he would want regarding the criminal background of an applicant, he stated that if they are honest and willing to admit to a felony upfront, they wouldn’t be asked for extensive information. Tattoos and piercings are not a concern; however, arriving on time and for every shift is most important to him.