The Body Shop made headlines when it announced its new open hiring policy for its warehouses. Instead of a traditional pre-employment screening and hiring process, The Body Shop will only ask candidates three questions.
In this new hiring process, there are no background checks or drug tests; it’s simply first-come, first-serve. While many assume The Body Shop is simply aiming to reduce time to hire with this new hiring process, we believe they’re trying to reiterate the importance of providing candidates with equal opportunities and promoting inclusivity when hiring. But, here’s the thing: you don’t have to compromise workplace safety by not screening to promote inclusivity. Here’s how you can prevent negligent hires and conduct background screens while promoting inclusivity in your hiring process.
First off, let’s start with relevance. When we talk “screening,” we often zero in on criminal background checks. It’s so important to remember that background screening covers a variety of checks, including housing checks, education verifications, drug tests, reference checks, and much more! Each open position will require some combination of these screens. When you open a position, take time to consider which background checks are relevant to the open position your candidate is applying for.
When considering which background screens to run, don’t forget the local laws. The Body Shop mentioned that a big reason they enacted their method was because they didn’t want people with criminal records to have a barrier to employment—providing equal opportunity, we love it! However, you can still provide workplace safety and promote inclusivity when hiring. Screening legislations, such as ban-the-box, are promoting both workplace protection and equal opportunities for candidates.
Though the legislation varies across states, the general idea is that ban-the-box eliminates the criminal history box, making it illegal for companies to ask about criminal history and/or reject a candidate based solely on their criminal history. Maryland just became the 13th state to enact ban-the-box legislation for private employers, but more than 30 states have ban-the-box policies that apply to government employers. Ban-the-box legislations have opened the door for greater opportunities for candidates while still promoting safety in workplaces today.
If you’re not in a ban-the-box legislated city or state, you can still offer equal job opportunities by using adjudication matrices. Adjudication matrices can help keep your hiring decisions quick and less biased. When you use adjudication matrices, your screening provider will still provide you with the criminal history information of your candidate, but they will also apply the criteria of the matrix to reduce the number of background checks you have to sort through; the matrix you provide your provider will place the ‘undesired’ records in an approved pile for you.
For example, if you’re hiring for a sales associate position and your candidate had a criminal record for a DUI, that wouldn’t really be relevant to the sales position; thus, you wouldn’t need to know and could make that note on your adjudication matrix. But, a history of theft would be very relevant. Adjudication matrices are a strong way to avoid unconscious bias while still providing you with candidate information relevant to the open job position.
Still not sold on how you can screen your candidates while promoting inclusivity when hiring? Consider your hiring process itself! Conduct pre-employment screens accordingly, but also make sure your hiring process is objective. Objective hiring is a great way to remove barriers for groups that are often susceptible to biased hiring practices, allowing you to focus on what matters most: their qualifications. Not only does objective hiring increase a company’s innovation and revenue, but it ultimately delivers more quality hires by diversifying your workforce. Consider including objective hiring practices into your hiring process such as:
The Body Shop is choosing to bypass background checks, but that choice comes with a certain amount of risk. According to SHRM, 85% of employers have found out that a candidate lied or stretched the truth on their resume or job application, and get this: that number appears to be increasing. Background checks are the easiest way to verify candidates’ information and make sure that they’re safe, reliable, and trustworthy candidates.
Forbes stated that “...it only seems fair and reasonable to gain some color regarding the applicant’s circumstances. Since the person will be working closely with others, management should at least conduct some due diligence to ensure the safety of all employees.”
Remember: You can protect your workplace while providing inclusive opportunities to candidates and prospective employees.