You’ll have doubtless heard (that means you probably haven’t) the radio adverts from the insurers who are prepared ‘not to judge’ and are willing to provide cover for those who have done something they shouldn’t have.
There are, literally, millions of people in this country with a criminal record. In fact, it’s reckoned that over 20% of the workforce falls into this category. That’s a lot of people who you might, automatically and unthinkingly, avoid interviewing.
It is understandable that employers might be reluctant to even consider someone they believe is a ‘criminal’. There are even a few firms with a blanket policy of not hiring such individuals. On the other hand, there are more far-sighted companies who actively welcome those with a chequered past, notably Timpson’s, those nice people who provide us with shoe repairs, batteries and lots of other things like dog tags, house name plaques, etc. Timpson has taken on around 400 ex-prisoners and only nine of them have reverted to a life of crime. Given the costs of keeping someone in prison, that’s a huge benefit to society and a massive saving to the public purse. Equally importantly, it has brought a chance of a normal life to hundreds of people who might otherwise have ended up back in prison.
That said, employers are still reluctant to take on those with ‘a past’. They should be more open and prepared to treat people on a case-by-case basis. There is a lot of good advice and assistance available. This guide by NACRO (the National Association for the Care and Re-settlement of Offenders) is excellent. In our opinion, SACRO, the Scottish equivalent of NACRO has an inferior online resource. Instead, if you’re looking for advice on recruiting those with a criminal record in Scotland we suggest you look at the Apex Scotland website. Apex Scotland is a specialist organisation. Apex works with ex-offenders to help them into employment and runs courses to change their ways.
From Nine Twenty’s perspective as a recruitment company, we believe each person should be treated on their individual merits. There are a great many people in the marketplace with a ‘record’ and we ignore their potential at our peril.