All of us assisting background-challenged job seekers must decide where we stand on the subject of: “companies that hire felons.” Not infrequently it comes at us from a challenged seeker looking for a silver bullet.
“Hey, you got a list of ‘companies that hire felons?’ Give it to me so I can start shooting off resumes.”
Or something along these lines.
There are organizations that generally fit into this category but it’s hardly so cut-n-dried. I’ll tackle this in another post. In the meantime, here’s my response.
“No, I don’t walk around with a list in my back pocket and here are five reasons why I think charging down this road needs a bit more consideration.”
1. Companies don’t hire anyone. People at companies hire. One way or another, you need to appeal to people and not some vague notion of “company.” Make no mistake, you will be judged and evaluated by other people. Plan for it.
2. What’s being hired? Surely not the fact that you have a felony. No. What’s being hired is the service you will provide to the organization. Service (what you can do) is the basis for your relationship with any employer. Start there and keep it there.
3. Searching for “companies that hire felons” is a version of what I call the “me too approach,” where a job lead is created by someone else and you tag along as if what’s right for them is also right for you. It doesn’t work well because sooner rather than later, the dew will come off the rose.
4. It’s reactive. The reason (perhaps the only reason) you’re applying is because the organization reportedly hires felons. You hear this and you react. You didn’t seek them out. You didn’t make the first move by introducing yourself. You’re drifting, hoping to come ashore on a nice sandy beach.
5. You should have an objective, a Job Search Objective. If the available position with the company that “hires felons” fits your Objective. Great. If not, why are you pursuing it? A Job Search Objective is essential for any job searcher. It’s absolutely critical for those with background problems.
So think about it. If a company indeed hires felons, there’s a reason for it. There has to be a reason because presumably there’s a candidate just as qualified, skilled, and educated as you, but without the background snag. If so, why hire you over the other candidate?
They won’t … unless you make it personal. Searching for “companies that hire felons” is not making it personal. And by personal I mean seeing the process as something that happens between you and another person and not between you and an organization. There are ways to successfully do this but a perspective shift to “making it personal” is required.
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The push to reform the criminal justice system will result in many re-entering ex-offenders. Each and every one can make their transition more effective if they start by shifting their perspective. If you know someone or are tasked with assisting someone re-entering the workforce, help them make this shift.
The subtitle of my book sums it up.
You’re Not Looking For A Job, You’re Looking For A Person. ©