The Ban the Box campaign is focused on reducing workplace discrimination by eliminating the criminal history check-off box from employment applications.
Regardless of outcome, here are three under-appreciated benefits all ex-offender job seekers get from pursuing positions falling under Ban the Box.
- No reason to lie
- A chance to practice
- An opportunity to Deliver The Mail ©
Even though over 90% of employers do background checks (and as a practical matter, ALL impacted by Ban the Box) some individuals still misrepresent their past on applications. This is counter-productive in more ways than you might think and can have repercussions extending far beyond any specific job possibility. I get into the subtleties of this type of train wreck in Get Beyond Your Troubled Past.
Job seekers at every level need practice in navigating the onboarding process. And ex-offenders, especially those that have been off the market for any length of time, REALLY need it. Going past the application stage provides opportunities to practice IN REAL TIME. Every “failure” can be remixed as successful practice. In most cases, it takes getting to the interview stage (actual and not screening) at least three times before there’s success.
Having “the discussion” about your background problem is what I refer to as “Delivering The Mail.” It’s a serious blend of strategy and tactics and it is NEVER done off-the-cuff. Ban the Box can set the table for your Delivery. But again, this is sober stuff and must be prepared for if not outright orchestrated. The good news is you know it’s coming and when.
I suspect some ex-offenders will see Ban the Box as some form of entitlement verses what it really is, another Marketplace situation that must be sliced, diced, and dissected. As a background-challenged job seeker your objective is always the same:
... to move each opportunity to the next step in the process.