Monthly Archives: March 2017

Employer Guidance for Recruiting People with Convictions

The first principle of Recruit With Conviction is to select the right person for the job regardless of unrelated criminal convictions.

We recognise the importance of flexibility for employers to take up recruit with conviction. For some employers the first principle sets out a clear message that recruiters are empowered and authorised to select a candidate with convictions. Sometimes, employers seek additional social outcomes for their communities and having a criminal record may be part of being the right person.

Recruit With Conviction supports employers to move with the pace and ambition which is right for them. The approach can be discreet or it can be public but it should be underlined by a commitment to be fair to applicants with convictions.

Trapping people into poverty after they have served their sentence has created long term inter-generational sojial justice problems in our poorest communities. There is untapped potential among people with convictions, which is left untapped by widespread poor recruitment practices. This is an opportunity for employers which use Recruit With Conviction guidance.

Supporting your Workforce

Recruit With Conviction workshops are carefully provided in order to inform your workforce about safe and sustainable employment of people with convictions and allows employees to:

  • unpick myths and misconceptions about criminal histories,
  • consider connections with diversity and inclusion,
  • broadly understand the legal framework: Balancing the responsibilities of protection with the protection of rights
  • understand how disclosure of convictions affects applicants and recruiters

This can be tailored to your own recruitment or provided as a cross organisational workshop.

Supporting your Applicants

Apply With Conviction is an ongoing 5-year action research programme working with Jobcentre plus staff, careers advisers and wider employability staff to enable them to improve their support to job applicants with convictions by using an Apply With Conviction model.

Disclosure of convictions unearths complex human behaviours, including anxiety and avoidance behaviours. The main outcome is that advisers are better equipped with the following information:

  • The rights and responsibilities of applicants with convictions
  • Why, when and how to honestly disclose criminal convictions to employers

Some employers also provide direct support to applicants with convictions and this ranges from implementation of clear and fair guidance through to providing a service to applicants to help them to disclose convictions.

Banning the Box

Recruit With Conviction has worked closely with Business in the Community and other partners in the development and direction of Ban the Box UK. Removing tick-box processes from criminal record disclosure is an important element of inclusion and diversity because so many people with convictions de-select themselves as soon as they see the disclosure question.

Relevance and risk

Most convictions are not directly relevant to most workplaces so and risk assessments must fit in with any risk processes that you operate in your business. Relying on criminal history information on applicants is not a safe risk tool if it is used in isolation. It is best to speak to directly to the applicant about any concerns and find out what has changed in their lives. If you still have concerns about an applicant’s criminal history, then ask them if you can speak to their social worker or another justice professional. Also, work in partnership with a local prison, a local authority or an employment support providers because they can advise you.


The starting point on confidentiality is “who needs to know”, however it is more complex than this. Sometimes convictions have no relevance to anybody else in the workplace but sometimes they do. This most important factor is to be honest with the applicant about who will be told and who won’t be. Unless the conviction history is very minor or very old then there is always a risk of the individual being “outed” by someone in the community, a colleague or an internet search. So be pragmatic and ask the applicant about what they think is best and work out the best approach with them.