Don't automatically bar ex-cons

cuffs.jpgI once interviewed a guy who ‘didn’t want to talk about’ a 15-year gap in his CV. As he didn’t get the job (for other perfectly legal and less libellous reasons, obviously), I never got to find out whether the office’s dubbing of him as ‘The Murderer’ was justified or not.I often wonder though, what if he had served time for some hideous crime but consequently turned out to be the best candidate for the job? If I'd have been OK with it, would the rest of the office? If it turned out he was a serial axe-murderer would it have been my head on the block?Legally, unless the role requires and specifies the need for no criminal convictions, it can’t matter. We all know prejudice exists in recruitment though, and even in these litigious days it’s easy enough to get around giving someone a job if you want to.In turn it’s fairly obvious if you’ve got a criminal record, especially for something pretty serious, it’s not easy to find work.While it’s not business’ problem, ex-offenders’ difficulty in finding work is seen as a key factor in their likelihood of re-offending. A report out this week by Policy Exchange proposes paying businesses to employ ex-offenders who find it most difficult to find work and claims the move would save taxpayers ‘up to £300m’.Getting paid to take on someone desperate to work and who’ll presumably be motivated to repay your faith? CSR brownie points thrown in – got to make some sense, hasn’t it?Image: Flickr
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