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  • ESG / Sustainability

For Second Chance Month, Indeed Shares The Steps We Took To Become a Fair Chance Employer

Apr 11, 2023 | Indeed

We believe that fair chance hiring is essential to our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB+) and to effective and efficient hiring.

The first software engineer at Indeed was formerly incarcerated. We know that we would not be where we are as a company without fair chance hiringTo an external site. But as we partnered with community-based groups and deepened our commitment to fair chance hiring, we also recognized that we needed to undertake systemic policy changes across our hiring. While we’re still in the middle of our fair chance journey, we are sharing Indeed’s fair chance story, particularly the evaluation of our background check policy, to be transparent and encourage other employers to take their own first steps.

“At Indeed, our mission is to help all people get jobs. As part of this, we have a goal of helping 30 million job seekers facing barriers get hired by 2030, including those with criminal records. As we work toward helping these job seekers find work, we want to make sure we also are holding ourselves accountable by being a fair chance employer. Our DEIB+ work is integral to the success of Indeed. We believe having equitable hiring practices and pathways for job seekers with criminal records to find employment at Indeed will only make us stronger.”

-LaFawn Davis, SVP of ESG

Step 1: Engage with Experts

We believe it is critical to inform our policies and process by engaging with partners who are experts in the space of fair chance hiring, from legal services groups providing criminal record clearing to organizations that advise employers with their fair chance practices. Through these partnerships, we continuously work to build our knowledge and understanding of fair chance hiring, background checks, and job seekers with criminal records.

“We are fortunate to have the chance to work with and learn from many incredible partners. It is important to go into this type of work with humility and a respect for the experts on the ground and people with lived experience. By working with groups such as Center for Employment Opportunities, Checkr, Defy, and legal services and reentry organizations across the country, we have been able to learn from the people doing this work day in and day out, including people who have been formerly incarcerated themselves. It is with this community-based expertise that we have been able to implement our fair chance hiring programs, both internally and externally.”

-Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Senior Director of ESG Programs and Partnerships

Step 2: Reevaluate Existing Policies

In 2020, as we deepened our commitment and community partnerships, we reevaluated our background check adjudication process. We conducted comprehensive research on background checks, equitable and inclusive adjudication best practices, the implications for our industry, and the best way to inform our process with our company’s values.

“We first committed to reevaluate our background check process from start to finish. With research into background check adjudication best practices, we are able to see where we need to make changes and how to go about doing so. This process is too important to go into without a fuller understanding of where potential biases lie, how they are baked into the system, and how to change them.”

-Andrea Jensen, Senior Manager, ESG Operations

Step 3: Implement Changes and Tailor our Policies

An overhaul of our background check adjudication required getting aligned inside the company on key decisions. What emerged from those conversations laid the foundation for how we conduct background checks today. When we conduct background checks at Indeed, we do so only after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Once conducted, our systems do not automatically reject anyone, and we’ve opted to not even be notified of most non-convictions and those convictions that fall outside of the parameters we’ve set.

Moreover, we work to ensure background checks are aligned to the assigned job location, job title, and the candidate location. Criminal record checks may be conducted in the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and India. They are not conducted in Japan, Singapore, or EMEA.

In addition to the reevaluation of our background check process, we instituted other fair chance hiring practices. We added a fair chance statement to our US-based job descriptions, expressing Indeed’s commitment “to providing individuals with criminal records, including formerly incarcerated individuals, a fair chance at employment.” We developed a fair chance training for our hiring managers, and explored partnerships with sourcing programs to intentionally open up opportunities for formerly incarcerated workers.

“Systemic biases exist and persist in our hiring policies and practices, Indeed is also on the journey to mitigate and address the barriers it creates. There has to be deliberate, intentional actions taken to create an equitable and inclusive workforce. Fair chance hiring is one of the many ways Indeed demonstrates the commitment to more equitable hiring outcomes within our organization.”

-Misty Gaither, VP and Global Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Step 4: Create a Process for Reviewing Cases Flagged During The Background Check

To fairly assess the background checks that are flagged for our review, we developed a committee to review decisional cases. In the U.S. the committee considers (1) the nature and gravity of the offense; (2) the time that has passed since the conviction or completion of sentence; and (3) the nature of the job to which the candidate is applying.

We also made the decision to remove all pronouns, names, and other identifying information in the review process to lessen the impact of any possible implicit bias on the adjudication decisions.

“Ultimately, there will always be context that needs to be considered. Having a team to do this part of the work helps keep the conversations evolving and includes multiple perspectives. We want to always make sure we are not letting our own biases go unchecked.”

-Andrea Jensen, Senior Manager, ESG Operations

Step 5: Learn, Evaluate, Improve, Learn, Evaluate, Improve…

The next step in our journey is to develop a process to evaluate our progress and iterate upon our learnings. This year, we established a baseline to understand our own workforce and how successful we are as a fair chance employer. Based on available data, we know that 1.3% of individuals who received an offer for employment with Indeed have a conviction record that showed up on a background check report through our third party provider. This number very likely does not encompass the full universe of employees impacted by the criminal legal system given the limitations we intentionally set on the data we collect. But we can now track our progress and expand our reach to provide opportunities for people with criminal records whom we know have talent and skills to offer and are too often overlooked.

We hope that by sharing our journey, we will help other companies on their own paths to becoming fair chance employers.

“We are always evolving and looking for ways to improve our processes and our thinking. Our fair chance hiring goals are connected to our DEIB+ goals. While we are not yet where we need to be, we know that focusing on making changes in our adjudication and background check processes are an important part of the journey.”

-Abbey Carlton, VP of Social Impact

Click hereTo an external site to read the original press release.