The Power of Possibility: How Checkr Is Building a Fairer Future
Read how we’re celebrating our mission impact during Fair Chance Month.
Today, as many as 1 in 3 adult Americans have an arrest or conviction record. Contrary to common belief, many of these 80 million Americans have never actually served a period of incarceration. However these justice-impacted individuals are often overlooked for job opportunities due to bias or discrimination based on the history found on their record. Without a way to successfully reenter and contribute to their community, this often leads to recidivism. Employment is the single most important influence on decreasing recidivism by providing economic stability, and dramatically reducing justice-impacted individual’s likelihood to return back to the system.
We believe everyone deserves a fair chance to find gainful work. This is why fair chance hiring has been part of Checkr’s mission and product since the company’s inception and continues to evolve as we seek to build a fairer future by designing technology to create opportunities for all.
Fair chance hiring isn’t just a strategic move to widen your funnel of top talent, it’s also an opportunity to change lives, break the cycles of recidivism, and create positive social change.
Fair Chance Month
April is Fair Chance Month, a concept launched in 2017 by the nonprofit organization Prison Fellowship, that has since become a nationwide movement. It promotes advocacy for justice-impacted individuals by bringing change to hiring practices and promoting reentry initiatives with the support of employers, communities, and government agencies nationwide.
The month of April is also an opportunity for Checkr to celebrate our many mission-driven achievements in support of fair chance hiring. Additionally, we are continuing our open dialogue by providing educational events and volunteer opportunities for our employees to recognize the “Power of Possibility.”
Initiatives to unblock candidates
Our platform is built to empower customers to hire fairly and open their candidate pools to nontraditional or often overlooked talent, such as individuals with criminal records. Every product decision we make is aligned with our mission to support diverse and inclusive hiring, including several Checkr-unique features:
- Assess brings automation to the adjudication process to reduce potential bias. It works by applying role-specific criteria, customized by the employer, to filter out irrelevant records. This enables your adjudicators to increase consistency while speeding the hiring process. Assess also helps define which records are relevant for each role in accordance with the EEOC’s nature-time-nature test.
- Candidate Stories gives candidates a voice while enabling employers to easily conduct Individualized Assessments. Candidates are given the opportunity to make a personal statement, provide context to a specific charge, and attach documents such as showing counseling, community service, or rehabilitation to show efforts they’ve made to better themselves.
- Fair Chance Dashboard helps employers see first-hand how your company’s fair chance hiring measures up to EEOC guidelines. When data is available, you can also benchmark your performance compared to other employers in your region and industry. The dashboard’s helpful tips, resources, and social proof gives you the actionable insights needed to bring fair chance hiring to your organization and grow your labor pool.
Last year, Checkr’s fair chance hiring initiatives helped to unblock 2.2 million candidates from the barriers a background check may present in the hiring process. By breaking down barriers, we opened the door to employment for justice-impacted individuals that would have been previously ineligible due to criminal records that were irrelevant to the role.
Fair chance in action
Checkr’s fair chance talent
“Our mission of building a fairer future is at the heart of all we do at Checkr. We believe that all people should have a fair chance at achieving personal and professional goals, and we’re proud to enable that with our team. Time and again, we see the fair chance talent we’ve welcomed to Checkr become highly engaged, ambitious, and successful employees.”
CEO at Checkr
“When you’re going to an interview, you want to be seen as a human being. You want to be seen as a person. You want to be seen as the person sitting across from you and not the worst thing that a person has ever done.”
Senior Software Engineer at Checkr
Checkr was founded on fundamentally rethinking background checks, making the process fairer through forward thinking regarding fair chance, education, and eliminating human bias. In 2021, we established Checkr.org to actualize our mission by connecting people and businesses through fair chance hiring initiatives. This philanthropic group is funded through our involvement with the 1% Pledge movement, devoting 1% of the company’s total equity, time, profits, and products to our mission of enabling fair chances.
“We must broaden how we perceive and source talent if we are to maximize potential as we build the future of work. This requires innovation and creativity in tandem with intention to deconstruct outdated processes and outmoded philosophies around hiring, and look to new talent pools to grow the American workforce.”
VP & Executive Director at Checkr.org
We work with organizations, like Defy Ventures and Code for America, who empower justice impacted individuals and allies to tackle the challenges surrounding fair chance hiring. This network of partners enables candidates to connect with the resources they need to navigate the entire employment process, from better understanding of the background check process, to getting legal aid or advice, and applying for job readiness training or employment support.
Checkr employees are proud to work for a mission-driven company, shown by our involvement in ways to further our mission.
As part of our 1% Pledge, the Bounce Back Checkr Resource Group (CRG) along with Checkr.org, created a volunteering and giving program to enable every employee to help make our mission happen. In fact, to celebrate our employees’ generosity we offer 20 paid Volunteer Time Off hours per year to all employees. So far in 2023, 40% of Checkr employees have engaged in a volunteer activity toward our mission.
Bounce Back is a volunteer-based team of employees who dedicate their time to exploring ways to expand the impact of our mission and create opportunities for people with criminal histories. This includes engaging employees with our mission through educational and volunteer opportunities and developing fairness in the Checkr platform through product ideas, enhancements and improvements.
Additionally, Checkr supports individuals reentering society through many programs with our mission partners, like Breakthrough. These programs include in-person volunteering at various correctional facilities to provide coaching and tutoring, mock employment interviews, job fairs, and business pitch bootcamps.
We also engage in mentorship opportunities, including the Bounce Back Mentorship program that pairs justice-impacted individuals with a Checkr mentor to meet regularly to work on professional and personal development.
Lastly, our annual Checkr Cares virtual volunteer event is held during the holiday season to spend time positively impacting the lives of others in our communities through letter writing to those currently incarcerated, hosting toy drives in support of justice-impacted families, and more.
Checkr’s reentry simulation
Checkr designed a reentry simulation, based on the reentry simulation originally created by the Department of Justice. This eye-opening experience showcases many of the processes and barriers in place that contribute to the United States’ high national recidivism rate.
Checkr’s Virtual Reentry Simulation is available on any web browser. Every Checkr employee participates in this simulation during new hire onboarding. Experiencing this proximity to our mission strengthens their investment in our many fair chance initiatives, while helping them to better understand how background checks can have a profound impact on a person’s livelihood and why Checkr aims to change that.
Checkr has also hosted the reentry simulation as an interactive, in-person event. This powerful experience helps participants gain an understanding of the significant obstacles faced by people attempting to navigate the system upon their release from incarceration and returning home to their communities. Since its launch, over 950 customers and employees have participated.
“The reentry simulation is something you can not put into words. How do you explain a day in the life of something that no one should ever experience? The men and women whose lives we try to reenact… You just go. You go with the hope that humanity will accept you. You go praying that your lived experiences will not hinder you from providing. You go with the weight that statistically you are more likely to “go back in” than successfully establish yourself. This experience is the most impactful thing that Checkr does to educate our community.”
Senior Manager, Mid-Market Sales at Checkr
While this simulation is just one example outcome, we hope it leaves you with a deeper appreciation of the obstacles individuals tackle as they settle into life post-incarceration, as well as the importance of more equitable and fair assessments in the hiring process. We encourage you to give it a try.
Build a fairer future with us
There are many ways to show your support during Fair Chance Month. We encourage you and your colleagues to begin by setting aside time to go through The Virtual Reentry Simulation.
We’ve also created an educational hub for anyone who wants to learn more about implementing fair chance hiring at their organization. This hub has resources for everyone—whether you’re just learning about fair chance hiring, trying to implement fair chance hiring practices, or optimizing an existing fair chance program. It is also a source of impactful video content from mission partners and fair chance champions.
You can also sign a public pledge showing your commitment (such as those from Glassdoor or the White House) or start making connections with local organizations that support fair chance recruitment.
Let’s build a fairer future, together.
Explore resources, find ways to engage, and hear stories that celebrate fair chance hiring.
Nothing in Checkr’s Blog should be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable state and local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.