One of my favorite things about being on the blogger team for the 2022 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition is chatting with speakers and vendors to learn more about them and create some pre-conference buzz! Before #SHRM22 in New Orleans, I have a few blog posts lined up to introduce you to speakers and vendors!
As I was looking through the vendor list, I knew I had to feature Honest Jobs and their CEO and Founder, Harley Blakeman. Harley and I have met in person at SHRM annual conferences before, and he was a speaker at a program I held through BNHRA, my local SHRM chapter. The first thing you see when you search Honest Jobs is, “we help people impacted by the criminal justice system find employment fast!” Having been impacted by the criminal justice system himself, I love what Harley has built with his company to help job seekers and employers come together. Read on to see what Harley shared with me ahead of the #SHRM22 conference. Thank you, Harley, for taking the time to chat with me and share more!
Tell us about yourself and how Honest Jobs came to be!
My name is Harley Blakeman and I'm the Founder of Honest Jobs - the nation's leading fair chance employment platform. Between the ages of 13-16 years old, my life turned upside down. My parents got divorced, my father passed away, I became homeless, and dropped out of high school. During that time, I also began using and selling drugs as a means to numb my pain and take care of myself. Shortly after my 18th birthday I was arrested and sentenced to 14 months in prison in the state of Georgia. After my release from prison, I went on to study business at The Ohio State University where I graduated with honors. My goal was to work hard, build a career, and overcome my past mistakes. However, I quickly realized there was a major problem - it's nearly impossible to find a job with a criminal record. The idea for Honest Jobs was born out of being painfully rejected nearly 100 times after putting in so much hard work to prove myself.
What is Honest Jobs’ primary mission?
The Honest Jobs platform helps employers create and scale fair chance hiring programs. The tech makes "smart matches" by considering EEOC guidelines and HR best practices, then suggests jobs to candidates which give them the best chance of getting hired. Our mission is to be the hub where people with criminal records come to build a career and employers come to find great talent.
What are the main benefits Honest Jobs provides to employers and job seekers?
Job seekers with past convictions find employment through Honest Jobs 8x faster than with traditional methods. For employers, there are several benefits including a national talent pool, diverse applicants, and a 90-day retention rate of 81%. It's free to post unlimited jobs and hire candidates through the service. However, we do offer paid services for employers who are more invested in fair chance hiring.
What are you looking forward to most at the #SHRM22 conference?
I'm looking forward to connecting with old friends, HR thought leaders, and anyone who wants to learn about fair chance hiring. Come by and meet us in the Expo Hall at Booth 5652.