Since 2018, Honest Jobs has worked with over 300 companies looking to provide employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals. Some 6,000 plus candidates have turned to the platform looking for a career and a second chance.
Taking away the needle in the haystack mentality, Honest Jobs launched to connect the formerly incarcerated with vetted job opportunities from companies large and small.
Finding early success, Honest Jobs continues to refine that process, leading to better outcomes for both employers and job seekers. Honest Jobs recently launched version 2.0 of its platform, iterating based on client feedback.
Many of the new version’s features center around employers’ ability to filter for candidates whose backgrounds are not in direct conflict with the job duties of a given opportunity.
“Employers only get applications from people that they can actually hire, and job seekers are no longer wasting their time applying for jobs that they can’t get,” says Honest Jobs Founder & CEO Harley Blakeman.
Honest Jobs has automated this process to create its PassCheck technology. PassChecks allow employers to set up criteria for a given job opportunity and eliminate candidates that have criminal histories in direct conflict with the position.
Blakeman explains the impetus for incorporating the technology into the platform. Last year, Honest Jobs was working with a few employers that needed to make several hires – and were willing to pay up front for help finding candidates.
The employer said they were able to hire most individuals with criminal records, but for some certain positions a job seeker couldn’t have a specific type of conviction.
As candidates would apply, Honest Jobs would manually validate their personal information (phone number, email, etc.) and make sure their criminal history was not in conflict with the job.
“We were only sending them about half as many clients, but they were able to hire all the clients we sent them,” Blakeman says.
The clients found the vetting extremely valuable. It was an opportunity to not only automate the process, but monetize it.
“If they get one good hire a month, that might be worth $500 a month to them,” Blakeman says.
Automating the process could also help employers with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines.
“[PassChecks] allows the hiring manager to set criteria for each job exactly the way the EEOC wants you to do it,” Blakeman says.
Enhanced candidate search features will also allow employers to actively search for job seekers, instead of just waiting for candidates to apply. Employers can search by filters like location, work experience and PassChecks.
Additionally, Honest Jobs identifies applicants that are eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credits. WOTCs provide up to $9,600 in tax credits when an employer hires an individual that has either been convicted of a felony or released from incarceration in the last 12 months. Blakeman points out that if an employer even hires a few WOTC-eligible candidates a year, an Honest Jobs subscription pays for itself.
Honest Job relied heavily on the feedback of companies that had been using the platform to build out version 2.0. Of the about 300 companies Honest Jobs has worked with in its early years, around 13% opted into a paid plan – a good upgrade rate when it comes to freemium SaaS products, Blakeman says.
“Our team and our investors saw this as a really good indicator that not only was there an appetite for the service, but that here was actually enough value in our premium versions that we could actually build a sustainable business out of it if we continued working on it,” Blakeman says.
Honest Jobs continually received detailed feedback from about 20 companies as it iterated on an MVP. When they got close to version 2.0’s set of features, 15 companies committed to paying for a year of service in advance when the platform launched. The nearly $200,000 in commitments is more than four times Honest Jobs’ revenue for all of 2019.
“That’s as good as validation as you can get,” Blakeman says.
Honest Jobs will now offer three tiers of pricing for employers – a Pro, Premium and Enterprise level – with each subscription adding functionality and search tools.
Honest Jobs has been able to engage with national brands like Koch Industries and is finalizing an agreement with WalMart. The new features have also allowed Honest Jobs to revisit clients that hadn’t committed before and highlight the new technology.
“We really went through and talked to employers about which of these tools are valuable and how much are they worth before we created our plans and fully built the product,” Blakeman says.
As promising as the new pricing and plans are, Honest Jobs is working on additional features to be unveiled in the coming months that Blakeman says are what will really make the company valuable.
Honest Jobs has built a tool for probate and parole officers to monitor what and how many jobs the individuals they are working with are applying for. When an individual gets a job, the technology will allow the officer to complete monthly employment verification checks.
Honest Jobs has worked with 100 probate and parole officers to pilot and validate the program, and is ready to move onto paid services in the next phase of its launch.
For more information, visit honestjobs.co.