Application Optimization – Ban the Box

Application Optimization – Ban the Box

ApplicantPro Author - Ryan Kohler
by Ryan Kohler

One of my goals in 2014 is to spread the word about application optimization because I believe it’s one of the key contributors to a flourishing applicant pool of qualified candidates for my clients’ job openings. While I could dedicate at least nine posts to this topic alone; today my focus centers around the latest developments in the “Ban the Box” movement.

For those of you who don’t know, it’s a movement surrounding the elimination of requiring applicants to divulge information surrounding previous criminal history in the initial application phase.

A background check is not a mandatory piece in keeping you safeguarded from liability

According to, after they teamed up with the EEOC in April 2012, it is considered structural discrimination – a set of beliefs and opinions about a group of people that are passed down from generation to generation – to ask about criminal history in the application portion of the hiring process. This is important for a number of reasons: the most important being that it is a violation of your applicants’ rights to equal opportunity and secondly, it has the tendency to put a damper on the number of applicants you get to apply for your open positions.

We all know that if you’re looking for that diamond in the rough employee, you must first assemble a large pool of applicants in the beginning stages of the application process, use intuitive screening questions to filter out the candidates that are considered to be a poor fit for the job, and then (assuming your company requires it) conduct a background check after the candidate has been interviewed and has accepted the position. This not only ensures a large pool for you to choose from, it protects you from violating the EEOC’s best practices and equal opportunity for hiring.

Since I don’t want this post to get bogged down in legal-speak, I’ve skimmed over a lot of the technical details above; however, there’s one important point worth mentioning that keeps both you as an employer and the company protected from potential liability issues associated with “negligent hiring” when you adopt this approach. There are three things that Court precedent has found to shield employers: the first is that you use a written or electronic application, verify references, and lastly, that you conduct an interview. Ironically, a background check is not a mandatory piece in keeping you safeguarded from liability.

ApplicantPro helps over 2500 employers create a job ad and application process that keeps their job seekers engaged and encourages them to apply. We believe that the best method for hiring an individual who is a perfect fit for your openings starts with amassing a large pool of applicants and then using specific screening questions to narrow those candidates down into potential best fit future employees.

For more information about the “Ban the Box” philosophy, or to get started with our hiring software, please contact us today.

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