Employer incentives to hire you
Believe it or not, employers can receive financial incentives to hire you. This provides one more reason to consider you as a potential employee. As part of the interview process, you can educate them on what these are, and it could very well work to your advantage. Here are the incentives you can tell hiring managers about, if they aren’t already aware of them.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
The WOTC is a program sponsored by the United States Department of Labor to promote the hiring of people from specific target groups that experience barriers to employment. It applies to previously incarcerated individuals hired no later than one year after conviction or release from prison. The WOTC can provide an employer up to $2,400 (25% of the first year’s qualified wages of up to $6,000) in tax relief for each qualifying hire who works for at least 400 hours and up to $4,000 (40% of the first year’s qualified wages of up to $10,000) for long term family assistance recipient hires. Employers may claim a tax credit on an unlimited number of qualifying new hires!
The Federal Bonding Program US Department of Labor
This program provides fidelity bonding for the first six months of employment for hard-to-place job applicants. And it doesn’t cost anything for the employer or employee. What it does do is provide up to $5,000 worth of protection against losses that may come about from an employee committee forgery, theft, embezzlement or larceny.
If you are seeking bonding services call 800-233-2258 or check the Federal Bonding Program website for details. In those states without a State Bonding Coordinator, callers will be referred to the nearest American Job Center for employment assistance.
Root & Rebound
Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit Root & Rebound has published an excellent resource, the California Employers’ Fair Chance Hiring Toolkit. Although geared toward California employers, the information it provides are relevant to those in other states as well. At some point in the interviewing process, you may want to print out a copy and give it to the hiring manager. The toolkit is full of information on the benefits companies can receive by hiring you and what steps they need to do so.
Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation’s Second Chance Playbook
The foundation of Milwaukee, Ore.-based Dave’s Killer Bread has created a Second Chance Playbook that you also might want to recommend to hiring managers. The playbook consists of a series of three- to five-minute videos educating companies on issues related to second chance employment. These include risk mitigation, EEOC compliance, background checks and other things that employers who hire those with criminal records need to know.
The Cooperative of Felon-Friendly Employers
You can also get help from CoFFE, the Cooperative of Felon Friendly Employers, a nationwide database of employers willing to hire ex-felons. One of the things that CoFFE does is to talk to employers about the financial advantages of hiring formerly incarcerated job seekers. It’s one more level of support that you can take advantage of.
Things to remember
There are other things you can do in addition to making hiring managers aware of employer incentives. First of all, always keep in mind that you are not “stuck” searching for jobs with employers on a “special list” or those known as “ex-offender friendly.” We’ve written more about finding employers at or website.
Also, in order to prepare for interviews, we suggest that you check out our interview tips, including how to create a turnaround talk and turnaround packet. Careful preparation and having a plan can make a big difference in determining whether you get a job offer or not. Good luck!