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Overcoming judgments of being "a person that assaults people" - Darren

Darren believes that giving a chance for job seekers to explain their criminal history is the key for employers to find qualified people, who are eager to work and add value to the organization. Using Honest Jobs, Darren found a fair-chance employer that pays a living wage, with full benefits, and treats him as an equal member of society. Hear his experience in the video below:

What experience do you have with the criminal justice system?

Darren: "It was a few years ago, in 2017. It was supposed to be a mutual combat, that turned into an assault. I was facing a lot of time. I ended up getting three years. I got out early for good behavior. They changed it to make it sound worse than what it really is. If employers don't know about that, then they're going to look at it just for what it is."

What was your experience looking for a job before you found Honest Jobs?

Darren: "It was for sure rough trying to find work or at least work that I was willing to stay at because every job is not the job for you. Just because it's giving you a paycheck, doesn't mean that mentally you can actually achieve to stay there long enough. And some people will scrutinize you. If they ask, I’ll tell them. I just want them to be open when I do tell them and not be so judgmental and thinking that: "Oh, well he's a person that assaults people", or something like that. And that's not the case. So sometimes, if they give you a chance to speak about it, it actually helps."

What was your experience looking for a job after you found Honest Jobs?

Darren: "Every job that was listed on Honest Jobs actually stated that they do work with people who have backgrounds. So I wasn't discouraged as far as that. Whatever employer was on the Honest Jobs website, I was going to go for it just depending on which one that I want to apply to. So it was cool, the timeframe was pretty decent. Within a month of roaming on the website I got a hit back. I got a couple hit backs from a couple different companies, I would end up getting a call saying that they hired me."

Tell us about your new job!

Darren: "You get full benefits at Pepsi, the first day you clock in. They start you off at $20.42/hr, providing a good financial background for me to hold onto until I reach my next pinnacle."

Would you recommend Honest Jobs to other formerly incarcerated job seekers?

Darren: "Anything that you look on there, any job that they have listed, they are hiring and they'll hire people who have backgrounds, period. And it's just like a website for people like ourselves, who are looking for work. So that'll be the best start instead of going to most of the other websites where you may not get that action. It needs to be out there that there is a specific website that you can go to and look for jobs. A website that's actually hiring people who are looking for work, who ran into some issues back in the days."

Do you have a message to employers?

Darren: "Give the person a chance to explain what happened. And understand that it's in the past and not be so judgmental because you have people who don't have any background that could be just as worse as somebody with a background. And it's been shown plenty of times. So give someone a chance to get in there because, you never know, you'll have a gem within that person. That person will be a perfect match for your company because they're really passionate about getting employment and staying employed to never go backwards. They're looking to go forward and they're choosing your company. So you should give someone that kudos for even wanting to apply for your company. So give them a chance, you know."

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