How Does Open Hiring Work?

The concept of open hiring is essentially the ideology of Ban-the-box legislation taken to the next level: individuals who might have otherwise been rejected solely because of criminal histories should have the opportunity to find employment and improve their situations. The alternative, as the thinking goes, is the presence of a faction of the population confined to certain standards of living and driven to desperation.

Developed by a Zen master, Roshi Bernie Glassman, who opened a bakery in New York that practices the policy, open hiring has produced compelling results at least for his company. Current chief executive of Greyston Bakery, Mike Brady, has made arguments that while opening hiring may not be feasible for certain types of jobs, most companies should have at least one position that could be filled without the typical barriers to entry.

What Could be the Monetary Benefits of Open Hiring?

Greyston Bakery doesn’t conduct a skills test or background check. They simply maintain a list where people who need a job can sign up, hiring in batches of ten to spread out orientation costs. Apparently only six in 10 new hires make it through the apprenticeship stage of employment (Greyston maintains a high standard of quality and performance).

Seems efficient, especially when you consider the Society of Human Resource Management’s estimation of the average costs to recruit a single employee: $4,129 in advertising, vetting (background checks), hiring agency fees, and staff salary.

Greyston puts that money instead toward social services and training. Greyston doesn’t only employee the typically overlooked and “unhireable”; it also creates channels to direct its employees through for help with addiction, childcare, housing, etc. The nature of its mission also attracts donors and investors and other monetary perks as well, which continue to facilitate its multimillion dollar revenue stream as a supplier of brownies and cookies to organizations like Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods.


In what ways do you think open hiring, or pieces of it, are (or are not) applicable to your industry? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Case for Open Hiring: New York Bakery Nixes Background Checks, Skills Tests

Employers, landlords, and hiring managers all know that the surest way to build the best team or find the ideal tenants is to find out all you can about your applicants before making leasing or hiring decisions. The goal? To weed out the bad apples, minimize the risk to your bottom line, and be profitable.

Greyston Bakery’s open-hiring policy might seem like a huge risk—one no conscientious executive would make, but the results have been eyebrow-raising at least, inspiring at best. Read the full article, published on, here.

What is Open Hiring?

In current chief executive Mike Brady’s words, when he does the work of filling open positions, “There’s no skills test, no background check, no interview, no reference checks.” All prospective employees must do is put their names on a list. Regardless of criminal records, homelessness, long-term unemployment, mental health, or disability, Brady hires all and the business’s 100 employees generate $20 million in revenues supplying Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods with brownies and cookies.

The Philosophy Behind Open Hiring

Training and orientation is a part of every new job despite the skills an applicant might bring to the table, and one of Greyston’s bakery trainers, thirty-nine-year-old Dion Drew had this to say about the bakery’s philosophy: “We’re trying to show the world it’s all right to hire someone who was incarcerated.” Drew himself spent four years in prison on drug charges.

Despite what it might seem, employee expectations are not lax. As Brady says, “It’s not a program. It’s a business.” Employees who can’t meet the standards are let go, but the benefits for good performance are great.

When is Open Hiring Feasible?

According to the article, the concept of open hiring was developed by Zen master Roshi Bernie Glassman, who found the bakery with the belief that employment would help to lift people out of poverty, especially those with criminal records or other employment-inhibiting histories.

Brady, however, acknowledges that the practice is simply not applicable to certain, highly complicated or regulated jobs, but asserts that most companies should have at least one position that could be filled that way.


How do you feel about open hiring? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Backgrounds Checks and Private and Public School Systems

An elite boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut is facing severe scrutiny after it was revealed that at least twelve faculty members had been accused sexual abuse of children between the years of 1963 and 2010—accusations that had gone unreported—including one teacher who left the private school and went on to become a principal of public high school.

How could this happen? Where did their background checks go wrong?

Recent legislation for public schools in that locality required that applicants allow prospective employers to conduct thorough and specific checks with previous employers as to the applicants’ history of sexual misconduct, child abuse, or neglect. Applicants are required to list all the contact information of every employer whose jobs required contact with children. Additionally former employers are prohibited from making “exit deals,” according to the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Douglas J. Lyons, in which it is agreed to withhold pertinent information regarding sexual abuse allegations from future employers.

There is now proposed legislation to extend these requirements to conduct thorough background checks to private schools. If said requirements had been in effect, the belief is that the alleged decades’ long history of sexual abuse either would not have happened or would have been properly addressed at the time and prevented from continuing.

Interviewing Previous Employers in Any Industry

When interrogating previous employers of applicants, it is important to remember that the former employer may be limited in the types of information they can give. For example, there is the concern that any negative feedback that results in your decision not to hire the applicant can be used against them if the applicant decides to litigate against the former employer. However, it is very important to interview former employers simply to protect yourself from making a bad hire. Thorough background checks aren’t complete without these types of checks.

Talk to us to learn more about how you can properly carry out checks with former employers.