Looking for a job can be a daunting and seemingly endless task. At points, it may even feel like a full-time job itself. What makes the process so excruciatingly long? Typically, it has to do with the fact that multiple well-qualified candidates are required to force themselves, and their unique experiences, into a single, hyperbolized role.

But what if the job description and requirements were far more open-ended? What if anyone could apply for a position and be as equally considered as the next person? 

If this sounds like a fantasy to you, you’d be wrong. Open Hiring, a newer, more inclusive method of hiring individuals, is changing the employment process, and the lives of thousands.

Spearheaded by Yonkers-based bakery, Greyston Bakery years ago, the Open Hiring method is precisely what it sounds like: a way to be far more open to hiring people from a variety of backgrounds; more specifically, those who’ve been incarcerated, those from minority groups (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) and those who’ve been unable to work for periods of time are given a fair shot at earning gainful employment. 

Greyston Bakery is very dedicated to their process. The company’s website states, “[the Open Hiring process] provide[s] employees with the services they need to succeed. Where traditional HR departments focus more narrowly on job requirements and performance indicators, we focus on the person.” This is, for all intents and purposes, a much more radical way of hiring.

And this methodology has been gaining popularity recently, so much so that others have followed suit. For example, Ovenly, another New York City-based bakery, implements a similar practice called “fair-chance hiring.” It follows the same principles as Open Hiring. Hot Chicken Takeover, Columbus, Ohio’s popular restaurant chain also utilizes this process.

And the Open Hiring takeover doesn’t stop at local chains. Major retailers such as WalMart and Target are drawing heavy inspiration from this philosophy, albeit with some minor changes. Instead of disregarding the criminal background check process in total, these Fortune 500 companies do not conduct background checks until the very end of the hiring process, thus giving prospective employees a fair chance to explain their work/life history.

These processes might sound strange, but in reality, they’re life-changing and crucial to millions of Americans. In fact, roughly 70 million Americans have some form of prior conviction record, and that drastically affects their chances of seeking employment. It’s unfair. And at the Opes Group, we believe in diversity, inclusion and second chances. We want to be able to work with everybody, regardless of their past. We invest in people and ideas. And we firmly stand behind that.

We truly hope that the Open Hiring mindset will be adapted by more businesses around the world. It can stimulate economies, and provide faith for millions.