Changing public perception: FAQs

The ETM program in a nutshell for job candidates

No. The Employment Trust Market is a trust broker, connecting employers who want to help with people of stature in the community who know a job candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. The ETM does aim to seed an ecosystem of employers, volunteers, and nonprofits committed to mentoring and support. But does not operate a mentoring program or vet candidates.

The preferred route is to find at least one primary endorser , who then submits or adopts the candidate’s profile. Endorser can be ecclesiastical leaders, employers, teachers, neighbors, or family friends—anyone with standing in the community who knows the candidate. A endorser could also be a nonprofit organization that serves or vets candidates.

No. A endorser in good standing may put forward any candidate they choose. But the nature and dates of past convictions are included in the profile. And prospective employers can filter candidates as they see fit.

Yes. The more the merrier, as long as they add good value. Candidates should take care, though, to make sure that one or two strong endorsements are not diluted with less valuable or enthusiastic ones. More than a small handful is likely to just add clutter.

Yes. Candidates can create personal profiles in a “waiting room” until they have found a qualified endorser or sponsor. The waiting room is open to employers and endorser, who may step in and “adopt” candidates in the waiting room.

Many ex-offenders are not employable. Key failings may be evident to any competent endorser who has met the candidate, but those failings may not come through to the employer in a self-constructed online profile. The ETM’s effectiveness hinges on a strong signal to noise ratio. Endorsers help ensure this.

The role of endorsers & sponsors

A prospective endorser submits an online application. This includes a brief personal statement, a CV, and at least three references. Confirmed references from already established endorsers automatically become secondary endorser for the new primary endorser.

Primary endorsers know the candidate in some capacity and are willing to make recommendations based on interviews and the totality of the record. But they lack the personal connection and commitment of a sponsor.

Sponsors are primary endorsers who have close personal contact with the job candidate. In addition to a strengths and weaknesses report, a sponsor’s review includes the nature and frequency of past and ongoing interaction with the candidate, including commitment to support to help the candidate navigate logistical hurdles and stresses, to help them make the job work out and stay out of trouble.

Secondary endorsers are more prominent community leaders who know (or get to know) and trust primary endorsers or sponsors. Their endorsement lends strength to a primary endorser’s’ credibility.

No. But having secondaries will strengthen the primary endorser’s impact. This is most critical when the primary has a low key community or career profile.

Only registered employers can see reviews, and they can only see those of current candidates who meet their search criteria. Reviews are written in confidence, and employers agree to respect those confidences as a condition of participation. Breaching that agreement will be grounds for removal from the program.

It is actually in the candidate’s interest to not see the review, as this provides assurance to employers that the endorser can speak frankly. It is assumed that a endorser will not agree to offer a review unless he views the candidate as a net positive. But there will often be nuances that need to be communicated, weaknesses as well as strengths, and the endorser must be free to do so in confidence.

How employers get info and give feedback

Employers are motivated by a combination of social influence and karma. The mission of is to “flip the stigma,” which means, to make hiring quality ex-offenders something brag about. Along the way, we will build the employer network through peer-to-peer networking and persuasion.

Employers fill out a simple online form that asks for some basic information about the company, its size and sector, and the kinds of jobs they are looking to fill. A volunteer will call or email the company to confirm. Employers will also be encouraged to sign the Employer Fair Hiring Pledge, but that is not required.

First consider the profiles of a candidate’s sponsors or primary endorsers, then look at the strength and number of secondary endorsers. Check for any experience rating on the endorsers. If doubts remain, look to see if a quality sponsor has expressed strong commitment to the job candidate.

Employers can use the following filters:

  • types of past offenses
  • the candidates’ skills & job interests
  • endorser ratings of the candidate
  • commitment level from sponsors
  • endorsers’ feedback ratings
  • Yes. Employers may offer positive or negative feedback to sponsors and endorsers. This may help improve future reviews while also helping that job candidate improve.

    If a review was clearly and badly in error, an employer may make a report to the moderators, who will investigate. If appropriate, the moderators may offer a warning or remove offenders from the system.

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