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!

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