Let’s take an in-depth look at one of the biggest grocery chains Kroger, and their hiring processes for felons.
Finding a job after release from prison can be a daunting task for many felons. It is one of the major tasks they need to accomplish post-incarceration so they can gain financial freedom and start rebuilding their life.
It doesn’t help that most employers are not particularly keen on hiring individuals with a police record or conviction. While it may be challenging, it’s not impossible.
Even places hiring for entry-level positions may not be too receptive to applications that include a past police record.
However, some companies have a more welcoming stance towards felons and their application are welcome without prejudice.
As a felon, it is always good to have handy resources that will point you in the right direction when it comes to job search.
A good place to start would be to research companies that hire felons and find out more about their hiring processes.
Most entry-level jobs at grocery store chains, such as Kroger, do not require many qualifications and depending on the store, their hiring policy may also be friendly toward job seekers with a police record.
Why Is Kroger A Good Place For A Felon To Work?
Founded in 1883, Kroger ranks as one of the world’s largest retailers today. It is the largest supermarket in terms of revenue in the US, and the second-largest general retailer after Walmart.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, its workforce is made up of approximately half a million employees spread across 2,800 stores in 35 states.
In addition to its two dozen grocery retail brands, it also operates 34 manufacturing and 44 distribution locations.
While its name is synonymous with grocery stores, Kroger also has department stores, jewelry stores, pharmacies, and clinics in its supermarkets.
Working at Kroger
Kroger, the fourth-largest American-owned private employer in the US, boasts a diverse workplace. Just due to its sheer size of operations, it generates numerous employment opportunities.
Depending on the job profile, its benefits package includes health insurance, disability cover, paid vacations, 401k plans, tuition assistance, employee discounts, etc.
The company’s work schedule is flexible enough to accommodate personal pursuits like education, etc.
Even if an employee starts at an entry-level job, there are opportunities for career progression within the company because of its large-scale operations.
The employee’s union also ensures better workplace protections, a uniform pay scale, fair treatment, etc.
Does Kroger Hire felons?
With many job opportunities available, Kroger is an attractive option for many job seekers. However, while applying for a job is an easy enough task for others, it’s an uphill battle for most ex-offenders.
Employers are generally wary of individuals with a criminal past or record, preferring a candidate with no record instead. And seeing how competitive the job market is, felons have an even more difficult time getting their foot inside the door.
However, during President Barack Obama’s term, he introduced the Fair Chance Business Pledge which invited companies to join the effort in eliminating employment hurdles for job seekers with a police record. Kroger has also signed the pledge, and it accepts applications from felons.
The terms of the pledge include not digging into applicants’ criminal history during the initial stages of the hiring process.
This enables the hiring manager to get an unbiased picture of the skills the individual has to offer and their potential. This allows felons to be treated the same as individuals with no police record during the initial evaluation stages.
Questions regarding the criminal background of job seekers are asked only during the later stages of the process after a fair evaluation of each candidate.
While Kroger has positive hiring policies toward felons, they will offer jobs to them on a case-by-case basis. The type of charge and conviction will also affect their decision.
Other factors like the length of time since the conviction or since release may also be considered. The hiring process will also be more difficult for individuals with serious criminal records and convictions.
However, this should not dissuade any felon from trying because the company does hire ex-offenders even though the process may be longer with more steps for them.
What Kind Of Jobs Does Kroger Offer?
Kroger being a huge store chain often advertises for positions at various levels. You can start by applying for open entry-level positions at Kroger.
This could include positions as cashier, grocery clerk, night stocker, delivery, meat clerk, produce clerk, deli clerk/ cook, meat apprentice, courtesy clerk, customer service representative, bagger, and various jobs in the warehouse.
The average salary offered would be around $13 per hour. Of course, this will differ from state to state depending on the prevailing minimum wage policies.
What is the hiring process like at Kroger?
The hiring process at Kroger is pretty straightforward. Their site lists out all job opportunities along with locations.
The company requires a job application to be filled out and a pre-employment test is also conducted at the time after the application is submitted.
Based on the application and the test results, a phone interview may be arranged. If this is cleared, an in-person interview will be held.
A drug screening and background check are then done. After clearing all these levels, a job offer will be made. If accepted, there is an orientation and training period which typically lasts for about 2 weeks.
Depending on the role and job position, Kroger may ask the applicant to take some tests. This helps them determine if the individual is the right fit for the job and the company.
There is a personality test consisting of questions that require critical thinking. It also checks their interpersonal and communication skills. A situational judgment test assesses the candidate’s response to different situations that they might encounter while doing the job.
This helps the company determine if the candidate is a team player and assesses their problem-solving skills.
For IT or engineering positions, there is a mechanical aptitude test that tests special awareness and the applicant’s understanding of mechanical concepts.
How to Apply for a Job at Kroger
A good place to start is the Kroger website. The current open positions will be listed as per location on the careers page of their official website.
You can also look for openings on job search websites like indeed.com or monster.com. Approaching a local Kroger store is also a good option to check for open positions in that store.
The stores don’t have a paper-based application. There are kiosks that job-seekers can use to fill in applications.
The application process is completely online. An individual can register online on the website, fill out the application form online and submit it. As mentioned before, you might have to take some tests.
If selected, there is a short phone interview to determine if the candidate should be called in for an in-person interview.
They may ask basic questions related to the company and the job that was applied for. Depending on the outcome, an in-person interview will be scheduled.
The in-person interview is more detailed and the candidate can expect several questions that seek to understand the candidate’s understanding of the job, their skills, and their expectations.
Kroger Background Check
Similar to other companies, Kroger also does a background check, and in some cases, a drug screening after making a job offer.
As a felon, this might seem like the biggest hurdle in securing a job since the offer can be rescinded if the candidate does not clear the checks.
The drug test, typically a mouth swab, is not mandatory at all locations; only a few still conduct it.
The background check can take up to two weeks, and the candidates who clear this, are then placed in orientation and training programs.
Unsuccessful candidates are notified through a letter. As mentioned before, Kroger does hire felons and the type of record and conviction along with other factors will be considered.
Ex-offenders can apply for the job and wait till the end of the background check to see how they fared.
Kroger checks for criminal history beyond state and county lines and in many cases, the criminal history can be as far back as 7 years.
The background check questionnaire may include questions asking if the individual holds a valid driver’s license, a car, or other means of transportation, any accidents during the past three years, and the number of moving violations in the past three months.
Typically, they will ask for an explanation regarding the conviction. Details like type of felony conviction, number of convictions, time of conviction and/ or release from prison, the sentence, rehabilitation received, etc. will be considered by the hiring manager.
What Employees Think About Kroger
It’s always good to get an idea of how people who work for an establishment feel about the place, the culture, the team, and the management.
Knowing what you are signing up for may help you prepare for the workplace better. It can also help you decide if you want to work there.
Here are some reviews from Kroger’s employees that will give an insight into the company:
A Deli clerk at Kroger says: “Overall the job is not the worse. Decent pay for early adults but not something to stay with. Short-term job.”
A store associate shares: “Would Recommend job to anyone if you can deal with a wide variety of people. Always busy, compensation could be a lot better. Management plays a big factor at the store location.”
A produce manager has some positive feedback to share: “Very easy to move up. Pay is decent with raises every 3 months. Management is easy to talk to and most will listen to your concerns. A lot of the ten members are very helpful as well.”
A customer service employee has mixed feedback: “Not good long term. The environment gets old with customers, but great workers. A lot of new people all the time. I would recommend this job to people new to the workforce.”
With its presence across the country, size of operations, and felon-friendly policy, Kroger seems to be a good place to apply.
Every applicant is given a fair chance in the first few rounds of the hiring process, and a felon can successfully land a job if he meets all their criteria.