Enterprise Coworking Community Spotlight: Harley Blakeman, Honest Jobs

Honest Jobs is a job platform specifically designed for people impacted by the criminal justice system. Harley Blakeman, Founder, and CEO of Honest Jobs is helping to break the stigma that surrounds folks with a criminal background, to find employment faster using their unique algorithm that drives their search results. Honest Jobs helps over 400 companies across the United States, including six Fortune 500 companies find staff. You can get in touch with Harley directly at harley@honestjobs.co  Watch on for this fascinating discussion!


Diana: [00:00:05] Good morning. Welcome to our Community Spotlight, featuring one of our newer members of Enterprise Coworking, Harley Blakeman. Harley is founder and CEO of Honest Jobs. He is here to tell us about his company and what they do. Hey, Harley. Tell us a little bit about your company and what you guys do over there at Honest Jobs.

Harley: [00:00:24] Yeah, thank you for having me, I am excited to share. Honest Jobs is a jobs platform specifically for people impacted by the criminal justice system. So, you know, a lot of people watching this may not know that the criminal justice system in America impacts a lot more people than most countries. So in America, roughly one in three Americans have some type of criminal history. And then roughly one in 10 or one in 11 have a felony criminal record. So this is about nine percent of the U.S. workforce has a felony criminal record. And they really struggle to find employment. And a lot of people know kind of once you've been to prison, it's a hard road. And people may not know this, but roughly 70 percent of people go back to prison within three years of getting out of prison. And the number one reason is because they can't find a job. So there's a lot of stigma, there's a lot of politics, there's a lot of issues, there's a lot of legal issues. And it's really just a hot mess. And very few companies hire from this population openly. So myself, I wanted to try and change that and me and my team have created a job board with a unique algorithm that drives our search results, that helps derisk hiring from this population for employers. And it just helps people with criminal records find employment faster. So that's what we do. And we have been doing that for a while. And we now help over 400 companies across the US do that, including six Fortune 500 companies.

Diana: [00:02:01] Wow. That's incredible. You're breaking the stigma for these people and helping them in their lives. So exactly how long has Honest Jobs been in business?

Harley: [00:02:14] So I started when I quit my job and then decided to go all in on entrepreneurship about three years ago. But we changed names twice and really kind of pivoted what we were doing. We changed our business model with each name change. So for Honest Jobs, we've been around for about two years, consistently working on this under the same name with the same product for two years now.

Diana: [00:02:41] What would you say is the key difference that makes your company different from other companies in your field?

Harley: [00:02:49] Yeah, so when we think about our competitive landscape, we only have maybe two or three direct competitors and even those direct competitors. We're very different. But when you think about our competition, we think about it in two ways. There's online job boards and they're staffing companies. Typically, people, when they're looking for employment these days, a lot of people are using recruiters. More blue collar hourly workers don't really use recruiters all that much. Typically, they're using an online job board or staffing service. So tend to hire. And we are different in the sense that we are at job board, so we don't do an attempt to hire when someone gets hired for a job or they're never being paid by us. They're getting directly hired into a company. And what makes us different from other job boards is when you come to our website, part of the registration product process is telling us your criminal history. You can say I don't have a criminal history. But when people come to us and they say, I don't have criminal history, we can tell them, hey, this isn't a service that's intended for you. And then if you tell us you do have a criminal history, our registration process allows you to really elaborate.

Harley: [00:03:58] So we really understand kind of the complexities of your criminal history and then using that data. Our job compatibility algorithm. So getting word here, but our search results are driven based on your criminal history as well as your educational work experience. So our whole approach is different in the sense that we are a tech company, we have a custom-built platform. We have a team working on our using data-driven algorithm that we're constantly updating and improving on so that we can help you find employment faster. So if you have a sexual assault charge or a murder charge, some of these charges, some of these crimes are really hard for these people to find jobs. And at the end of the day,  we don't have to agree to like what they did was right. Obviously, it wasn't right. But our community is better,Everyone is better off if these people are able to earn a living paid for their pay for themselves rather than you and paying for them via tax dollars. So our algorithm is able to learn over time and improve and help these people find jobs faster. So that's really what makes us unique and different from all the other job boards.

Diana: [00:05:02] That's super impressive.

Harley: [00:05:04] Thank you very much.

Diana: [00:05:08] Why did honest jobs come to Enterprise Coworking?

Harley: [00:05:13] Yeah, so I was new to Denver. I had just moved to Arvada, and I didn't really have a reason to be downtown and I didn't want to sit in a home all day long. So honestly, I just Google coworking spaces and I typically like to shop around quite a bit. But I came here and I really liked the proximity to Rino and the arts district, the breweries, the stuff that's really close by. I really liked that It's a large space where I could host events in the basement. I really like that there's the rooftop patio and the people just seem really great. You know, obviously you and Steve, a big fan of you and Steve and yeah, just seemed right. So I just went ahead and popped in here. I like the atmosphere and  the amenities that you guys offered.

Diana: [00:06:05] Oh, absolutely. I think it was like a quick. You and I became fast friends, Steve, too. I remember when you first walked into Enterprise, no tour schedule, just walked right in and you were like, hey, can i look around? Can I, can I see the place? I'm interested. And I was like, Ok! And that was a fast friendship from there.

Harley: [00:06:25] Yeah, I typically make quick purchasing decisions.

Diana: [00:06:30] Authentic stuff. I love that. Yeah. Well, thank you, Harley. We really like having your whole team with us. So speaking directly to our audience, what would you like them to know about honest jobs?

Harley: [00:06:46] Yeah, I would like you all to know that. First off, if you're ever hiring, it's free, honest jobs. You can sign up for free. You can create a business account for free. You know, I'd have one active job posted at any given time, and you can hire as many people as you want. Since we opened our second office here in Denver, we've had about forty five new companies join across Colorado. And we've had one company who has a free account hire like seven people. So the free account works. Feel free to use our free account. And if you know any other companies who would like to learn more, please feel free to direct them To me, my emails harley@honestjobs.co. And I know, Diana, I think you're already going to share my contact info, but I will reach out to me if you know someone who's looking to hire, especially if they're looking to hire a lot of people.

Diana: [00:07:40] Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Harley. We're very excited to see your team grow with us here at Enterprise. If you would like to connect with the Honest Jobs team, you can reach them at honestjobs.co. Thanks so much for tuning in, guys. See ya!

Harley: [00:07:56] Thank you so much.