Case StudiesGoodwill Houston

Goodwill Houston Screens Faster & Saves Time With GoodHire


Goodwill provides education, training, and job opportunities to people with barriers to employment. One of the largest employers in the greater Houston area, Goodwill Houston operates a network of Stores, Donation Centers, and Job Connection Centers, staffed by more than 2,200 employees. When the nonprofit needed an easier, more efficient way to screen job candidates (many of whom have criminal records) and volunteers needing to meet court-ordered community service hours, it turned to GoodHire. GoodHire is the only background check provider that empowers job candidates to provide context about criminal records directly on their background check results—a major selling point for Goodwill, who needed a streamlined way to understand candidates’ criminal histories.


Time-consuming and manual processes hinder ability to scale

Slow turnaround times prohibit candidate and volunteer onboarding

Unable to automate processes that support second chance hiring


Customized platform meets Goodwill Houston’s unique screening needs

User-friendly tools and communication support 3 types of screening needs

Candidate workflow includes “Comments for Context”


Centralized, easy-to-use dashboard gives visibility into screening process

Automated processes improve overall efficiency of the screening workflow

Faster turnaround times keep more applicants in the hiring pool

Goodwill Houston Is A Second Chance Employer

Through its operation of retail stores, donation and reemployment centers, the nonprofit is changing lives through the power of work. To provide a safe place for volunteers, minors (employees under the age of 18), and program participants, Goodwill conducts background checks on all job candidates and court-ordered volunteers. “We know most of these people have criminal records—that’s why they come to us. But we have to check their background to better understand who they are, what records they have, where they’re allowed to work, and whether they’re being totally upfront and honest with us—credibility is important,” said Sheri Lytle, VP of Human Services at Goodwill Houston.

GoodHire went the distance to customize their screening platform to meet our specific needs—streamlining what had been complex and confusing into a simple and easy process that anyone on our team can use with minimal training.

For Goodwill, Frequent Employee Turnover Is A Blessing & A Curse

Goodwill faces high employee turnover rates (85%). For Goodwill, this is a good problem to have since many of their employees go on to find better, higher paying jobs—that’s their mission, after all. However, it’s a major hiring challenge because it means Goodwill needs to screen new job candidates frequently and quickly, an average of 50 candidates per week, and the cost to conduct screens was high. To complicate matters, Goodwill’s existing screening provider required Goodwill’s hiring team to input each candidate’s personal details in order to start a check, which was time-consuming, and the turnaround time to get the results back was slow—often taking between 5-7 days. When background checks take too long, Goodwill loses the opportunity to help applicants who move on to try to find work elsewhere.

Getting Statements About Criminal Histories Required Extra Work

The real challenge, however, is addressing a pipeline of candidates and volunteers with criminal records. Goodwill was challenged to efficiently assess each candidate’s history because there was no automated way for candidates to supply them with statements about their criminal records—this important information tells Goodwill more about the person’s individual story beyond their record. Says Sheri, “A lot of background check providers think that it’s up to the end user, or the employer, or whoever is using the background check service to take the statement, because that’s outside the system.”

Without a built-in process for getting a candidate’s story, Goodwill’s hiring team had to do it manually, which not only slowed the background check process significantly, but also provided poor user experience for candidates who needed to submit additional paperwork.

Goodwill Meets GoodHire, & It’s A Match In More Ways Than One

When Sheri connected with GoodHire, she made it clear that Goodwill needed a background check solution that could:

  • Increase the overall efficiency of the hiring team through automated processes
  • Enable candidates to input their data and complete the process on any device
  • Deliver faster background check turnaround times
  • Offer customized screening packages at more affordable prices
  • Meet the unique needs of a candidate pool who have criminal records

Goodwill initially chose GoodHire because the platform enables candidates to input their own information into the system and provide e-consent on a variety of devices. Streamlining the candidate workflow saves the hiring team a lot of time, from 15-20 hours per week to 5 hours. Now, all they need to do to start a check is email a link to the candidate or volunteer. Further, GoodHire’s employer dashboard provided Goodwill with a centralized way to review all of the candidates’ information in one place and see what the status is for each background check. 

Now, thanks to a better candidate experience and improved communications, candidates are able to quickly submit their information, which speeds the hiring process and allows employees to get to work faster. Turnaround times for background check results have improved significantly too. Background checks with their previous provider used to take 5-7 days; now, results are usually returned in 24-48 hours, 80% faster than previous turnaround times.

With GoodHire’s platform in place, we’re able to address the particular challenges of screening individuals who face barriers to employment, while also empowering them to own their past and tell their own story.

Striving To Meet Goodwill Houston’s Unique Needs

During the initial onboarding to the GoodHire platform, Goodwill discovered that there was no support for individuals under the age of 18. Since Goodwill hires individuals between the ages of 16-18, this presented an obstacle to screening 100% of its candidates. To address the issue, GoodHire worked to update its platform to include the ability to screen minors that are 16 and 17 years old.

Further, to meet Goodwill’s need to screen three different groups of people—candidates for full-time employment, volunteers, and temporary staff—GoodHire’s engineering and product development teams worked to develop three customized screening packages and deliverables that are tailored to each use case. It was another way GoodHire was able to meet the nonprofit’s unique screening and hiring needs.

Goodwill & GoodHire Share A Similar Philosophy

For Sheri, identifying a screening partner that could meet all her background check needs, and supports giving candidates a second chance, was icing on the cake. “When I found GoodHire, I thought, finally, a background check provider that’s figured out how to support second chance hiring within their system!” GoodHire is the first background check provider to deliver “Comments for Context,” a respectful and inclusive way for candidates to take a direct role in providing information about the circumstances surrounding their criminal records. “That’s where I really saw GoodHire as being on the cutting-edge, because a lot of background check providers haven’t quite figured out how to do that,” said Sheri. The information candidates provide helps Goodwill’s hiring team assess where to place candidates and what type of job training they qualify for—plus, the built-in workflow speeds the hiring process.

Sheri appreciates that GoodHire empowers candidates to tell their story upfront. She also likes that it gives candidates an opportunity to review their record for accuracy, and if there’s anything on their results that they feel shouldn’t be on their record, they can easily file a dispute through GoodHire’s platform. It’s another important way for Goodwill’s employees to take ownership of their background, and work to improve their employment opportunities.

“GoodHire has really simplified the screening process for us. Candidate communication is straightforward and streamlined, everyone has visibility into the status of each background check, and the GoodHire support team has consistently gone above and beyond to meet our needs,” says Sheri. “And because of the similarities in our names, people often think GoodHire is an extension of the Goodwill brand—it’s a perfect fit!”

You can be a happy GoodHire customer, too. Let us show you how GoodHire makes employment screening surprisingly easy.