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The Review

Second chance hiring: A win-win strategy for startups and talent


Startups, here’s how you can fill talent gaps and foster inclusivity in the workplace with Spotwork

In the startup ecosystem, we can all unanimously nod our heads to one truth: there’s just not enough talent to go around. 

Finding talent is fundamental to startup growth, yet many startups are missing out on qualified talent without realizing it. A staffing marketplace and workforce management solution, DMZ Innisfil startup Spotwork connects companies to reliable and qualified talent. By helping startups think outside the box, Spotwork can help your company champion diversity and inclusion while filling crucial talent gaps.  

Due to workplace bias, individuals who are justice-involved have historically been an underserved talent pool. However, criminal records can often result from petty offences and are not always an accurate reflection of a candidate’s ability to deliver. This can include traffic violations, disorderly conduct and narcotics — all non-violent crimes that were done without the intention to harm a person or property. 

Today, many Canadian companies remain unwilling to hire people with a record, even if they have the skills and qualifications for the position. The result? We’re overlooking roughly four million Canadians who have a record.

We sat down with the Co-Founders of Spotwork, Darren Perlman and Daniel Copeland, to learn more about how they provide second chances, how startups can tap into overlooked talent pools and the benefits of seeking out these candidates. Here’s what they had to say:

Let’s address the stigma around hiring people who are justice-involved. What biases and misconceptions exist, and why are they harmful to companies and talent?

“The prejudices that arise from hiring justice-involved individuals typically stem from misconceptions linking their past actions to current behaviour. This is harmful to not only the company but the applicant as well, as it undermines their potential for rehabilitation and growth. 

By embracing better hiring practices that are more inclusive to a diverse audience, companies can unlock a hidden pool of skilled individuals seeking a second chance.” 

Tell me about the moment that made you realize the need for Spotwork. What inspired you to create a platform?

“We noticed how our previous employers faced significant difficulties recruiting and managing a large workforce. Additionally, we saw a lack of support for marginalized Canadians to find meaningful work opportunities. This led us to create a solution that provides employers with a labour pool that fills in-demand frontline jobs.” 

How does Spotwork differentiate itself from traditional hiring solutions, and what inspired you to focus on connecting businesses with talent who have a history with the law?

“Unlike traditional staffing methods, which are usually biased, expensive and time-consuming, Spotwork is a cost-effective solution with cutting-edge technology and a streamlined hiring process. Our platform facilitates seamless matchmaking between skilled individuals and businesses. 

We offer a wide range of employment options, understanding the importance of flexibility in building a tailored workforce. Unlike agencies specializing in specific roles, our platform accommodates workers from diverse industries, career stages and skill levels to ensure a strong fit for the talent and business.”

For startups that may be on the fence about giving individuals a second chance, what would you say to them?

“These individuals bring unique perspectives, resilience and a strong desire for redemption to the workplace. Providing such employment opportunities fosters inclusivity, demonstrates corporate responsibility, supports rehabilitation and, above all else, creates a positive societal impact.”

Startups should consider expanding their horizons by hiring justice-involved individuals — it offers a chance for talent diversification, social impact and breaking the cycle of reoffending.” 

What steps are taken to ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process on Spotwork? And how can a startup use Spotwork to start the hiring process?

“Our platform has been designed with fairness and impartiality in mind. It utilizes algorithms that select the best candidates for job opportunities without bias. 

When using Spotwork as a startup, the hiring process is simple. All you need to do is create a company profile, and in just a few easy steps, you can post various job openings and view a vast pool of potential candidates to join you in your success.”

What’s the broader impact Spotwork envisions when fostering diversity and inclusion within the workforce? How do you see this benefiting startups and talent in the long run?

“Spotwork has a vision of creating a world where everyone has an equal opportunity in the workforce, regardless of race, age, gender identity or background. By promoting diverse and inclusive workplace environments, startups and talent benefit as it expands talent pools, guarantees equal opportunities, and demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, ultimately attracting top talent.”

Any success stories you’d like to point to?

“2nd Time Around Tires operates one of the largest winter tire operations in Etobicoke and has successfully employed six workers through Spotwork’s Second Chances Program. 

Despite initial skepticism, hiring manager Rob Altbaum praised Spotwork for the effectiveness of its program and the quality of its workers, who showed genuine enthusiasm and commitment to their roles. He noted, ‘The workers who were coming out wanted to be there. This was more than just a job for them — it was an opportunity to establish a career.’”

Ready to transform your startup’s workforce and champion inclusivity? Click here to explore Spotwork today and connect with their diverse community of dedicated and talented workers.


If you’re inspired to follow in Spotwork’s footsteps, check out how DMZ can support your business to the next level. Incubator applications for the March 2024 cohort are now open. Apply here