Patrick DeBruler was down on his luck when he walked into Champion Chevrolet of Avon, in Avon, Ind., last summer to pick up a job application.
DeBruler, who had once owned a mortgage company, said he found himself out of work after struggling with the fallout of a divorce and some problems with his driving record.
"I went through some really bad times in 2014," said DeBruler, 57. "Everything was falling apart."
The stop at Champion proved to be the break DeBruler needed. A year later, he manages the dealership's business development center after starting in its Internet marketing division.
DeBruler is one of several Champion employees hired in the past two years under a policy that grants every applicant an interview, regardless of job experience or background.
"I don't care who it is," said Champion's operating partner, Tim Roberts, who instituted the policy. "If you come in off the street and you fill out that application, you deserve an interview because you took the time and effort to come to us. And we need to give the courtesy back to you."
Those who can't stay for an interview at the time they apply can come back later.
The thinking behind the policy is a belief in the value of second chances, and in the idea that you never know who a candidate may turn out to be, Roberts said. Potential employees, he said, should be treated with the same courtesy as potential customers.
"They're no different than a customer walking into the door," Roberts said. "You may have that next, great key employee walking through your door and if you didn't take that time to interview them or give them the initial interview, you may never see them again."