Some people are being turned down for jobs because they have bad credit. Nearly half of all employers check credit reports to screen folks during the application screening process, according to the Herald of Monterey County.
That means that many unemployed folks who are struggling because of the recession may be viewed negatively by job recruiters.
"Companies ... want an insight into how an individual conducts their own life, because that's typically how they're going to conduct business inside your business," Mary M. Massad of personnel management company Administaff told the Herald.
But although checking credit reports gives a snapshot of a person's finances, it doesn't always give the whole story. For instance, how much are recruiters taking into account the fact that many people were paying their bills on time until they got laid off?
Also, how would they regard a situation where a person is going through a divorce and being held responsible for debt incurred by their ex? Are they more lenient in a situation where a job applicant has been the victim of identity therft?
Furthermore, what happens if a company rejects a job applicant based upon a credit report that contains errors? Will they be willing to take a second look at the person if they can explain their situation?
While many people knowingly give employers permission to run credit checks during their job hunt, others may miss that credit reports will be pulled because they don't read job applications closely. To avoid problems, job hunters should always read through all paperwork before signing.
If you're job hunting and haven't looked at your credit report in the past year, request a free copy from annualcreditreport.com to make sure there's nothing in it that will derail your chances of getting hired.
But running credit checks is legal most of the time as long as job applicants have received notification they will occur, so job hunters may have no choice but to go along with them if they want to be considered for certain jobs.