It is a startling fact for the 80% of Americans who do not realize that bad credit can affect their chances of getting a job, according to a recent survey by VISA. By law, employers have the right to refuse to hire job applicants because of their credit histories.
Whether you side with the employers who feel your credit history is a good predictor of your judgment, character, and work performance or you side with consumer advocates who feel this practice is an unfair method of discriminating against job applicants, the information in your credit reports could play a role in your being hired for a new position.
Tory Johnson of Good Morning America recently authored the article How Bad Credit Can Affect Job Prospects in which there are a number of good tips to keep in mind when applying for a new job. First off, know if the employer will be requesting a copy of your credit reports. Prospective employers are required by law to get your permission before conducting a credit check so look through the fine print of any employment application. Is it usually in the fine print where you lend your consent upon signing the application.
If you have great credit, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but if your credit reports show some payment issues or other credit problems, you may need to take steps to minimize their impact. Of course, if you don’t know what is on your credit reports, now is the time to find out.
If your credit score is sub-par because of questionable items in your credit reports, work to get these items removed. If you do not have time to address these questionable items before applying for a job, then it is still in your best interest to dispute these items for the future, but for the time being, you will have to try to help a prospective employer see past your bad credit.
If you know an employer is going to perform a credit check, consider coming clean immediately instead of trying to perform damage control after they have seen your credit reports. Many people with bad credit have perfectly reasonable circumstances in their past such as unexpected unemployment, divorce, or medical issues that can significantly impact their credit rating. After explaining your situation confidently and truthfully, you may find that employers will be sympathetic to your troubles.