Some Employers Running Credit Checks On Job Applicants

By Staff
July 23, 2009

Job seekers are increasingly being required to submit to routine credit checks as a prerequisite for employment, causing outrage among those who have been unable to pay bills on time as a result of job loss.

"Americans' credit scores are getting lower because they've been laid off and are having trouble paying bills," writes Lynn B., who was quoted on, "and they can't get hired to make money to pay the bills because their credit score is 'too low,' even though they may normally have a good score. I'm just kind of shocked."

According to Sam Davidson, customer service manager with, the practice is meant to help employers determine that an applicant is "financially stable, not overextended, and meeting his or her obligations in a responsible manner." Moreover, said Jay Meschke, president of executive search firm EFL Associates, the information is significant when comparing applicants.

"If, for example, an applicant reports a significant level of personal debt obligation or credit delinquencies that might distract that person from his/her job responsibilities, then a hiring entity may take that information into consideration when comparing such an applicant to another comparative candidate without such distractions," Meschke told MSNBC.

MSNBC points out that such credit checks are entirely legal, and job seekers do not have to agree to it-- but refusing it very well may cost them a job. Indeed, Ecommerce Journal reports that credit checks are becoming standard for the hiring process, but job seekers with bad credit can show their integrity and honesty by admitting to past mistakes.

"It's best to tell an interviewer about your credit history as soon as possible," advised Dianne Gubin of California-based Tech Exec Partners in an interview with "The more you reveal up front, the more likely that you will continue with the interview."

Kimberly Schneiderman, a New York-based job search consultant, echoed the advice. "Employers will see that you have the integrity to own up to a potentially embarrassing situation, and it will also point favorably to your forthrightness and honesty, which are two highly regarded attributes in most jobs."

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