A credit check can be a very important part of the employment screening process. “Why does your credit rating count anyway?” In some cases employers need to know whether an applicant can be trusted with company credit cards and other assets. However, in a general sense, your credit score could be viewed as a reflection of your integrity and character as an individual. It may seem overly simplistic and even unfair to reduce a person’s redeeming qualities to a mere three digit number. However, take a moment and think about all that is required to maintain a fair credit score. Most basically, your credit score tells strangers that you do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.
As a basic rule, potential employers typically find a credit score of 750 or better attractive when considering a candidate for employment. If you are not aware of what your credit score is, checking your rating before beginning your job search is always a good idea. Checking your own score will not hurt your rating and can be done absolutely for free. Ultimately, accessing and becoming aware of this information ahead of time may help your credit score if you take the opportunity to begin working on any necessary repairs. It will also definitely help your job search as you will eliminate the possibility of unexpected surprises that may disqualify you late in the hiring process which can be an extreme disappointment.
In the financial sector, employers often use credit screenings as a part of the pre-employment vetting process. It serves as a preview of the individual’s character, decision-making skills, and naturally as a way to measure their ability to handle money. Potential employees for banks or even Wall Street must be able to show and prove their trustworthiness. Unfortunately, a high debt-to-salary ratio can easily be construed as a sign of unreliability.
The good news about finding unflattering and inaccurate items on your credit report is that you have the opportunity and the right to dispute them and have them removed. The drawback may be that you will have to become somewhat of an expert about these laws, because as powerful as they are when used by someone like a competent and knowledgeable credit correction agency or attorney, they can also be ineffective and a waste of valuable time when used by a well-meaning but ill-informed DIY’er. Use all of your available resources, including us!
Let’s say you decide to clean up a few items on your credit report by paying down some old debt prior to beginning your job search? You should be rewarded for your initiative and efforts to take responsibility for your own debt, right? Well, not necessarily. The moment you pay off that old debt, the clock on the negative item starts ticking again, because unfortunately now that old debt becomes new debt, and down goes your credit score. Quite contrary to what you expected and intended in the first place.
If you didn’t know that your credit rating could be a pre-employment issue not to worry, you’re not alone. An important factor to remember is that you must be willing to keep fighting for your credit score because nobody has more to gain from it’s improvement than you. The big three credit bureaus don’t particularly care about helping you raise your credit score and they may be less than responsive or helpful when you initially begin the process. Now that you know better, you can do better by taking steps to make sure your credit is not going to be an issue when you are seeking employment.