Four Steps To Take When Potential Employers Check Your Credit

You applied for the perfect job and the employer even called you in for an interview. Everything was going along swimmingly until the hiring manager mentioned the next steps, including a check of your credit.

Increasingly more employers are performing credit checks in addition to traditional background checks on potential new hires. In some cases, the employees may be required to handle money directly or even indirectly. In other situations, employers may look at credit history as an indicator of responsibility, integrity and reliability–or a lack thereof.

Whether your credit report has a few minor blemishes or shows major damage, you can do more than simply sit on your hands and wait for a rejection letter. Learn how you can assess, clarify and resolve the money issues that might keep you from landing the position of your dreams.

  1. Check your own credit first. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies every year. Knowing exactly what prospective employers will be looking at will help you know how to proceed.
  2. Dispute any errors you discover. A government study estimates that there are inaccuracies on 1 in 20 consumers' credit reports. Send a written letter disputing any mistakes to the credit reporting company or companies listing the account. The company will investigate your claim and correct the information if they agree with your statement.
  3. Be honest and upfront. If you are aware that your credit is less than stellar, revealing this information along with your plans to rectify the situation shows a potential employer that you take ownership for your mistakes and take action to resolve them.
  4. Be prepared to respond and explain. In some instances, poor choices result in bad credit, but more often than not, circumstances led to your flawed report. For instance, when you share with a hiring manager that you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy following a divorce or have outstanding bills from a medical emergency, he may be more willing to work with you than he would if you left your credit woes to his imagination.
  5. Work on cleaning it up. If you don't secure the position, consider it a chance to improve your credit and impress a future employer. Seek help from a credit counselor, financial advisor or bankruptcy attorney if you feel overwhelmed by the task. You're not alone and professionals are there to help you succeed.