It’s 2016 and the reality is, there are a lot of people looking for jobs. The unemployment rate is hovering right around 5%, and according to Careerbuilder as many as 75% of full-time employees are considering new employment opportunities.
If you’re one of the many scouting out a new opportunity, you might want to add one more step to your to-do list when you apply. Consider checking your credit.
We all know a unique cover letter, a professional resume, and good interview skills are key to landing the position, but have you considered the impact your credit rating might have on the employers final decision?
Here are four insider tips to help you understand how your credit rating can be used when you’re interviewing for your dream job.
Employers have to play by the rules, and the Fair Credit Report Act limits how and when your credit is accessed. According to the FCRA, your employer must first have your consent to access your credit information.
In addition, if the employer decides not to hire you because of something they find in the report, they are required to give you a copy of the report first. This law was put in place to protect you as a consumer in case of an error on your report that is negatively impacting your credit, and to give you an opportunity to fix it.
When an employer requests access to your credit information they will get a modified version of your full credit report. While most of the information of your credit history will be the same, several key pieces will be omitted, including your actual credit score.
According to credit reporting service Experian, employers in industries where their employees might hold sensitive positions like defense, pharmaceutical or financial services are those who most commonly request credit reports.
Credit information can also be used by a company to better understand if a candidate is reliable, trustworthy, and responsible. A history of delinquent behavior could contribute to a company deciding a candidate does not have the organization or maturity it takes to be successful in the position.
In 2014 the Society for Human Resource Management published an article saying that pulling a credit report is “becoming a disfavored tool” in the hiring landscape. They cite state regulations and restrictions as making the reports a potential for more trouble than they are worth.
As the technology related to background checks continues to evolve and improve, employers are better able to reduce their risk and understand their potential candidates without needing to take the extra step, and incur the additional expense, of obtaining a credit report.
In summary, when you apply for a new job, know that an employer has the option of asking for your permission to obtain your credit report as part of the hiring process. It was a popular practice several years ago, but in 2016 chances are good that having some dings in your credit history won’t keep you from landing your dream job. It’s still a good idea to check your credit report regularly to ensure there aren’t any errors, and to be prepared for what an employer will see if they also check your credit.