Nowadays, fewer and fewer organizations are conducting in-depth background checks as part of their hiring process. And a credit report is generally pretty low on the list. In fact, only about a quarter of companies will do so as part of their application process, and this is generally only when the position is directly related to managing finances or accounts.
So, could a poor credit score keep you from landing your dream job? Short answer: Maybe. Let’s take a look at when and why this could happen, and what your options are.
It depends on the job that you are applying for.
Your credit history could be part of a background check if you are applying for a position that will deal with finances directly. For example, if you need to manage accounts and expenses. You are also more likely to have your credit run if you are applying for a high level, C-suite position. After all, the company will want to ensure that their own finances will be in good hands.
It can be an indicator of responsibility.
Your potential employer may use a credit check as a way to determine if you are organized and fiscally responsible. However, they will need to have written permission in order to conduct this check, so you will know if it is something you should expect. Take this as an opportunity to show your trustworthiness in other ways, like highlighting past professional responsibilities and pointing to references that can speak to these qualities.
It may impact your ability to accept a position.
Regardless of whether or not the company that you are applying for actually conducts a credit report, poor credit may mean that you are unable to even accept the new role. For example, if you land your dream job across the country, a low credit score may make it extremely difficult to relocate or to secure a down payment or lease. These are separate things that you will need to take into consideration when applying for jobs.
Poor credit? What should you do?
Remember, there is a big difference between having a few late payments or a high balance and having a lawsuit on your financial record. Also, just because the hiring company runs a credit report, does not necessarily mean that you will be disqualified. It is just one of many factors in their decision-making process.
If there is a stain on your financial history, it might be a good idea to be transparent from the beginning. Give the hiring manager some additional context – your honesty will speak volumes and may even help your candidacy.