Employers See Credit Histories
With unemployed Americans so common that Congress is proposing legislation to extend unemployment benefits, many employers have begun checking the credit histories of potential hires. CNN Money reports that 60% of employers use credit checks as part of the screening process for at least some of their new hires.
Governments Don’t Support Policy
The trouble with this, of course, is that requiring a spotless credit history from someone who has been unemployed—and experienced the financial difficulties that entails— makes it only more difficult for a potential employee to qualify for a position. As of now, the histories are being required for all manner of jobs, but state governments in Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have made it illegal for a potential employer to request a credit history unless they can prove it directly relates to the job in question.
Always Pay Your Bills
There’s an obvious lesson to be taken from this: be vigilant about your credit. We already know that a low credit score damages credibility with lenders. While employers cannot access credit scores, they are given a history of missed bill payments, debts, and bankruptcies. Consequently, meeting your current bill payments should be your first financial priority, even before extricating yourself from pre-existing debt. Don’t let a spotty credit history overshadow intelligence, experience, and enthusiasm to keep you from a job.