A great resume, solid experience and impressive interview skills can take you a long way when it comes to hunting for a job. But many employers are now looking for candidates who have another important tool in their grasp – the ability to appropriately manage credit. This is reflected most often in a good credit score.
A growing number of employers are checking job applicants’ credit as part of the screening process. The Washington Times has reported that 60 percent of employers now check job applicants’ credit reports. Five years ago, only 42 percent did so, according to the Times report.
This can be unsettling news in today’s economy, when many people are seeking work and struggling to meet financial commitments at the same time. Whether your credit score is less than perfect or your report is squeaky clean, you should still be aware of how credit checks by potential employers could affect you.
A potential employer will not be able to check your credit without asking your permission. You’ll need to give them your Social Security number and likely sign a consent form.
If you’re concerned that a blemish on your credit history might make you less hireable, it might be worth it to add an explanatory statement to your credit report or simply explain ahead of time. While credit experts generally agree that such statements probably won’t have much positive impact with potential creditors, employers might view your statement differently.
Ultimately, only you can decide if an opportunity is worth allowing a potential employer access to your credit history. But as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession and more unemployed people compete for fewer jobs, the practice of employers checking candidates’ credit scores isn’t likely to disappear any time soon.