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Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Pre-Employment Background Checks and Your Credit

For some, consenting to a pre-employment background check(Click here) isn’t a problem. These individuals feel secure knowing they’ve been honest on their resumes and have no criminal history, so why should they worry?

Turns out there’s now another criteria employers are using to decide if job applicants are suitable for their companies; credit reports. Because of this, paying bills late and other financial issues can cause trouble when it comes time to look for a job.

Employers are now using job candidates’ credit scores to get an idea of what kind of person they are. Hiring managers who are jumping on this trend view pro-longed, unexplainable money problems as a sign that the person in question may be irresponsible, inattentive and even dishonest.

“We’ve seen a radical shift over the last two years toward more background checks in general and credit checks in particular,” said Sherri Mitchell, who is the CEO of All About People, a Phoenix Arizona based hiring firm. “Employers seem to be asking, ‘If somebody can’t handle their own money, how can they manage ours?”

That thought process is one of the reasons that background checks that involve looking at credit scores are particularly popular for positions that will be responsible for company finances or handling a sizeable amount of money. Employers aren’t only worried about mismanagement of funds. They’re also concerned that an individual with problematic finances may be tempting to steal from the company to make their own lives a little easier.

“An employer might pull your report if you have access to a large amount of cash, access to confidential information, use expensive equipment or have access to company credit cards,” explained Kevin Kilmas, president of pre-employment screening firm Clarifacts, which is also in Phoenix.

According to Kilmas, employers usually focus on whether or not the job applicant has paid their bills on time consistently with few exception and if their actions have caused the need for collection efforts. If the last is true, then hiring managers may also look into how such issues were resolved.

With identity theft on the rise, the black marks on an applicants credit may not even be their’s. Because of this, it is important for all to keep track of their credit.

“"As a job applicant, you should be intimately familiar with what's in your credit report," said Kilmas.

He went on to suggest that job applicants should request their credit ratings from all three agencies that monitor scores. Since records and reported problems often only show up the records of one credit bureau, this is extremely important. Everyone is entitled to a free report from each of the three once a year.


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