In a word, yes.
But before you worry, it’s important for you to know there are several facets to job applicant credit reports that you need to be aware of. Here are the facts and what you can do if your credit is less than stellar.
Not without your ok
Although potential employers have the right to request your credit report, they can only do so with your written authorization. Of course, if you refuse to authorize their request, you may be jeopardizing your opportunity to obtain the desired position. In most cases, when a company requests your credit report they are looking for how well you have managed money in the past and what kinds of debt you have accumulated.
Only when it’s relevant
If you’re applying for a position that has no direct correlation with the company’s finances, including handling or collecting money, there should be no need to delve into your credit history. That being said, many employers have credit checks built into their hiring policy and therefore, it’s just an across-the-board element that everyone who’s applying has to contend with.
You do have rights
In addition to the fact that they cannot run a credit check on you without your permission, if you consent and the employer decides to reject you, they are required to send you a warning notice and a copy of the report. They must also give you an official adverse action notice once they have made their decision.
They can’t see your score
While many people use the terms interchangeably, a credit score and a credit report are not one in the same. Basically, your score is the numerical value that is based upon your credit history. Your credit report, on the other hand, is a detailed description of all your credit activity, accounts and any collections or long-term debt. When a potential employer runs a credit check, they can only see certain information on your report and not your actual score.
It’s prohibited in some states
Depending on where you live, it may be illegal for your potential employer to run a credit report on you. Several states have implemented laws that prohibit employers from running credit checks or have initiated compliance standards that limit how and when they can use them to make hiring decisions. If you are actively seeking employment, it is a good idea to check what the laws are in your state.
Looking for a new job is a stressful process and when you add to it the fact that you may have to consent to a credit check, it becomes even more daunting, especially for those who’ve had financial strife in the past. To alleviate some of your concern, it is recommended that you run a credit check on yourself beforehand, and ensure that all is accurate. If there are errors, you can address them and try to get them corrected. If there is anything negative on your report, you can also discuss it with your potential employee. Being upfront can often be very helpful and demonstrates your forthrightness.
As more and more employers add background checks to their hiring process, all job seekers need to be aware of their rights and what information potential employers can get access to.