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Credit Scores & Job Offers

March 31, 2008 10:31 AM

We continue to hear from women who say they've been turned down from a
job--even after interviewing successfully--because of poor credit. Some of
these people are recently divorced and the low scores
are no fault of their own. Without a job, they can't pay down their debt,
but job offers aren't forthcoming. It's the ultimate Catch-22. We want to
hear from you:

Post your comments on our blog about credit scores and job offers. Should a
candidate's credit impact her qualifications for employment? Some employers
argue that poor credit is a sign of irresponsibility,
which is a character flaw. Others believe that someone with poor credit is
more apt to steal money, merchandise or valuable trade secrets, especially
if they have access to it. We want to know your thoughts
now.

If you've been turned down for a job in the last six months--and the
employer has cited your credit score as the reason for not hiring you, we
want to hear your story for possible inclusion in a national TV
segment. Send an email to media@womenforhire.com -- put credit in the
subject line -- with the following details: The company and position you
were turned down for, when this happened, how you know
you were rejected because of your credit score, how you'd rate your credit,
your name and contact information (phone and email), along with any other
relevant details. We will not share this information
without contacting you first to discuss further.

Comments (33)

I have been out of work for 20 months trying to get over a cruel divorce. Prior to the divorce my credit was excellent. Now I am trying to build a new life and have been looking for a job. I have filled out my application with a very in depth resume, however, after I saw the credit check my heart dropped. Another river to cross, to be pre-judged that you might steal from the company. What happens to people that already has a job when their credit score is checked soon no one will have a job. Americans should be applaud trying to step up to the plate to take care of their responsibility..

It sucks that employers today are looking for the slightest excuse not to hire some jobseekers. They usually bring up the applicant’s credit report that may make it possible to reject them based on low credit scores. It is foul and rude; not to mention disgraceful and demeaning.

Except for positions that require direct handling money or accounts, this should not even be a factor in considering which applicants to hire. This brings discrimination to another level, where the skills and competencies of highly-skilled workers are disregarded.

It seriously impairs the chances of honest people looking for a way to provide for themselves and their family. I tip my hat to the legislators pushing to eliminate this practice.

Some say that scores that are way below 600 spell trouble. You should check yours just to be on the safe side and do something about it, so that when you look for a job, these companies can’t discriminate and turn you down based on such a petty thing.

It's very good page I would say the facts I found helpful. I've made note of it and definately will take a look at back again later on. Thank you.

As I was reading then skimming through the myriad of comments above, another reason came to mind. On a blog with many comments I often do not comment even though I may have something to say. I may be repeating something already said and often do not have the time to read all comments that have already been made.

Have been seeking this and discovered even more than anticipated here. Thanks.

Thank you so much for this extraordinarily cool column!

No employer has cited my credit report as the reason why they won't hire me. However, I've gotten numerous rejections for jobs I'm well qualified for but passed up on without reason. Employees are a dime-a-dozen these days and employers know this, are outright rude and belittle applicants (I've experienced this already) and have been asked to submit a credit report for jobs. That's discrimination, and there also needs to be solid provable reason why an applicant is not considered for employment at a job they are qualified to do.

I believe it says in our application's
that they won't discriminate well this is a form of discrimination I for one am not going to stand aside at let them do this to us, the best way to handle this is take the Corporate office who did not hire you/us/them/we whatever and Sue the crap out of em for Discrimination everyone has some kind of financial whoa at one time or another look at our current situation, thanks to Bush and Obama our children and there childrens children are going to suffer and for what? The trickle down effect does not work, I took accounting and this is how i figured this out if we were to take the money Obama gave to CEO's and whatever else and give it to the consumer to pay down debt, each household should of have gotten depending on how many in your home; I have six we should have received 15,000 for my wife and 15,000
for me, the majority of mine would go to savings the rest to pay debt and thus helping us to spend more its called spending up, not hard quite simple but of course we have elected a bunch of morons yet again way to go America I hope your all happy with yourselves, sorry if i offend any of you but well i see Obama as he really is a moron.

Not just for women. How can we organize to create a law to ban credit reports used to determine capability to perform a job? I think it is outright discrimination, as any employer can by pass this "check list item" and hire someone they know. My husband cannot get a job because of his credit report. It is no more than discrimination and must be banned. There are tests companies can administer to determine if you will be competent and honest. There is no test in life to determine your fate when wall street takes us down like dominos and we pay for it the rest of our lives.

I applied for a job to sell shoes at a shoe store. I passed all the test and crimmal background check. I was told how much I would receive a how much I would make a hour. But they did a credit report on me and it came back low. I lost my job 6 months ago. I was very ill with cancer. Now that I am back on my feet again with clean health, I am looking for a job. Yes, my credit score has dropped due to no money coming in. I was told that I had the job. ANd then I received a call that my credit report can back low and I could apply in 6 months. I really don't think they can do that to people like us. I think it is unfair.

Hi
Why in the world is everyone worried about companies checking credit score. Most of us are bankrupt losing our homes from bank scammers and the credit card rules are supported by our goverment. Their all scamming hard working americans. Most americans are working with out benefits and under the table due to hi gas, bankrupsy, caused by our choice of a president that put war, and religion before common sense and were all paying. Look the problem is so corrupt and your all worried about impressing bib business, who never ever and never will care about anything but PROFIT. So all you who have not gone bankrupt do not worry, the time will come when you realize playing by the rules was only for the consumer and not the theives, the gov/big business. Its ok to say the truth, and the truth and saying NO to jobs that discriminate, and it is discrimination.

I'm currently looking for a job and have late payments on my credit report. I'm afraid I will not be able to get my dream job due to the debt I have accumulated in the 2 short years I've been working at my current job.

What shall I do?

Everyone has its own dream job but I have a question here? If you are in your dream job is it the thing you consider to be the point where you are going to called it as "quit". What I mean here is that the point you are going to stop dreaming for anything? what if your dream job does not solve or enough for to pay your monthly bills or any. would you still be satisfied? As far As i have notice People change their career so often for some reason that somehow can't be answer. Even those celebrities that we know also have their own dream job thinking that wow... they are earning quite big!

We'll for me you can't definitely can tell if it's your dream JOB not unless when you are there you are willing be there for a long time or even a lifetime indeed. You can check out the the WOMEN POWER for some encouraging thoughts that can change your life for GOOD!

I just got an offer for my dream job -- contingent on a background check, which includes a credit check. I have over 700 credit score. I don't have any problems getting loans. But a while back, I had several late payments and they are still showing on my credit report. Now I am really worried that they will use those late payments against me to rescind the offer.

I was recently offered a position with a large non-profit agency and due to my low credit score, the offer was rescinded. I believe this is a totally unfair practice. It's not as if I (or any of the previous comments) have committed a crime. There comes a time in everyone's life where things may get a little rough. To be over qualified, accept a pay cut, and still be turned down due to a credit score is ridiculous. I hope to see the day where this practice is ruled as discrimination.

How can this be legal? I just got turned down for a job because I had filed bankruptcy a few years back. I was told that people who have filed bankruptcy are "less trustworthy". My heart is broken and am very offended.

Using your credit score is not a fair process. Many things can cause your credit to begin to fall. For example, illness, loss of job, identity stolen, too many inquiries such as when you apply for a new car, or loan, or mortagage etc. Not just not paying your bills. The responsible person can show their responsibility by good work history and stable work history. References from companies and co workers can verify character. Shame on the person who wrote that it shows "low" or "bad" character. Today's time can put any one in a financial crunch, especially the one who lives pay check to pay check and/or with a family or as in my case, loss of an income due to my spouse's disability.

I also have been turned down for jobs which have sited my credit scores for being the reason. I am an experienced retail manager who has worked for multi-million dollar companies. But they don't even want to check references. I can only say to these people that I worked for a manager at one store that I am certain that he had excellent credit. But he stole 250,000.00 from the company by doing refunds to his credit card. I think employers should start looking at their employees who are driving brand new cars and living in brand new homes instead of someone like me who is living paycheck to paycheck and driving a car that breaks down every other day. If I would have been stealing from my previous jobs I wouldn't be having these problems. By the way, most of my bills are from hospitals. And in this day and age who really is going to have A1 credit.

I'm glad to see this issue discussed.I was a consumer fraud and ID theft victim. It took the Santa Monica Consumer Protection unit 18 months to get to the bottom of it. After it was validated and resolved I was given an FTC consumer fraud ID and CRA statement. That put an end to my long term contract career. When recruiters inquire, telling them creates less chances. HR many times pass over simply because they don't want to get caught up in legalities regarding ID Theft victims. Unfortunately, despite resources available overall HR and recruiters do not like it. Electronic pre-screens don't pick up the information always in CRA's and if statement is placed on consumer release form it is often overlooked. California is an 'at will'(without cause) termination state, thus it is very easy here not to employ because of credit.

I work as a finance recruiter in the Human Resources organization for a large corporation (a global leader in shipping & logistics). We do not utilize credit checks when make hiring decisions. The reason being, there are a number of delicate legal issues that can occur when this is the primary determining factor for not selecting a candidate. One major consideration is how the use of such tools can "adversely impact" potential candidates that fall into protected classes (i.e. women, people who have reached a certain age, minorities, etc...). For example, if it can be deemed that one of these groups maybe excluded more often because they experience credit difficulties at a higher rate because of factors out of their control (i.e. divorce tends to effect women's credit scores negatively more often than men, or young adults can have a hard time building a positive credit score due to not being able to obtain credit) then the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can bring findings against the organization who utilizes the credit scores without making policies to safeguard against such unintentional discrimination.

I will use myself as an example. I am a single female who found myself a first time home buyer this past summer when the mortgage crisis began. I discovered I had a few issues and some errant information and was actively working with a service to clear them up. As it turns out, I was also looking for a new job at the same time and was trying to minimize my credit activities (esp. inquiries) until my loan package became finalized. I had two job offers on the table at the time and was seriously considering going with company A (a medium sized services company). When they presented their offer for a Human Resource Generalist, the VP of Human Resources mentioned it would be predicated on my passing the standard criminal background check, educational & employment verification, drug screen and a credit check. I explained that I did not have any problems with any of those screenings, however I would like to know what their decision criterion for using the credit check would be. She told me that they had no real defined definition of what was an acceptable score, but that they were looking for a pattern of "responsibility". I also asked who was required to complete the credit check and the response was only all of HR and Accounting (even though most of those employees do not have access to money). The clincher was when I asked who would be viewing the returned report, it would be my future co-worker who was an HR Generalist at a peer level.

The fact that company "A" had no set parameters for accepting or declining employment was a big red flag. They were so gun - ho to measure others' responsibility they did not consider theirs appropriately.

Through the process I learned that it is ok to ask a few important questions:

*What is the measuring criteria used (what type of report)?

*What is the criterion for a positive or negative decision?

*Who views the report?

* Will there be any opportunity to clarify any information on the report?

I hope this helps to encourage and possibly understand why many employers are leery of the credit check as a pre - employment screening unless the future employee will have access to corporate monies.

After reading this, I am perplexed as to my next move. I will probably lose my sales joy by the end of the month, due to low sales. I am just making it on my income now. Soon to be without a job and heading for temporary unemployment, I have considered credit counciling, or bankrupcy, to get rid of some of my credit card debt. Which, by the way, mounted after divorce and learning to live on one income. What can I do to minimize the effects on job opportunities?

"If you don't pay your bills you are essentially stealing..": I agree totally.

"I think credit is CERTAINLY indicative of a person's honesty, trustworthiness, and level of responsibility. "
I disagree. Good or great credit doesn't make you trustworthy or honest. Just look at the heads of major corporations.

I have worked at several different places.
I went back to school to do anything else but what i did before. I have a serial bully they call up say God knows what and i have been MOBBED at 5 places.
You ask how much turnover have you had ?
they either DO NOT PAY ATTENTION or lie, I understand the work has to get done but PLEASE FIX THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT.
Piles of work ,people dumping and screwing up other peoples work for their sick entertainment.
I have applied at every temp agency they do not even want to work with me. I was a good loyal employee if this RUNNING PEOPLE OUT OF JOBS were not going on.Who knows where we would be?

I really agree with Cheryl. Older women never even were paid decently lot's of bullies and paper work shufflers. Management did very little .
They knew how screwed up things are ----They can write off billions while charging you high interest ,people running other people off of jobs and the same people getting hurt. The ones with the BIGGEST BALLS sit there and defy management common sense and human decency.They screw up everyone else's work and lie about overtime,lie about everyone else No wonder management doesn't give a damn anymore.

What women's group is going to stand up for all those error's on credit and late charges as women were outsourced, out placed, downsized.
I think a refund is due to plenty of people.
Pension credits for years of being tossed out of jobs EMPLOYMENT AT WILL.
Not connecting the dots by management.
I reported this many times as a warning NO ONE PAID ENOUGH ATTENTION.paid well.

There's another angle to this Catch-22: What about a woman who's married (or was) to a deadbeat? She gets dragged down because her (former) spouse couldn't pay the bills. There are so many reasons why raw credit score should not have an impact (identity theft/confusion, anyone?). Any attempt to make sense of the credit bureau report would be an invasion of privacy. Just leave the credit bureau report out of things!

While I agree that poor credit scores MAY IN SOME CASES be indicators of irresponsibility, it is very important that credit scoring is used as only ONE TOOL in evaluating an employees overall worthiness or moral compass. It is the sum total of all metrics that are PREDICTORS of performance. These, indeed, are never guarantees. Saying it is a black and white standard is like saying that if someone has a dent in her car she is a poor or criminal driver. It is an irrelevant observation as it could have been the result of a hit and run accident while visiting her mother in the hospital.
-Lisa

In the past, I was turned down for managerial positions because of poor credit. What these employers don't put into consideration are your circumstances. I was married twice and was the party earning the majority of the income. So of course, I was the one given the debt. Your credit score does not define who you are, it doesn't define your workmanship, it just defines what circumstances you are in.

I am an employer and also someone who has had to go through credit checks and criminal investigations in order to get jobs in the past. I think credit is CERTAINLY indicative of a person's honesty, trustworthiness, and level of responsibility. One glitch here or there is understandable, but an overall poor credit history and low credit score are certainly issues. I have heard every excuse in the book and I was divorced at a young age, was not college educated, paid my husband alimony, he got EVERYTHING in the house and I still paid my bills...my credit did not suffer one bit because I made it a priority. If you are able bodied, you can work and creditors are also willing to work with you if you run into hard times as long as you have had good payment history in the past and you let them know. I have hit rough patches in the past and have just started a business and my cash flow is minimal...it is certainly difficult. I had to call my car company and ask if they would defer my payments...twice in the last year and because I have good credit history they did it with no penalty. If you don't pay your bills you are essentially stealing..you would not walk into a store and take a coat off the rack and walk out would you? Well, when you charge it on a credit card and then don't pay the credit card bill, you might as well have walked in, took it off the rack and walked out...either way you are stealing it. Not a popular opinion..but it is reality.

Speaking about bad debt, my husband has incurred a high amount of debt in credit cards. All these cards are in his name only. I on the other hand I have exceptional credit and NO DEBT. I wonder if his debt would affect me if we get divorced or if he files for bankruptcy? Please help. I need some piece of mind.

I have applied for several great paying jobs and all of them turn me down because of my credit score. I have discussed this with my friends. They all said, "I thought they could only do minimum checks on employees". My friends also thought that employers could not go this far. Is this legal? I will probably be able to add losing my house that I have invested 10 years into to the list. Something needs to be done about the hiring process.

My brother is divorced; he assumed all the debt in the marriage. He is running into the same issue of not being able to find a job due to a poor credit score. He was laid off in November. I think this is discrimination. Is there anything we can do to stop this practice? I am willing to join a group in effort to stop credit scores from determining employment.

Kind Regards,
Christina

I have been turned down for job opportunities not only because of my low credit score but my age as well. Due to corporate downsizing and just a few years with the company, the financial package I received was less then $10,000. After trying for a few years to get a job, and unsuccessful because of my age, I was forced to declare bankruptcy. I had depleted all of my financial resources and had no way of paying my bills. Prior to this, I paid my bills on time each month. Today, as I sit typing this, I find myself unemployed again after working a temporary job that lasted 3 weeks. I am not an irresponsible person who steals money or merchandise. I am a responsible 57 year old woman that has worked hard and was a good employee, but unfortunately I have been caught up in today's economy of no jobs and high prices. A situation that has forced many Americans into bankruptcy or bad/low credits scores. A credit score is NOT an indicator as to what kind of person you are. I believe it is an indicator that a lot of people have been hit by a situation that is beyond their control.

I was recently not given an opportunity to do some temp work (I was laid off of my job 2 months ago) because of my low credit score. My ex does not pay his child support on a regular basis. Very unfair. How am I supposed to pay my rent and bills with this issue?

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