Can Your Credit Score Keep You from Landing Your Dream Job?

Can Your Credit Score Keep You from Landing Your Dream Job?
You’ve made a few mistakes in the past with your credit. Maybe you have a high balance on one of your credit cards and make only the minimum payment every month. Or perhaps you paid a few credit card bills late last year. Now you have an interview for a fantastic new job, but you have a nagging feeling that your credit score could keep you from getting the job offer.

Will you be asked to undergo a credit or financial background check?

Sometimes the worry is totally unfounded, because not all jobs require employees to agree to a credit or financial background check. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers must ask for your permission before conducting a background check.

The 2016 National Financial Educators Council survey found that 26.3 percent of respondents reported that an employer or potential employer conducted a credit or financial background check. This means that the majority of potential hires are not asked to undergo a credit check. Additionally, if you live in one of the 11 states where employment credit checks are prohibited, an employer legally cannot conduct a financial background check as part of the pre-employment process.

What are employers looking for?

If you are worried about your credit score being on the low side, you do not need to be concerned. Employers do not receive the three digit number, but instead see the actual credit report, says Nerd Wallet. According to, when your employer reviews your report, they will see a list of any loans you have outstanding, mortgages and all of your credit card accounts, as well as their balances. Your report also includes any late payments, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Many companies use the credit history to gauge your overall trustworthiness and level of responsibility. However, some companies use the information for positions that have control over finances—operating under the assumption that people in financial trouble might be more tempted to steal funds from the company.

What happens if the employer does not like what they see in the credit report?

Yes, it is possible you could lose a job offer or promotion due to information in your credit report. According to a recent National Financial Educators Council survey, about 4 percent of people surveyed stated that they had been turned down for a job or promotion due to their credit or financial background.

However, if you do lose a job or promotion due to your credit history, you won’t be left wondering if that was the reason. The FTC advises employers that before they turn down an applicant due to information in a consumer report, which includes credit information as well as criminal history, the company must notify the applicant of the information and provide them with a copy. This gives the person the opportunity to confirm that the information is accurate.

There are many reasons to keep your credit in good shape. If you practice good financial management and pay your bills on time, your credit report could be one less thing to worry about when applying for a job.