How Credit Reports Affect your Job Search

Your credit report affects many aspects of your life, which is why it is important to check your reports regularly to ensure that all of the information listed is up to date and accurate. You likely already know that your credit report and credit score indicate your creditworthiness to lenders. This information impacts whether or not you can secure a loan or get approved to finance a car or a home. It may also have an effect on your ability to get a job.

Your credit report and another type of consumer report, called an employment screening report, are sometimes used by employers when reviewing applicants for open positions, or when an employee is being considered for a promotion. These reports have frequently been used by companies within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance, but have come to be standard for other industries as well. Trucking, nursing, food, and retail services are using screening reports more and more frequently during the applicant review process.

Inaccuracies Can Hurt You

Screening reports can contain inaccurate information about your past employment, medical or financial history, criminal and public records, or education. These inaccuracies can prevent you from getting a promotion or securing a new job.

Employers Need Your Permission

An employer needs your permission before they access your credit report or perform a background check. Third party firms that prepare background reports, such as HireRight, Intelius, or CheckMate, may have exemptions.

The employer must receive your written permission before obtaining the report. They must also inform you when the report may be used to make a decision about selecting you for a position.

Screening Services Must Inform You of Negative Information

Employment screening report services are also obligated to tell you about any negative information that is reported to an employer. Frequently, negative information is not relayed to an applicant until days or weeks after the employer received the information, after the job opportunity is already lost.

When an employer obtains the report and decides not to hire, keep, or promote you as a result of the information, they are obligated to provide you with a copy of the report with contact information for the company that provided it. If any of the information is inaccurate, you can write a dispute letter to the company and request that the information be corrected or removed.

If the company doesn’t correct the inaccurate information, contact a credit report lawyer to discuss your options.