Dirty Credit Report Scuttles Job Prospects

Dan Denton was about to get a much-needed job. Then the recruiters saw his blemished credit report and took away their offer.

They saw overdue card payments, an upcoming foreclosure, and that he and his wife had filed for bankruptcy protection, and got scared off.

“Of course your credit’s going to look bad when you’ve been unemployed for months,” said Denton. Screening job applicants’ credit report is legal. It gets disclosed on the application form and requires a signature from the applicant. Seems odd to reject people just because they have bad credit. If anything, you think that would make them better employees because obviously they’re more desperate to hang on to their jobs!

For tips on cleaning up your credit, this post is a good place to start. And don’t forget to figure out the reason codes!

Trapped: It’s hard to get a job if your credit is bad [LAT] (Thanks to TheObserver!) (Photo: Jeremy_Schultz)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dreamsneverend says:

    Ouch, but if you were a business owner hiring a new employee and saw they had a toxic lending history, wouldn’t you question their character?

    Or do people think fiscal responsibility is something people shouldn’t strive for?

    • puddinhead says:

      well,I can tell you my husband is personally a financial mess. I handle all our money. However, he is an ace at work and has a long and positive work history. I, on the other hand, am very responsible with our household money and yet I suck at keeping jobs. I think it’s complete bunk to check an applicant’s credit report unless perhaps they are directly handling money. PERHAPS. I just don’t think there’s much correlation.

      • steveliv says:

        @puddinhead: keep in mind, that not everyone has someone else to handle the finances. the recruiters don’t know that, perhaps that topic should be brought up during the interview…

        • highpitch_83 says:

          @steveliv: good point steveliv! No sense in “hoping they don’t find out” get that out on the table during the interview so you have a chance to tell your side of the story!

    • edwardso says:

      @dreamsneverend: financial responsibility is definitely something to strive for but i’d hate to think of my character largely being asses by my credit

      • edwardso says:

        @edwardso: ha! assessed

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @edwardso and
        Well in my case I work in secure area with access to cash and customers financial information and was required to have a full background check including a viewing of my credit report. A person who has a terrible credit history, defaults, foreclosures, missed payments, etc may be seen as a potential risk for a company and may be more likely to steal information or cash that can be used for their benefit. A company may also feel if you are irresponsible with your own finances, you may be an irresponsible employee, or you may spend a great deal of time stressing about your financial situation and this may affect how well you do your job. Given the current state of the economy, I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone like the OP in his case. Most Americans are going through similar situation because they have lost their jobs. If all of the financial problems the OP has had recently were occurring over time and not at one particular moment, then I might agree with the employer, however in this case it just seems unfair.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @dreamsneverend: I think the issue here is not people who have been blatantly irresponsible…but people who are victims of a poor economy, who have been hit hard by poor home prices and worsening markets and have been laid off. No paychecks means you depend more and more on savings or credit to get by.

    • I_have_something_to_say says:


      I don’t think I want to work anywhere where my credit history is linked to my employment in any way.

      • crymson777 says:

        @I_have_something_to_say: Good luck finding a job doing anything but fast food then…credit checks abound nowadays…

        • Skin Art Squared says:


          “Good luck finding a job doing anything but fast food then…credit checks abound nowadays…”

          This is absurd.

          I do very well thank you and there are certainly no credit checks involved in my ability to work or obtain new work, present or future. And I do not work in fast food.

          Credit and credit scores can cripple you if you allow them to, the same as not having a college degree can cripple you, if you allow it to. Plenty of people have done perfectly fine without the benefit of either. In either case, your life and what you make of it is NOT dictated by a document from a far away institution, but rather your own drive to succeed at whatever you choose.

          Think about it.

          • bwcbwc says:

            @BZMedia: When was the last time you had to look for a job with a new employer?

            • Skin Art Squared says:

              @bwcbwc: “When was the last time you had to look for a job with a new employer?”

              12 years ago when I decided that working for someone else was a dead end.

        • oneandone says:

          @crymson777: The federal government doesn’t routinely do credit checks on new hires. They do background checks, but not credit checks.

          And they’re hiring: [www.usajobs.gov]

          • Skin Art Squared says:

            @oneandone: “The federal government doesn’t routinely do credit checks on new hires. They do background checks, but not credit checks.”

            I’m on board with this. Background checks make perfect sense for a very wide variety of positions if not all. Whether or not someone has a criminal record is kind of important all the way down to the fast food level. But credit checks do not make sense.

            I also agree that the misuse of credit reports and social security numbers is out of control.

            • David Brodbeck says:

              @BZMedia: Credit scores get used because they’re easy to measure. They don’t measure anything useful to an HR person, but they don’t care; they just need to weed down a huge pile of resumes to something manageable, and this is one way to do it.

              I’m hoping that, now that this sort of thing is affecting the middle class, there will finally be political pressure to make it illegal to abuse credit scoring to make hiring decisions, set car insurance rates, etc. A credit score is supposed to be used to make lending decisions; it’s not meant to be a generic “figure of merit.”

          • Daveinva says:

            @oneandone: I don’t know where you got your information, but that is completely false.

            I know– I work for the federal government.

            Credit checks are commonplace, OPM is using them more and more.

            And don’t even think of getting a job that requires any sort of security clearance and expect them to not check your credit history. They do– and they’ll be doing it more often, as the government moves away from the historical “occasional background checks every five-ten years” to an automated “continuous tracking” model. The latter will rely on your credit history as one of the *primary* factors behind your employment.

          • LibraryGeek says:

            @oneandone: @HIV 2 Elway:
            I agree with dfwguy that this regulation is predicated on the assumption that someone with a bad credit score is more corruptible (open to espionage etc.) I don’t think that this is based on evidence.

        • I_have_something_to_say says:


          I’ve been at my current job since ’93 and hopefully will be there until I ‘retire’. If what you say is true, I’m screwed if I have to start looking ;)

      • bohemian says:

        @I_have_something_to_say: Credit reports and unneeded background and medical investigations. When employers are looking for this kind of information and the job isn’t one of high security levels within the company it is a big red flag.

        A bit too big brother for my tastes. At what point do you get to have a personal life?

        • the_wiggle says:

          @bohemian: you don’t.

          that is & had been the escalating trend of the last 30 yrs.

          disturbing as all Hell & not going away anytime soon either.

    • Baccus83 says:

      @dreamsneverend: It’s easy to talk about being fiscally responsible. But when you’ve been unemployed for months then what would you expect your credit score to look like?

      • Sean Masters says:

        @Gene Gemperline: I’d expect people to have the common sense to live well below their means and keep a significant savings around in case of unemployment or emergency, we’re talking 8-12 months or more. People all over the world do just that, meanwhile boatloads of Americans are clamoring for more credit because they think money is free, or that they will somehow never have to worry about paying their bills.

        • alexawesome says:

          @Sean Masters: And how are people supposed to do that, exactly? It’s great and all if you’ve been employed for a long enough period of time to put away substantial savings like that, but what if people have recently entered the job market, or have had a medical problem, or spent their savings to help other people – it only takes one or two hiccups for that whole plan to go to hell.

          Striving for a safety net is great, and the more people who do it the better, but it’s not always realistic, and for people who are keeping their head just above water but never make enough money to save enough of it, this kind of thing is brutally unfair. We demand that people save money and live within their means, but that makes it virtually impossible for the poorest among us to go anywhere but sideways.

          The bottom line here is that even if this guy isn’t a saint and made mistakes, why are we judging people so harshly for that? What happened to compassion and second chances? Would we want to be judged by the same standards if roles were reversed? It’s much easier to look down on people and say, “Ooh, you should have been a better person,” but we’ve all made mistakes, if not financially, then in other areas of our lives.

          If a credit check is indeed relevant to the job, e.g. he would be making financial or budgetary decisions, then sure, do a credit check and don’t hire him. If he’s doing something where it really has no bearing, it’s unfair and unnecessary.

          • dreamsneverend says:

            @alexawesome: Of course everyone who wants to work and do a good job should be given the chance. I would never argue that and I think a RECENT (like under 18 months) issue with credit due to circumstances is different than some guy who’s been carrying debts for years and years.

          • Sean Masters says:

            @alexawesome: I agree that those people who are new to working altogether (obviously) have no savings, and that hiccups absolutely can happen that will shift that 8-12 months of savings down to nothing overnight. Hiccups aren’t outlandish occurrences, either, but they should be infrequent enough that you can maintain a steady savings, particularly after you’ve been working for several years.

            I’ve worked with low-income communities and I’ve met loads of people at the poverty line who still lived within their means. People who would spend an entire year saving up $500 and then not spend it frivolously. It is absolutely doable, in fact hundreds of thousands of people do it every day and have been doing so for centuries. Millenia, really. Do some percentage of them fail? Absolutely, just like some percentage of the middle and upper class can and will fail. That’s just chaos in action.

            On compassion and second chances – what if we’re on someone’s third chance? Their fourth? How should a business owner weigh compassion versus risk if they must make a profit in order to continue growing their business and supporting existing employees?

            I don’t look at this as business owners are being condescending. I’m looking at this as business owners are weighing risks intelligently. Who do you hire – someone who meets all of the job critera and has a 500 for a credit score along with several questionable marks against that credit, or someone who meets all of the job criteria and has a sterling credit score with no financial issues whatsoever? Risk management says you’re going to take the best person for the job, and that means best all around.

            @Secret Agent Man: See above. I’ve met and worked with these people. Regardless, this isn’t about me or my experiences. It also isn’t about people working harder than other people, although anyone seeking employment should absolutely be trying their damnedest to get it.

            @nakedscience: This thread isn’t about me, it’s about credit reports being used in the hiring process. Let’s keep on topic, shall we?

            @absentmindedjwc: This thread isn’t about me, it’s about credit reports being used in the hiring process. Let’s keep on topic, shall we?

            • Ichiro51 says:

              @Sean Masters: No, the thread isn’t about you, but your (seemingly lack of) experiences drive you to hold such a naive worldview. That you cite MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF HISTORY!!! who have been able to save while neglecting the billions of people who have not (for what reasons – do you care? Nah.) is just short-sighted.

              One’s credit score or even amount of savings he/she has been able to accumulate absolutely does not conclusively tell anyone else whether he/she is “fiscally responsible.”

              • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                @Ichiro51: I was kind of fascinated by the “millenia” claim since, like, banking isn’t that old and really only dates to the Crusades. And currency isn’t that old (although I suppose TECHNICALLY millenia), but abundance of currency is. (You can’t really “save” land, and Mother Nature is shockingly uncaring about how much wheat you’d like to save this year when she’s deciding on whether your harvest will suck.) And more than just the very top echelon of society having any kind of wealth is VERY recent. (And lord knows that throughout history, that top echelon has been notorious for living outside their means more often than not.)

                There are entire chapters of Roman history that revolve around landlord-tenant crises in the city of Rome where everyone is living outside their means until it ALL comes tumbling down, sometimes including the literal (poorly-maintained) buildings.

                But I suppose it’s easy for him to make sweeping statements when he’s not coming up with any facts or support.

                • Sean Masters says:

                  @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Wow. Wow. Rome? Try Babylon. Ancient Babylon. Banking and currency pre-date 2000 BC and, of course, the use of gold as a form of proto-currency has been in use since ~4000 BC.

                  Also, savings have not always been in cash, particularly not in American Dollars like what most people here would appear to be thinking ;)

                  • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

                    @Sean Masters: RTFC. I merely pointed out Rome as an example of a currency-based economy with a shitty or non-existent savings rate.

                    I notice you ignored the rest of my post, however. Please, do share with us how someone in a agrarian barter economy, like THE BULK OF THE POPULATION IN MOST OF THE WORLD FOR MOST OF HISTORY, manages to “save.” And then provide evidence of such saving occurring.

            • Stephmo says:

              @Sean Masters: I’m calling you a liar. You are inflating your experience – you do NOT know hundreds of thousands of people personally.

              Our country had negative savings for two years on average. For years before, we were well into the 1-2% range. On the median income of 45K/year for a family at 1-2% per year. Mathematically, you are simply making crap up – for people in their 30s with 12 years of work history, it would simply be financially impossible for them to have 18 months (call it 45K solid since they’d not be expecting taxes as well) saved up based on those rates.

              Unless, of course, you only seem to know the outliers and you are going to claim all the outliers are living below the poverty line.

              You are using anecdotal evidence at best and are attempting to extrapolate it despite the fact that it is mathematically impossible to back up any of your claims.

              • Sean Masters says:

                @Stephmo: Uh, if you seriously read that as me personally knowing hundreds of thousands of people, you have a severe literacy disability. Seriously.

                12 years of work history without 18 months of savings? You apparently have no clue how to actually read those savings rates. You should probably go back and read through your evidence. I’m looking at half a dozen articles right now, all it takes is Google, buddy. A savings rate does not mean what people have for savings, it means at what rate people are saving. A negative rate means nothing more than people, on average, dipped into their savings by some negative percentage.

                You realize that, in the 80s, the average US savings rate was around 10%? That’s $4.5k a year for your person making $45k/yr. That’s two years to a $9k savings buffer. That savings rate remained positive all the way through until 2005, where it dipped to the negative.

                (As a side note, that was the average, meaning your family who makes $10/hr each with two kids? Still, on average, putting away 10% a year, year over year. Through the 90s and into today, of course, that slowed and slowed and slowed until dipping slightly into the negative in ’05 and rebounding to today’s 5.7% positive rate.)

                What does that tell us? People were saving year after year after year, and then spending their large savings glut on big-ticket items (consumer spending doubled in 2005 iirc) due to greatly increased consumer confidence levels. The problem is that a load of people overspent in ’05, dipping into their savings as I noted, and taking out more debt than they could afford, which was exactly my original point: I expect people to have the common sense to live well below their means.

                There’s no “mathematical impossibility” about this, besides (a) people needing to be taught financial skills on top of book skills while in school and (b) you learning how to read a damn economic forecast.

                • Sean Masters says:

                  @Sean Masters: way to close that italicize tag, genius ;)

                • Stephmo says:

                  @Sean Masters: Your math is HORRIBLE.

                  The 10% savings rate in the 80s? Guess where most of those workers are – they aren’t 30 and 40-somethings. Even a 18-year old working in 1987 would be 52 years old now. And let’s face it, they’d be well past the 10% average savings mark. The folks that were meeting and exceeding those savings rates are retired. Way to use google-fu to be a moron!

                  My point on your ‘hundreds of thousands’ is that you don’t actually know them. You pulled that out of your ass. You’re guessing that, mathematically, it’s possible that hundreds of thousands of people out of billions on the planet may have had up to a year (or more) or their salary saved at some point – and then you want to tell 100 million working adults today “too bad you weren’t as responsible as them!”

                  You know JACK about savings rates, rates of savings withdrawl, median incomes, rates of salary increases and a million other things. Even in the latest eras of exceptionally low savings – if you went back a dozen years you weren’t making 12 years ago what you were making now. So if you were saving the average rate a dozen years ago, that was on significantly less income than today. I’ll guarantee you that you didn’t fire yourself up a spreadsheeet to calculate squat.

                  You’re also wrong on where savings went. More than half of bankruptices in this country are due to MEDICAL debt. Divorce also takes a toll on debt.

                  Your view of the high-ticket purchase is your personal bias – unless, of course, you consider cancer treatment a luxury item.

                  You espouse common sense, but you can only be bothered to google. You also ask people to read economic forcasts? Wow, “hey, everyone – you want to solve your personal finance issues? Go listen to macroeconmic predictive talking heads talk about what may or may not happen based on similiar historical trends!”

                  You’re that guy in September last year who pretended he understood how securitizations worked and why the market broke down in September last year while surreptitiously checking things on Wikipedia, aren’t you?

                  • Stephmo says:

                    @Stephmo: 18-year old would be 41 – bad math and no edit.

                  • Sean Masters says:

                    @Stephmo: Yeah, that’s so bad I don’t even know where to begin. I’m not taking the bait. Thanks for the laughs, though :D

                    • Stephmo says:

                      @Sean Masters: Ha!

                      For the record – you refused to acknowledge medical debt several times in this thread. Glad to see that you find major medical and breakups of families hilarious.

                      Look, you’re a great “told ya so!” I have no idea if you’re a TFB or someone bought you a condo or if you never had student loans, but you clearly haven’t been dealing with anything reality-based for a significant amount of time. Nice try on the “that’s so wrong, I won’t try to come back!” fail though.

                      The sooner we stop blaming everyone for their financial woes as if they have a house full of plasma TVs, a driveway filled with luxury cars and their backs draped in couture, the better off we’ll be.

                      That magical 80s savings rate? Know what killed it? Regan’s desire to take away many middle-income tax breaks that kept income taxes below 20%. You used to be able to deduct interest from everything – car loans, credit cards AND mortgates. We only get mortgages now. You used to be able to deduct your health insurance payments as well – so if you paid your company $50 week to get health insurance, you deducted that (yeah, yeah, everything old is new again). There were a ton of these deductions. So while Ronnie didn’t technically have an overt raise on the middle-class, he took away a ton of deductions – and then as taxes did increase over the years…well now look at how much you “spend” in that arena only to never see it again.

                      So with this, we claim it was just the responsibility of those individuals? Nothing that they had no control over hindered them? Hah.

                      At some point, you actually do have to recognize that external events do have negative consequences on individuals. And there’s only so much individuals can do to prepare for such things. Income is a finite thing.

                    • Sean Masters says:

                      @Stephmo: mmm, ad hommy deliciousness. I do appreciate the last few paragraphs, however, and agree with them entirely. They still don’t detract from my initial issue whatsoever.

                      @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I didn’t call you anything, I called the request something. I have nothing against you whatsoever, but the request is clearly made out of complete, admitted ignorance of a subject matter. Again, not a personal attack.

                      Also, calling up specific historical instances of some banking failure that may have been widespread (with respect to political boundaries of the time) in one culture or subculture, and yet that does not at all change the fact that the concepts and practices of banking and savings have existed for thousands of years at (nearly) all levels of society.

                    • Ichiro51 says:

                      @Sean Masters: Did you really write “mmm, ad hommy deliciousness” as a retort to someone after telling someone to “get a rabies shot”?


                    • Sean Masters says:

                      @Ichiro51: You clearly don’t know what an ad hom is.

                      Saying that someone needs a rabies shot is not an ad hom, it’s an insult.

                      Saying that someone is clearly out of touch with reality and therefore their points are invalid is an ad hom. (It’s also an insult, but so what?)

                      I don’t care about insults, I care about being ad hommed.

        • Notsewfast says:

          @Sean Masters:
          That’s a cute sentiment, but your statement says a lot about your experiences in life.

          Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of people who work hard, buy just what they can afford and are still barely able to make ends meet. What about a single mother who makes 30 grand a year with 3 kids? What about a family where both parents make under $10 an hour? How do you expect them to build up a savings when a broken headlight bulb is the kind of unexpected expense that can throw them into the red? Are the irresponsible or lazy, or do they just not fit into what you’ve fabricated as your view of ‘the American dream’?

          I make a very good living and I’ve worked hard to get here, but I’m not so naive as to believe that my salary means that i work harder than those living on the verge of poverty.

          • K-Bo says:

            @Secret Agent Man: Though I agree with you that it can be very hard to save up, I also see people doing stupid things. Like the friend who told me that she and her husband had an emergency fund, until their daughter came along, and she was their little emergency. I was like wait what, I thought she was planned. The friend replied that she was. Now if she had been 40 and leaving her child bearing years, I could maybe see this, but she was 20. Now she complains all the time about being broke and having to go to her parents every time there is an emergency. Not like it takes a phd to see that’s what happens when 2 kids still in college working $7 an hour jobs have kids. I’m not saying that if kids mean enough to you you are willing to be broke forever that I should be able to say don’t have them, just don’t make dumb decisions and expect me to listen to you whine about it/ bail you out. On that note, never loan money to friends, never ends well.

            • Ichiro51 says:

              @K-Bo: But no one is saying that there AREN’T people out there who make many major stupid financial decisions, just that not everyone is able to save an optimal amount of money.

          • goldenmonkey says:

            @Secret Agent Man: Very well said and what my socially retarded ass has been trying to explain to allegedly wealthy online “friends” for quite some time. They have a strange delusion that I or others even less well-off than me chose this lifestyle.

        • nakedscience says:

          @Sean Masters: You are clearly priviliged.

        • absentmindedjwc says:

          @Sean Masters: spoken like someone that did not go to college and is sitting on many thousands of dollars of debt. Get realistic, any college graduate is going to have debt, and is not going to be able to save money like that.

        • superberg says:

          @Sean Masters:

          Saving up 8-12 months worth of expenses would take me nearly a decade. It took me about a year to save up two months of living expenses.

          I live within my means, but my means are not particularly grand. I’ve never had a credit card, but I’m not going to spend my life eating rice and beans, either. Sorry.

        • funkright says:

          @Sean Masters:

          People all over the world ‘DONT’ do that.. thus our issues at hand right now.. he majority of the people on this planet don’t have anywhere near the standard of living that ‘we the elite’ have… get over it, don’t stand too close to your piety..

        • bwcbwc says:

          @Sean Masters: Don’t go there.

          People all over the world also live hand to mouth, day-to-day, so why even bring up that others have 8-12 months of savings? Since you have no information about the OP’s actual financial situation and how the credit report became bad, you have no reason to imply that they were irresponsible rather than the victim of a bad economy.

        • Coelacanth says:

          @Sean Masters: That’s wonderful, but what about recent college grads in their mid-20s, who probably are burdened with student debt? It’s one thing to accumulate 8-12 months of funds in a savings account after you’ve been working several years, but what about when you’re starting out?

          People without the financial support of their families are extremely vulnerable – no matter how fiscally responsible a young adult might be.

        • EinhornIsAMan! says:

          @Sean Masters: That’s idiotic. In fact, that’s really pushing it. There are plenty of reasons people don’t have savings for extended periods of unemployment. Pure fiscal irresponsibility is one thing. Slipping during unemployment during a financial crisis should be given more leeway. Stop being an asshat.

          The main reason I and relatives got screened to work for the Fed is twofold. One, working with money, someone desperate for it is statistically more likely to steal. People don’t risk careers embezzling money for funsies.

          Number two is to get security clearance. This is a big one. Someone with money problems they figure would be more of a risk to sell out to some foreign operatives nuclear secrets (or what have you).

          The “personal responsibility” line always sounded silly to me, and the way you phrase it, I hope you never make hiring decisions. “I’d expect people to save exactly the way I want them to to have enough money to live for x months.” There’s reasonable expectation of personable responsibility. And then there’s a healthy dose of shut the fuck up and go back to the 9th grade, which is what you need.

        • EinhornIsAMan! says:

          @Sean Masters: And enough of the Americans as the decadent and depraved idiots who bring down the rest of the world. Say whatever you want about the government, but leave the people out of it. I love this reversal of American exceptionalism-all us Americans are retards. Credit is not uniquely American, nor is fiscal irresponsibility, nor is below average intelligence and uninformed people. “People all over the world are…” Yeah and kids are starving in Africa. So finish your vegetables or no dessert for you little Seany.

          • Sean Masters says:

            @TheDayIsMine: Go get a rabies shot, bro.

            @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): agriculture essentially made social stratification possible through overproduction, savings, and the development of laws to govern property, income, savings, and debt. It’s still going on to this day. Demanding evidence for the last 6,000 years of agribusiness in human history when it is heavily documented is an intellectually dishonest request at best.

            • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

              @Sean Masters: And yet I’d still like you to explain to me how “savings” and “living within your means” worked for medieval European peasantry. Calling me intellectually dishonest won’t make my question go away because I truly don’t have the vaguest idea what you’re talking about.

        • goldenmonkey says:

          @Sean Masters: To live any more below my means I’d have to live in a cardbox and “freecycle” for food.

      • dreamsneverend says:

        @Gene Gemperline: But being fiscally responsible is not getting yourself into such bad debt when you do lose your job your “emergency fund” pads you for 6+ months. I mean when will people realize that tough love is what is needed and people need to stop spending more than they make.

        You don’t rack up $$$$$$s of credit debt on top of your home/car loans, et al unless you are over extending and living above your means.

        This stuff happened to people before the current economic situation, but now people are using that as the easiest excuse.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @dreamsneverend: Did you miss the post about 60% of bankruptcies being caused by medical bills?

          Stupid Americans, living above their means by getting cancer ….

        • Karita says:

          @dreamsneverend: Wow. That attitude is so naive. I am an attorney, and despite working full time throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, I didn’t earn nearly enough to pay tuition at the state schools I went to. Thus I have HUGE amounts of debt. And I don’t earn as much as a retail store manager, a factory worker, a fast food manager or a 911 operator. (Funny that I can’t get any of those jobs as I am “overqualified.” I have tried, but I’m not going to lie my way into one by hiding my resume.) I am that person who is one headlight away from a massive financial crisis. And my credit report at this point would disqualify me from many positions, despite the extensive background check I went through to get admitted to the bar.

          Yeah, I should have realized that going to grad school was going to put me in so much debt that I’d never be able to get out from under it. But I really thought I was doing a good thing. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have bothered to even go to college, as I’d be a lot better off than I am right now if I’d just started working out of high school. And if I had kids, I would give them “tough love” and tell them not to go to college, just like my parents did by refusing to help out financially. Right now, to live within my means, I’d literally have to be homeless. But I don’t want that, so I pay rent rather than putting money into savings. And I continue to look for a job that pays a wage that would allow me to pay off my loans in less than 30 years, save money, buy health insurance, eat regularly, and do all those other things that are, to me, luxuries.

          At the same time, however, most people wouldn’t look at me and think “deadbeat,” although my credit report would suggest otherwise. And I’m fortunate enough to be able to commit a good bit of my free time and legal skills to help people who are in tough financial and legal situations. It feels damn good to give people the help I wish someone would give to me. I may regret getting an education, but that doesn’t stop me from being filled with rage when I see people make such idiotic statements that do nothing but reflect a total lack of compassion and common sense. Economic hardship has existed throughout history, and just telling people to start living a more moral life isn’t going to change things when so many jobs out there don’t pay a living wage.

        • EinhornIsAMan! says:

          @dreamsneverend: But what about the persons with very specific skills with very high expenses (children, mortgage, medical condition, elderly parents)? What about people who have to take jobs for much lower than they’ve been paid due to shifts in industry? What about people who have lost jobs in rapidly contracting industries who go unemployed for more than 18 months? Is it then acceptable to go into debt. Your screen name is appropriate. You are a naif.

        • EinhornIsAMan! says:

          @dreamsneverend: No this stuff certainly HAS happened to people, and given the economic situation, it is likely to happen to even the most responsible people put in bad situations. You are clearly privileged/stupid.

    • ARP says:

      @dreamsneverend: Absolutely something to strive for. However, to simply pull the offer without giving Dan an opportunity to explain himself bothers me a bit. Also, I think you need to be a bit more lenient in these times. There are a lot of people who have been out of work for a while. Even fiscally responsible people are hurting.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @ARP: I think if I were in Dan’s position, this would be one of the things I’d try to address proactively in the interview when I knew they were pulling my credit report. “You’re going to see some negatives on my credit report. My family has been hit hard by this bad economy, but I am making it a priority to clean up our credit and to get us back on firm financial footing.” And add things like, “We’ve been working with a financial counselor/discussed refinancing with our bank/whatever.”

        I think it’s like a six-month gap in your work history where you were caring for an aging grandparent or recovering from mono, or the semester you bobbled at school because of a parent’s death, or whatever. Without context, it’s going to make you look worse in comparison to others — so it’s good to proactively provide the context. Because, sadly, most employers aren’t going to bother to find out your context.

        • bohemian says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!):

          Here is another twist to this situation. The abundance of faux collection agencies putting incorrect or fake debts on people’s credit reports. You can get them removed…sometimes. Some take an act of god to get removed because the reporting agencies suck.

        • Karita says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): That is a really good suggestion. I wonder, however, if it would work. I imagine there are so many qualified people looking for work now that they’d rather take one who doesn’t have to offer excuses, no matter how legitimate the reasons may be. Not that I agree with that sentiment, but I’d love to hear about your suggestion from people here who do make hiring decisions.

          • sleze69 says:

            @Karita: That is exactly the point here. It is currently an employer’s market with a plethora of talent to choose from. Although I struggled to bring my GPA up above 3.0 after partying/screwing up my freshman year, I won’t even consider a candidate with a GPA below 3.0 (unless I knew a candidate was a rockstar).

            The same thing with a bad credit report. All other things being equal, I will take a candidate with a good credit report over one with a bad credit report.

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            @Karita: “I wonder, however, if it would work.”

            You can only do what you can do, and if you *know* something is going to show up as a negative in your background, the only thing in YOUR power to do is to either address it proactively (in the interview, in a letter attached to the application, whatever) or to ignore it and hope it doesn’t matter.

            I know that when I’ve sat on college and grad school admission and scholarship committees, we’ve been sympathetic to the “whole story” and that a student proactively addressing the semester where they bombed comes across as someone who is mature, has learned from a mistake (or bad situation), and is self-confident enough to address it instead of trying to hide it. (Of course students are a different population, and we were definitely looking for the maturity to recover from and learn from a bad situation, since maturity is a major issue in students, so it was even a plus sometimes.)

            I haven’t had much managerial experience, but the little times I did, my colleagues and I were also typically favorably impressed with someone who was upfront about addressing their shortcomings and how they were overcoming them. Not that that necessarily got them the job, but it definitely helped when someone straightforwardly addressed the elephant in the room, and it does say, “Here is someone who can take a problem or a crisis, recognize it, address it, learn from it, take ownership of it, and discuss it without bursting into tears.”

        • floraposte says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Excellent point. Same as a gap in the work history or anything else that’s likely to “speak” to prospective employers–you want to be the one in control of the message.

    • ludwigk says:

      @dreamsneverend: It depends. Does the job involve handling money or managing a budget? If so, then yes, I want my employee to have a decent credit history.

      OTOH, are they painting murals? writing database code? installing cabinetry? pulling a rickshaw? Nope, don’t care at all.

      • lilyHaze says:

        @ludwigk: There are different areas where stable finances is a good thing.
        I’m a government contractor working on IT security. If I had unstable finances, I’m more likely to give up national secrets for money, etc.

    • kmw2 says:

      @dreamsneverend: I think charitable giving is something to strive for too, but I don’t want my potential employers looking into whether I’m tithing properly. Unless your credit has something substantive to do with you job (i.e. you’re handling significant amounts of money or are a potential bribery/blackmail risk), it shouldn’t be considered, since it says absolutely nothing about your work habits.

    • Jaynor says:

      @dreamsneverend: If I know that you’re desperate for money I might be less likely to trust you with company resources, private information or anything else that might sell.

      • aybara says:

        @Jaynor: This is exactly why some companies do this.

        If you are in hard times financially, you might be corruptible to provide information to a competitor or similar in exchange for them paying off one of your debt.

        • Skin Art Squared says:


          “If you are in hard times financially, you might be corruptible to provide information to a competitor or similar in exchange for them paying off one of your debt.”

          I’m sorry but this just sounds ludicrous to me. How would you even go about setting that up if you wanted to?

          “Hi, sir…. ummmm….. i’m working over at XYZ Corp and I can tell you what kind of glue they are putting in their widgets if you’ll pay off my Capital One card….. sir…. sir?”

          Would a competitors serious trade secret really be obtained through a ground floor new hire with some late payments?

          Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to resort to stealing cameras and cell phones out of tourists cars or something? Just sounds like a bad movie plot to me and certainly not a valid reason to not hire someone unless we’re talking about a bio-weapons testing plant or something.

      • bohemian says:

        @Jaynor: That is a moral and integrity issue. People go broke every day without resorting to crime.

    • bohemian says:

      @dreamsneverend: We have had two high profile embezzlement cases locally. Both were not situations of people behind on bills. Both were pure greed. The money was all spent on luxuries per the guilty parties own admissions.

      These people probably had good credit reports. Both were key financial people at the two companies involved.

      Medical bills and unemployment can cause people to have credit issues. It does not directly translate into character. The insinuation being that if your credit is bad your a deadbeat and the debt is from something frivolous the person chose not to pay. A majority of bankruptcies have been due to medical debt so someone’s credit is not an accurate view of their reliability as an employee.

      Employers should not be allowed to check credit reports unless you have direct access to company finances.

    • jimconsumer says:

      @dreamsneverend: Character has precious little to do with it. I’m not making apologies for people who don’t pay their bills, but sometimes shit happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. What do you say about the character of someone who gets laid off due to a shitty economy and chooses to use what little he has to feed his family instead of paying Citibank? I’d say he knows right from wrong and appropriately prioritizes.

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @dreamsneverend: No, people who think (rather than react based on advertising by credit reporting agencies) think that a credit score isn’t linked to character any more than my shoe size. If it was based on a reasonable, transparent, accountable system of reporting, *maybe*. But that’s so far from the case that it’s laughable. Sorry that you bought their line.

    • Kimberly Gist-Collins says:

      @dreamsneverend: No, I would not question their character becasue I am not ignorant to the fact that a majority of bankruptcies cites medical bills as the cause of the bankruptcy. In addition, most of the filers have health insurance.

      A major medical event such as a difficult birth, followed by a baby who spends time in the NICU can leave even the insured with $50,000, $100,000, or more in medical expenses not covered by insurance. Or, maybe they had cancer, open heart surgery with an extended hospital stay, etc…Combine this with the fact that many hospitals are unwilling to work with patients on bills and you have bankruptcy as the only viable financial option for many, many very responsible people.

      Combine that with the 10% of people (sometimes both people in a couple) who are unemployed in this abysmal economy who go through their savings and/or unemployment and you can no longer stereotype that people who file bankruptcy are a bunch of irresponsible jerks who are charging big screen TV’s and plastic surgery to keep up with the Joneses.

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @dreamsneverend: You sound to me like the typical “personal responsibility” Repugnican hypocrite. Um hello in case you were sleeping the last 8 years BUSH tanked our economy, and now NOBODY has good credit, EVERYONE is getting screwed by banks and credit card companies, not even “responsible” small business people who work hard to keep their employees can get loans from BANKS, who got our tax money, and we are all being screwed and squeezed unfairly 8 ways til Sunday, but people like you sit there and say we deserve all that and it must be our fault and we need to be punished even more with permanent unemployment because we all just aren’t good enough, or as good as you are.

      Well, sir, may your house fall down, or burn down, your credit be wrecked, your car be repoed, your family leave you, you stand in 100 unemployment lines being denied benefits, and you live homeless for a year, and then you will remember your words and see just how offensive they are.

      NO people should not be discriminated against for bad credit for things that aren’t their fault, a-hole.

  2. econobiker says:

    Isn’t company is legally required to provide him with name of the credit agency that the company used? And he is allowed to get free reports?

    That said it looks like the guy wanted a job at an “investment company” which means money and is a little more related to credit than say managing a tire distribution warehouse.

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @econobiker: Consumerist really needs to start including key facts like this. For most positions, this would be a blemish that they might overlook and possibly even agree with Denton that he would be more likely to hold on to the job. It really only cuts the other way when the employee is going to handle large sums of money. Even then, given layoffs and horrid job markets, I would think less employers would look down on this.

      • henwy says:


        I dunno why The Consumerist does things like this either. Normally I’d just chalk it up to an oversight, but it happens too often. Most of the times the information is easily available too.

        I mean, do they really think it’s not relevant what sort of job the guy was applying for? Or maybe they figure it just looks better presented like this with information missing? Or maybe it is just a simple bit of oversight. I would hope that regardless of the reasons, once it’s pointed out an edit could be made though.

      • lincolnparadox says:

        @HRHKingFridayXX: There is a link to the original article where it mentions that the job offer was rescinded from an investment firm.

        A poor credit score could mean that you take too many financial risks, it could mean the you NEED money and might be more prone to theft, it could also mean that you’re just bad with money.

        I feel for this guy, a little. If the reason that he’s unemployed is because he was an investor during the past 5 years, my sympathy wanes a bit.

        Sometimes, you have to sell the house, downsize, pay-off your consumer debt, and fix your credit score. With the number of applicants for every job now, you need a resume with few blemishes.

        • HRHKingFridayXX says:

          @lincolnparadox: Absolutely- There are way too many people that won’t think to have a rainy day fund, won’t think to liquidate their assets (which is hard to do these days) and were overextended in the first place. My problem with the consumerist write up is that they don’t note that he was in investments. Most people aren’t in investments, or fields that would involve handling of moneys. There’s no reason to scare people into obeying the FICO score if they’re looking for a non-investment job.

    • outoftheblew says:

      @econobiker: I doubt it. Yes.

      It’s generally financially-minded jobs that run credit reports on potential new hires. Desperation can lead one to hold onto a job more tightly, and can also lead one to steal/embezzle. If you’re applying for this kind of job, it’s expected that you’ll be scrutinized differently than if you wanted a job where no money was involved except your paycheck.

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @outoftheblew: Even if it wasn’t an investing job, as an employer I’d still want to know everything I could about my potential employee (within legal limits) before I made my decision to hire.

        Like it or not, how you manage your life/family/money/time does affect the kind of employee you’ll be.

    • Stephmo says:

      @econobiker: Employers aren’t bound by FCRA laws – they won’t have to get him the Adverse Action letter that entitles him to the letter. That’s reserved for when you actively apply for a credit line.

      That being said, I’ve noticed in some job postings that specific jobs are noting that there will be a deeper credit check in order to qualify for a job with some companies. Basically, 90% of the jobs won’t say a thing, but most anything having to determine rates, investments, or determining payouts (i.e. claims) will involve a deeper credit check.

      Now, there is the bondable issue – there are levels of bonding that his pending bankruptcy could hose. Banking and bondablilty don’t get along. They generally want you to be done with your BK.

  3. colinjay says:

    I can’t imagine that the whole idea of running people’s credit for everything under the sun will last too long with the current state of consumer credit. What happens when these recruiters find out a year from know when most peoples credit scores are low? Even people with good credit histories are getting lines of credit closed and scores affected.

    I’m glad that a lot of automobile insurance companies are shying away from using credit scores. To me, that’s an easy way for insurance companies to fleece the poor.

    • outoftheblew says:

      @colinjay: It will last as long as companies hire for positions that involve money. It’s not a bad thing. I want to know that my company’s controller or financial manager doesn’t have significant debts that they might want to steal from me to pay off.

    • madanthony says:


      As someone with a decent credit score, I’d like to see more places reward people with good credit.

      At least then I wouldn’t feel like such a fool for, you know, continuing to pay for my house, even though I’m upside-down on it, and for buying a Ford Ranger (and paying it off in 18 months) instead of the Escalade on 26’s that I really wanted.

      • EinhornIsAMan! says:

        @madanthony: So you want to be rewarded for doing something the way you’re supposed to? Why don’t you shove your bitterness up your ass?

    • Todd Miller says:


      I concur. A person’s credit report has no bearing on whether they can perform in their job or not.

      It also has no bearing on whether they are a good driver or not.

      Even though my credit is good, I will and have turned away any potential employers if they require a credit check.

      You are not required to provide an employer with your SSN until it is time for tax purposes.

      • DoubleEcho says:

        @Todd Miller: The auto insurance credit score thing wasn’t pertaining to people’s driving habits. It was a study done showing that people with bad credit usually had more claims, most likely because they wanted to wreck their cars and collect the payout to pay off their debts.

        • Powerlurker says:


          And also because people with their finances in better order (i.e. those with good credit) are more likely to pay for minor accidents out of pocket rather than deal with the increased premiums that result from an at-fault claim. What your auto insurance company cares about is not the likelihood of your having an accident, but the likelihood that you will generate a claim.

        • Todd Miller says:


          Basically it’s the same thing. More claims = bad driver

          So what you’re saying is that most people with bad credit wreck their cars on purpose to cash in.

          Pretty stupid theory in my opinion…

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @colinjay: Oh simple, the recruiters will just be fired and unemployed too, and there will be general rioting for lack of food and housing.

  4. steveliv says:

    It might have had to do with the type of job he was applying for. A desperate person might also steal money or do other unscrupulous things as well.

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @steveliv: Somehow, I think they’ll feel less desperate when hired. Just a guess.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @steveliv: Yeah, an important detail was left out. From the article: “Recruiters from a St. Louis-based investment company recently rescinded an offer after looking at his credit history”

      Investment company=handling money. For that type of job, this comes as no surprise.

    • klc says:

      @steveliv Bad credit can get your a big fail on a security clearance for just this reason.

      It’s presumed that who are in desperate times of need, are more likely to take desperate measures when provided with very valuable or sensitive information.

      I also know of bad credit directly causing at least one person to get fired under the same presumption.

    • LibraryGeek says:

      @steveliv: I agree that this practice varies with the type of job you applied to. The story neglected to address that detail. However, I think your second statement is an assumption that is not always (or even mostly) true. I don’t think that this assumption has been studied and tested. I think this is one of those “common sense” things and “common sense” is often wrong. I’m not seeing anything offhand in a few publically available only psychology journals. I’d be curious if someone could run a search on (studies done concerning ‘credit scores’ and honesty or integrity or bribe* or espionage or corruption)via an academic library, where the bibliographic databases allow a user to run federated searches across many journal articles.

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @steveliv: Red Headed people might murder. Blondes might whack off. Women might go psycho.

      Yes, yes, yes, but no more than anyone else.

      You might just as well do any or all of these things, let’s not hire YOU either, ahole!

  5. Hank Scorpio says:

    “Seems odd to reject people just because they have bad credit.”

    I’m not defending the practice, but I think the reason usually given is that if someone can’t manage their own finances/household, then how can they be trusted to perform their job duties? (Or something along those lines.)

    I think the reasoning is entirely B.S. in most cases. I’m sure some people just can’t handle any responsibility (whether at work or at home), but I don’t think those people would have made it far enough in any ordinary interview process that you would need to use a credit report to weed them out.

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @Hank Scorpio: The conception that having a low credit score = not being able to manage your finances is pure ridiculousness. When reporting agencies are accountable for their errors and their reporting process, MAYBE. But until then, a credit score is a complete crap-shoot, and everybody who doesn’t know that is just buying the advertising.

    • NICU says:

      @Hank Scorpio: He was trying to get a job at an investment firm. If financing is your job, you had better have good finances. Would you hire a mechanic who can’t repair his own car? Would you hire an IT guy who doesn’t know how to use a computer? Why the hell would you hire someone to an investment firm who can’t manage his own finances?

    • snowburnt says:

      @Hank Scorpio: Also they’re worried about corporate espionage and other theft of company goods.

  6. Tim says:

    There’s no clear correlation between credit history and job performance, according to a 2003 study by Eastern Kentucky University.

    I think that pretty much answers the question right there.

    • steveliv says:

      @TCama: Yes, because we should all take one study as the god’s honest truth in the matter…

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @TCama: As many have said, its not about performance its about security. Who is more likely to steal or sell company, or worse national security, information, the guy with zero debt or the guy with $100k in credit card debt?

      • Tim says:

        @HIV 2 Elway: I’d assume (because I haven’t read the study) that security is part of job performance, considering the fact that selling company information is a pretty bad thing to do, job-wise.

        I just don’t see how you can jump from bad credit to selling company secrets or something along those lines. Bad credit can mean any number of things … selling company secrets is not one of them.

        • HIV 2 Elway says:

          @TCama: There is more of a temptation to sell secrets if one has mountains of debt. That’s the thought process, if that is right or wrong is up to debate. As for me, I side with the US Government and think its a fair screen to use.

      • Anonymously says:

        @HIV 2 Elway: The answer to that question depends on multiple factors, including greed, thrill-seeking, desperation, mental health and probably a ton of other things that I can’t think of.

        • HIV 2 Elway says:

          @Greg []: And how many of those factors are as quantifiable as a credit score?

          • Anonymously says:

            @HIV 2 Elway: Without interacting with the job candidate, I guess credit score is more easily quantifiable than other factors (regardless of how good of an indicator it is). A personality test, for example, could help to quantify some of those additional traits, but that would require the candidate’s participation. A company like DDI probably has a software product to automate that.

      • jimconsumer says:

        @HIV 2 Elway: Who is more likely to steal? I’d argue neither guy, because credit score has absolutely nothing to do with moral character. My buddy is the most honest, upstanding guy you could ever meet. He also has foreclosures, repos and all kinds of non-payment on his completely trashed credit report. His wife was managing their finances, quit paying for everything and just pocketed the money while hiding the late payment notices from him for months before she left him.

        Another guy lost his job when his company went bankrupt because the executives ran it into the ground for their own personal gain. He made the decision to feed his kids with what little he had left instead of paying his credit card bills.

        Behind every bad credit report is a personal story and most of them look like this. Virtually nobody sets out on a quest to buy things they can’t afford and intentionally not pay for them.

        Or we could just make assumptions about their moral character and call them potential thieves capable of espionage. Real cute, that…

        • MrEvil says:

          @jimconsumer: Ditto, I mean Bernie Madoff’s credit report must have been full of reposessions and charge-offs….right?

          The sad part is, Madoff wasn’t the ONLY scumbag running ponzi schemes. He was just the first roach that peered his head out from under the rock. Once we turned the rock over we found a whole lot more of them that were just as bad, but maybe not quite as large.

      • Kimberly Gist-Collins says:

        @HIV 2 Elway: What about the guy with $100,000 in medical bills who had to file b/c his insurance didn’t cover everything with his wife’s complicated pregnancy. Let’s say she spent 1 month in the hospital on bed rest before giving birth via c-section. Despite her wonderful care, the baby was still born at 30 weeks and spent 10 weeks in the NICU under constant care, on a ventilator, etc… So, he filed bankruptcy. All of his credit cards and other debts that he INTENDED on paying were discharged with the bankruptcy b/c that is just how things work.

        Is he going to rob a company too b/c he was so irresponsible as to file bankruptcy?

  7. Matt Von Tungeln says:

    It is actually against federal law to not hire someone because they have filed for bankruptcy protection; but with that being said the employer will probably just claim they did not hire him because of his overall credit report and not the bankruptcy in particular.

    • SheelaHelios says:

      @Matt Von Tungeln:

      This scares the hell out of me. I filed alone (long story; I went on a manic spending spree while very mentally ill before a hospitalization and medication brought me back to sanity) and it would be horrible if my husband (who has a MBA and 15 years experience) was turned down for a good job because of the mistakes I made. His credit is excellent.

  8. edwardso says:

    Due to a couple of minor emergencies, coupled with a furlough and some admittedly poor financial choices in the last 6 months my credit ration is pretty gruesome. Now I’m looking for a job and quite worried

    • labeled says:

      @edwardso: I wouldn’t worry too much, unless you are in the financial industry. Most general-sector employers don’t seem to require credit checks.

      • Karita says:

        @labeled: I don’t think that’s true. My finacee is applying for minimum wage work now, and even some of the fast food places are doing credit checks. All the jobs I’ve ever applied for (not money-related, but professional) state that a credit check is required. I haven’t actually seen one employer in the past few years who isn’t doing them. Anecdotal, sure, but I think more of them are doing it than we realize.

      • coolteamblt says:

        @labeled: Unfortunately, that’s not true anymore. My MIL has horrific credit (and is awful with her money in general, but I digress), and has been unemployed since November. She’s applied for over a hundred jobs, and even places like Taco Bell and Subway had a clause in their application stating they were going to check her credit. She got turned down for both jobs, and she thinks it’s because of her terrible credit.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The federal government runs extensive personal and financial checks on people. It’s part of the process of employment if you want to work for government. They want to make sure that no one can approach you on the street and say, “I know you’re about to lose your house. I can help you out,” in exchange for information. We’re not perfect – even very moral people, faced with desperate situations, may resort to desperate acts.

    If you are doing something related to government, security, finances, etc. then it makes sense for companies to run credit checks and reject you based on perceived liability.

    But the issue here is that they have to get permission and they have to inform you that they have rejected you precisely because of your credit report. If they don’t do either, it’s shady.

    • henwy says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:

      I’ve known some people who have had background checks and interviews for positions with the FBI/CIA and this is exactly what they look for. They don’t care, necessarily, about whether you go out at night dressed as a transvestite and deep throat wifflebats for entertainment. They care if it’s something hidden that you could possibly expose yourself to blackmail over. It’s just like why they usually don’t take closeted homoseuxals. There’s notta wrong from their POV for someone who’s gay and out, but gay and in the closet could be used as blackmail.

    • tange1 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Bingo — I hold a private sector job that has government controls on it and therefore I get credit checks at least yearly as part of a clearance I hold. I’ve been told its due to possible coercion (selling secrets).

      • oneandone says:

        @tange1: @pecan 3.14159265: Interesting. I don’t doubt you’re correct, but I think there are a lot of areas in government where they don’t do a credit check (though they will do a background check).

        When I was hired, I asked about it, and they said it wasn’t routine, and I was never asked to authorize onne. It never popped up on any of my reports, either.

        Background checks, yes. And fingerprinting. But there are a lot of positions where federal employment might not require a credit check.

        If anyone has real details (I’m sure there are regulations somewhere), I’d love to make myself more informed.

  10. thebluepill says:

    Its fairly obvious from the recent Wells Fargo fiasco that there is a core belief that there are racial connotations that can be inferred by ones credit report. By extension, the “credit check” for a potential employee might be construed as a way of weeding out certain races from the applicant pool. As wrong as it is, 5 gets you 10, that is what is happening frequently, and disgustingly.

    • steveliv says:

      @thebluepill: it is possible that could be happening, but it the credit report wouldn’t be a really good source of determining race. it’s more likely the job application or interview would be where it was occurring.

    • henwy says:


      I think there are easier ways to do that. Having an interview and looking at the person is a good start. Why the fuck would you depend on a credit report to figure out someone’s race? You would want to interview anyway before hiring.

      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @henwy: haha seriously. I was like: “… wtf? wouldnt they have weeded that out while, you know, actually interviewing in person?”

        Or maybe it went this way:

        “Hey, Trigg, we have these two applicants I just interviewed, Shaquita and Odumbe, I have a nagging suspiction they might be, you know, black. But I am not sure. Can you please run a credit check and find out?”

        • henwy says:


          Heh. I can just imagine the conundrum. Well, sure he _looks_ black, but his credit report looks white. I guess we’ll have to flip a coin on this one, guys.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @thebluepill: In the case of the Wells Fargo fiasco, people were given subprime loans regardless of their credit history. Affluent people were given subprime loans as well as poor people. It was a judgment based on race, assessed by the loan officer and Wells Fargo.

      In a case such as running credit history for employment, I think it’s the credit report that speaks for you personally, not your race. I don’t think that Equal Opportunity Employment means everyone abides by it all the time, and it is naive to think that EOE means everyone gets a fair shot. But I don’t think it means that all employers are only looking for X race.

  11. SkokieGuy says:

    The majority of bankruptcies in the country are tied to medical expenses, so that doesn’t seem to be a reasonable basis to discriminate on hiring – especially since access to healthcare it not available to all in our country.

    And as others have noted, your credit score can decline through no actions of your own, so basically American Express has the ability to prevent you from getting a job (we’re going to cut your limit to below your current balance, charge you overlimit fees and jack your interest rate and monthly payment. Your credit utilization will skyrocket so your credit score will plummet).

    The new credit card bill will only partly remedy this.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @SkokieGuy: But Amex cutting credit limits isn’t as damaging as facing foreclosure or declaring bankruptcy. Those are big, big things.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      @SkokieGuy: You’re right. Most bankruptcies are the result of illness (both the direct expense and the loss of income), divorce, or unemployment.

      It’s a comforting falsehood that most of those who are bankrupt ended up that way because they bought a big house, a fancy car, flat screen tv, and a bunch of useless crap they couldn’t afford. Those people exist, but they are mostly an imaginary scapegoat people heap their anxieties on so they can convince themselves it will never happen to them.

      The especially unfortunate part is that illness, divorce, and unemployment are often a proximate cause on one another. For example, you get sick, then lose your job. Or you lose your job and money problems cause marital strife.

      • Sisyphus101 says:

        @JiminyChristmas: I’d like to see your research on this b/c I don’t believe a word of what you are saying.
        My in-laws, who are poor with bad health insurance and retired, had hospital stays recently and had their bill written down by 50% and were put on a payment plan.
        They worked out something with the hospital to pay whatever it is per month and they are paying it.
        I absolutely think it is the people who spent too much, who had eyes bigger than their wallet and didn’t think about anything else.
        We make a very decent living and live in a house we could afford in a neighborhood we like for much, much less than we can afford just so that we could save enough for ‘in case’.
        I don’t think health care is the main issue. For some yes. For you maybe. For most BULL SHIT

        • Kimberly Gist-Collins says:

          @Sisyphus101: I had health insurance that only paid 70% and the hospital refused to write the payment down or work on a payment plan with me. They refused my attempt at partial payments. They just sued me.

          Not everyone is as lucky as your in-laws.

          And luckily, not everyone is as judgemental as you are. I hope a horrible medical tragedy never befalls you. It is horrible to have to deal with the medical issue, the bills, the insurance, and a hospital who refuses to help in any way, all while dealign with judgemental assholes like you who think that people like me who have had perfect credit with no late pays for the past 15 years are just a bunch of no good high living bums just b/c we filled b/k.

  12. Knippschild says:

    It might make him desperate to hang onto the job, but it might also make him desperate for money in general, which puts things like bribery into the realm of possibility.

  13. jayde_drag0n says:

    i really REALLY want to do some research on correlations to credit scores and taking bribes or stealing from your workplace (i’m not talking about a stapler or pens here).. because from the outside.. it seems like a lot of the people in jail for white collar crimes.. were pretty rich

    • jimconsumer says:

      @jayde_drag0n: +10!

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @jayde_drag0n: You know what though you should include staplers and pens . Unless someone flatout gave you permission or instructions to do so that is theft no matter how petty it may be it’still theft .

      I don’t think it’s about rich or poor and I think there using it as a predictor or indicator or POTENTIAL behavior . Personally I say if stuff like the resume and work history checks out along with a good interview I say take the chance on the applicant .

      But again you already have these HR types profiling / discriminating against applicants for stupid things like living in an apartment – yes I’ve heard stories of people loosing jobs because they rented an apartment and/or used a PO Box .

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @jayde_drag0n: Nailed it!

    • 1234tu says:

      @jayde_drag0n: it seems like a lot of the people in jail for white collar crimes.. were pretty rich

      I think the people you hear about are pretty rich. It is not exactly going to make national headlines if some bank teller gets nabbed for pocketing $100.00 – but it happens all the time

  14. Anonymous says:

    I really think this practice should be abolished. It’s an invasion of privacy, and while I think some connection can be made between really bad credit and poor responsibility, it still seems like too much of a stretch to rely on something like this as a predictive tool for how someone’s going to do on the job.

    I mean, I’m sure Bernie Madoff’s credit was fantastic.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      @ShekharPygmalion: I pretty much agree with you. The only instances where I think it’s justifiable are where the employee is directly handling funds that could easily be diverted, like a bank teller, someone working a cash register, a person in a purchasing department, that sort of thing.

      Seriously, what does a credit check really tell you about someone’s financial ethics? I’m sure those people at Wells Fargo who were ripping off people with subprime loans had stellar personal finances. Though, I guess the difference there is the employees were stealing from their customers and not their employer.

  15. HIV 2 Elway says:

    The most common reason secuirty clearances are rejected is because the applicant has poor credit. It has nothing to do with their job performance, they’re just more likely to sell info.

    • kmw2 says:

      @HIV 2 Elway: Oh really? Are they more likely to sell info or do people think they’re more likely to sell info? I don’t think the evidence, or actual security practice, upholds your argument here.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @kmw2: Have you gone through the government security clearance process? I have. There was much more scrutiny about my financial history then my admitted drug use.

        @dfwguy: “MOST bankruptcy filings in the US involve MEDICAL BILLS. How does that make them more likely to sell info?”

        No one said bankruptcy. One doesn’t need to declare bankruptcy to have poor credit and be denied a job or clearance.

        • Cruc says:

          @HIV 2 Elway:

          Absolutely correct; there was expenentially more focus on the financial side than the drug side for me as well.

          The other posters can be as “outraged” as they want to be, but being granted a security clearance isn’t about being “fair”, but realistically evaluating one’s vulnerabilities, or lack thereof.


    • dfwguy says:

      @HIV 2 Elway:

      “they’re more likely to sell info”

      And milk is a gateway drug to Vodka and LSD. Give me a break!

      MOST bankruptcy filings in the US involve MEDICAL BILLS. How does that make them more likely to sell info?

      This line of thought is no more valid than drug testing. Drug testing did not start to protect employees, it was used to keep people who needed expensive addiction treatments off the health insurance plan. Ask a company how many times they tested and how many they caught and if they have run that against the expense of testing. You will never get an answer.

      Try being out of work for a year and see if your credit score isn’t affected.

      Ask an honest actuarial how credit scores relate to any of this and they will tell you it doesn’t. Think you know statistics? Answer this.

      A certain disease occurs in 3% of the general population. A test to detect the disease exists and is 99% accurate. Test failure results in a false positive outcome. Even though you are symptom free you take the test. It comes back positive. What is the chance you have the disease?

      Answer: 3%

  16. u1itn0w2day says:

    I agree that an unemployed job applicant might be hungrier/more motivated but that’s any unemployed applicant as well-especially if everything else checks out . But there are alot of employers out in good times an bad that only want to hire someone coming from another job .

    I think all these HR types are trying to profile potential employees in order to find the idea candidate-yeah in your dreams . I’ve seen too many companies where they are offering nothing more than a JOB but they are treating it like a career oppurtunity . What puzzles me is that they leave the opening for months on end looking of rhe ideal candidate .

    As far as talking about someone’s credit history and/or finances THAT’s another story . I think many feel that a person in desperate financial need might be someone open to stealing , lying or simply hopping to the next higher paying job they can get . It still all comes back to profiling applicants for the ideal candidate .

    I must say though if I was hiring a for a handle money and/or budget related position I would give someone with a bad credit history a second look . I wouldn’t expect a perfect score but I don’t think I would hire a CFO if their credit score was 500 .

  17. Sam Wille says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to tie this to my Facebook account:

    I was denied seasonal employment by Radioshack – RADIOSHACK – due to my credit score. I subsequently filed for Chapter 7 sometime later when I had no other choice. It makes me extremely mad that I can ACE an interview and be considered a nice seasonal pick-up by the hiring managers and essentially be given a schedule only to find out days later that I’m not fit for the job because I was behind on bills.

    Being financially stressed motivated me to want to work as many hours as I possibly could, not steal and do 5-10 for theft. Where would that leave my family?

  18. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I have no problem with this, in fact I’ve seen worse. One of my coworkers was fired for fucking up our fantasy baseball auction. The thought process was, if you can’t count to 260, you can’t manage our IT department.

    • Sam Wille says:


      “If I employed people, I’d want to know things like this. In fact, I’d want to know about their family history, their character, their finances… anything and everything that could/would affect their performance on the job.”


      “Above all, I’d want to know if they are trustworthy. A credit report is just one small litmus test, and I would certainly use it.”

      Just because a person has a poor credit rating, it doesn’t make them untrustworthy.

      “Oh, you can’t manage your money so you must be untrustworthy and a terrible employee….application DENIED!”

      “Oh, you filed Chapter 7 because of mounting medical debt……..your wife died…….you had 10+ years of service at your last job and left because they went under due to the economy…..”

      Denied still? Criminals – people that hack into bank accounts, rob banks and rape women and children get better treatment. Why? They pay their bills on time.

    • legwork says:

      “One of my coworkers was fired for fucking up our fantasy baseball auction. The thought process was, if you can’t count to 260, you can’t manage our IT department.”

      @HIV 2 Elway: Interesting. I’d be looking sideways at anyone who place that much value in fantasy anything. Next thing you know they’ll be taking days off for their imaginary friend’s birthday.

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @HIV 2 Elway: Yeah, come back later when it affects you; I’m sure you’ll be screaming bloody murder.

  19. GuinevereRucker says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with this. Just like a criminal record tells you something about the person, so a horrible credit report is an indicator as to how a person generally manages their money.

    If I employed people, I’d want to know things like this. In fact, I’d want to know about their family history, their character, their finances… anything and everything that could/would affect their performance on the job. Above all, I’d want to know if they are trustworthy. A credit report is just one small litmus test, and I would certainly use it.

    • MMD says:

      @GuinevereRucker: Getting laid off and having financial troubles makes someone automatically untrustworthy? How do you make that leap?

      Knowing someone’s family history may be interesting or revealing – but it’s also illegal for you to ask in an interview.

      • Sam Wille says:

        @MMD: Oh, but these days you can’t be too careful about the applicants you screen. They might be gay, Christian or even a minority! Can’t have that in workplace!

        Nope, you have to have a credit score over 750, a house on Main Street with a white picket fence a lovely spouse and 2.5 children.

        • jenjen says:

          @Sam Wille: unless you are a woman. Then if you have children we won’t hire you. You must be attractive but committed to total celibacy.

      • Skaperen says:

        @MMD: A LOT of people make that leap because they are basically idiots.

      • the_wiggle says:

        @MMD: and yet those questions still come up. . . !

    • nakedscience says:

      @GuinevereRucker: Oh, okay. So someone gets laid off, then they get sick. Suddenly, they are swimming in debt that they didn’t have before. DING! Suddenly, not trustworthy!

    • nakedscience says:

      @GuinevereRucker: Also, it’s scary that you think it’s okay to ask someone their family history in a job interview. Something tells me your employer would want to know that, so they can fire you and avoid lawsuits.

      • supercereal says:

        @nakedscience: It’s actually not legal or okay to ask on an interview (not that anyone said it was…), but you take a certain kind of job and you better be ready to pass along everything about your life and your family’s life. You’d be surprised how many sectors require this.

    • Skaperen says:

      @GuinevereRucker: As long as the person reading the credit report is not so dumb as to make false assumptions. Someone who is behind on bills and has been employed without a gap, I would certainly have my doubts about. But if they have job loses, then that can readily explain the credit issues. Then go look at the job loses and see why. Are they happening in a bad economy or a good economy. Are they because of the failure of the employee, or the employer.

      It has been a common pattern that people actually do NOT look into the why of bad credit history. They just see a low score and make dumb assumptions.

      YOU, GuinevereRucker, are saying that you ASS-U-ME a person with bad credit means they mismanage money? You, GuinevereRucker, are not aware that another cause of bad credit is simply the LACK of money? YOU, GuinevereRucker … are part of the problem!

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @Skaperen: I don’t really understand that last part of what you said.

        I agree that the employer should read this kind of report with wisdom. Of course a bad credit report doesn’t mean a person is evil or even necessarily bad with money. But, as I said before, it’s an *indicator* of potential problems. I’d certainly ask about this before I hired someone, and I think that’s perfectly ok.

        I’m not advocating asking illegal questions. I am of the opinion that when you hire someone, you’re hiring a package. As such, I would want to know everything I could about the person before hiring them to make the most informed decision I could.

        For instance, I’d much rather hire an honest, trustworthy, hard-working family man who is slightly less qualified for the job than a shady, dishonest guy with ten degrees. Could you find out what kind of person someone is from one job interview? No idea, I’m not an employer. But I support the asking of the questions to find out!

        • nakedscience says:

          @GuinevereRucker: In fact, I’d want to know about their family history, their character, their finances…

          You do realize that asking about THEIR FAMILY HISTORY is ILLEGAL, right?

          You advocated asking illegal questions.

          It came directly from your fingers.

          Don’t be an idiot.

          “I’m not an employer. But I support the asking of the questions to find out!”

          Thank fucking god, because clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • GuinevereRucker says:

            @nakedscience: Since you’re totally rude and disrespectful, I’m not going to respond to that. Arguing with someone like that is not that fun.

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @GuinevereRucker: “a horrible credit report is an indicator as to how a person generally manages their money.” –> totally wrong.

      Also, sounds like you want to break all kinds of laws when it comes to interviewing applicants. You must be pretty confident that you’ll never be on the other side of that interviewing table.

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @Mary Marsala with Fries: Since I’m ignorant of the laws, can you point me to the one that precludes asking about someone’s family? I’m curious!

        Also, I stand by my statement that a credit report is an indicator of how someone manages their money. Notice I didn’t say “the only indicator”, but again, if I was an employer, it would just raise a red flag until I found out the reasons behind it.

    • henneko says:

      @GuinevereRucker: If by family history you mean in the medical sense, “did your mother have breast cancer?” “Did your grandfather die of a heart attack?” then thats A) illegal, B) nosy, and C) why would I want to work for an insensitive clod that keeps bringing up my dead grandparents?

      As for just general family questions, this article looks to be a pretty good guide on what you can’t ask and how to get around it. But seriously, in this case I still wouldn’t want to tell you I don’t have a family, I thought we grew out of the whole “ha ha loser virgin” thing after graduating from college.

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @henneko: That’s not at all what I meant by asking about family. And if you were single with no family, that would totally be fine. Single people tend to focus on their work more anyway, as they don’t have family commitments!

        What I meant is stuff like: Are you divorced or considering divorce? Kids? How many? How seriously do you take family commitments if you have one? Any affairs in your marriage?

        That kind of thing. Medical stuff doesn’t matter much to me I guess.

        Now I totally understand that asking someone you don’t even know these types of questions can be rude, and I probably wouldn’t even ask them point blank. But I would want to know if I could – it would help me make an informed decision, because the way you treat/manage your family is yet another indicator of what you are like.

  20. wcnghj says:

    “We are denying you employment, you were late on all your payments the last two months.”

    Uhmm, DUH! I am unemployed and don’t have any money…

    • steveliv says:

      @wcnghj: contrary to popular belief, unemployed and/or penniless people aren’t the only ones looking for jobs in this economy.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @wcnghj: @steveliv: I agree with steveliv…and just because you’re unemployed, doesn’t mean you don’t have any money. In the case of the people in the article, they had money – but they went through it in three months, and then had to rely on credit cards…that’s likely how they got into credit card debt to begin with, if they didn’t have any before.

      • Skaperen says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Many people argue that you should not use credit cards when you have no means to pay them back. These same people suddenly fall silent when asked how people are to survive a little longer to when there might be a job. These same people expect people to just give up when the cash runs out and put themselves in a situation (example: sell the car) that makes them unable to even take a job.

  21. steveliv says:

    When a company hires someone, they pretty much become liable for everything that person does. It makes sense that they might want to use every tool they can to get a good picture of who it is they are hiring.

  22. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I’m really surprised at the number of commenters here who take it for granted that a prospective employer should be able to demand access to your credit history, and reject you because of it. I think that is an extreme violation of privacy, and a stupid business practice, except in relation to a very small category of jobs. I could list reasons and examples, but basically, I just think the practice is despicable, scummy and not good business.

    The entire credit rating system is on shaky ground and always has been. It’s simply not a basis for determining a person’s productivity or ethics. That’s what job references and background checks are for.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @razremytuxbuddy: The key here is that they have to obtain your permission. So the bigger lesson is, read your job applications very carefully. Just because you send in a resume and go in for an interview doesn’t mean they can run your credit report. They need a signature from you. So either you give them permission, and understand what they are going to do, or you say no, and risk them rejecting you because of incomplete information.

      • Sudonum says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:
        “and risk them rejecting you because of incomplete information. “

        which is exactly what’s going to happen. So a job candidate is going to take the chance that their credit report isn’t going to be SO bad that it causes them to be denied the position.

        I have literally hired and fired at least a hundred people. Every time you hire someone it’s a crap shoot. I’ve hired people that HR thought were “sterling” and they were the worst screw ups that I ever had. I caught one stealing TV’s from the Hotel. I caught another doing crack on the job. These were people that passed all of the personality and aptitude tests with flying colors.

        I’ve also had people that I took a shot with and quite a few of them turned out to be outstanding employees. One of them is now running his own department and making more money than I am. I had to beg HR to let me hire him.

        While a credit report can be used as PART of the screening process, people are individuals and need to be treated as such. No credit report is going to tell me what kind of employee that person is going to be.

      • razremytuxbuddy says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I understand that the prospective employer needs the applicant’s permission to access his/her credit history, but I think it’s wrong that the employer can ask, and place the applicant in the no-win position of having to go along with the practice or be rejected for declining to grant permission. A person’s credit history is extremely private information that is increasingly being accessed and abused for inappropriate purposes.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @razremytuxbuddy: I agree . I don’t know if it’s true or not but I heard you really shouldn’t even have to give up your social security number until you are hired . Your social security number was never intended for identification purposes and yet it’s common practice to give out on just about anything now .

      From the conspiracy side I think the use and of the social security number and or credit rating is nothing but a tag so various factions can follow and study you like a tagged shark on the Discovery Channel .

      One more thing . I’ve heard of several lawsuits over the years where the automobile insurance companies have been using your credit history to figure rates . They say they have studies that proove those with better credit histories have fewer accidents and tickets .

      • Karita says:

        @u1itn0w2day: That is true – the underwriters determined there is a correlation. Problem is, it tends to discriminate against the poor. Except it’s legal discrimination, as the correlation is there. I manage to get low rates anyway, as I’ve never had a ticket or accident. But I think it’s wrong to take into account factors which may or may not be the fault of the individual.

        To add to the first part of your comment, I was under the impression that SSNs were not issued as ID numbers, and there is some kind of legal issue with forcing people to give them. Sure, people aren’t “forced as in strong-armed”, as they can refuse and take business elsewhere. But how much choice does one really have when the choice is give one’s SSN or not have credit cards/bank accounts/mortgages/insurance/employment?

  23. lalaland13 says:

    I do think credit reports and scores have too much power nowadays, especially when one number can ruin you or, like a friend in California is finding, prevent you from moving out of your ghetto apartment into something nicer.

    It doesn’t seem like this was based on a number, though. I feel for the guy because it does seem like a bad situation with no good answers. Maybe I should be glad my job doesn’t require me to handle money, and therefore my credit is less likely to be an issue.

    I wonder how they treat people a year or two out of college with a bunch of student loans. Would that be considered a big risk?

    • Sam Wille says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: But you don’t necessarily know (unless its a government job or requires government clearance) that they will pull your credit until you get to a certain point in the application process – usually at the time you interview and are filling out forms and getting information for drug testing, etc.

      I understand how the use of illegal drugs and a prior history of criminal activity would reflect poorly on your character, people are sent to prison for that. Being in debt is not a crime nor a disease, however I can see if the position is for a job at a bank (think, Federal regulations) I could see officials taking issue with hiring a person with poor credit initially for anything higher than a teller.

      Too bad there isn’t an employment report people can just pull on prospective employees to screen them for actual ethic and legal violations, poor performance habits, etc. You know, weighting things that would actually factor into the position.

  24. Gokuhouse says:

    I’ve never liked the idea of turning someone down because they have a bad credit score. That stupid score should only be used when applying for credit. I hope some day it becomes illegal to use it for anything other than when someone is trying to get credit….Why else would it be called a credit score? Or a credit report?

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Gokuhouse: Employers don’t get the FICO score; they just get the last seven years of credit history. When I had credit included in reports I did in the past (sales, finance primarily – jobs where the ability to manage money mattered), the background company gave me a quick summary and told me about the bad stuff.

      The issues I noticed that concerned me:

      * defaults
      * accounts in collection
      * judgments

      It seems everyone under a certain age had one bad experience with a cell phone company and ended up in collections.

      I worry though about how bad the credit reporting companies can be about mixing people up. I’ve seen some pretty messy reports because of it.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @David Brodbeck: The FICO score isn’t important for this — we don’t get the scores, only the narrative of the report and a bunch of balance numbers.

  25. Skin Art Squared says:

    There’s a very easy way to prevent anyone from looking at your credit reports. Freeze your reports with the bureaus. Once done, only your current creditors, i.e. open accounts or accounts with a balance, are able to view your reports. Period.

    I froze mine with all three major credit agencies over a year ago and it’s staying that way. If I need to allow access to them to someone for whatever reason, I can temporarily thaw them for a short period, then they auto-refreeze.

    If anyone has a problem with it, for instance say, a prospective employer, simply tell them you were a victim of identity theft and for your own protection decided to freeze them. They don’t like it? Too bad.

  26. veg-o-matic says:

    Maybe all those people with excellent credit histories got all that money by taking bribes and selling sensitive company info at their old jobs.

  27. floridamom says:

    Many credit reports will show ongoing or catastrophic medical problems. Perhaps the employer used this credit report to avoid taking on a potential problem for their health insurace coverage?

  28. David Brodbeck says:

    I think of stories like this every time Dave Ramsey says people shouldn’t worry about their FICO score. I’m not sure he realizes what the job market is like for non-millionaires these days.

  29. The-Lone-Gunman says:

    They say there’s no Debtor’s Prison in the United States.

    It’s a lie.

    Ask the ones with bad credit scores.

    Wow—what a great tag line for a movie.

    “Based on actual events!!!”

  30. shepd says:

    You could always refuse to sign the credit report permission next time you get a job offer. Leave them with the option of hiring you without that information or not.

    Since you now know that with that information they won’t hire you, you might benefit by letting them decide just how desperate they really are to fill the position. Company rules about not hiring people with bad credit might be hard and fast, but how about company rules regarding people with NO credit history? Those have to be a bit more lax or they’d never be able to hire people into junior positions.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @shepd: Part of the problem, I suspect, is that since most people consent, anyone who doesn’t automatically looks suspicious. It’s like if the cops pull you over and ask to search your car…if you say “no,” you create the impression (rightly or wrongly) that you have something to hide.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @shepd: Having no credit history usually doesn’t matter. It’s not a matter of looking to see that you have built up a history of handling your own finances well. It is really about how much you have screwed up (foreclosures, collections, defaults). No credit history can be suspicious if you are over a certain age, but it probably won’t prevent you from getting a job.

  31. u1itn0w2day says:

    Playing devils advocate what should be looked at or emphasized the most in a credit score or history ?

    Should 1 bankruptcy show more weight than a history of just slow pay or settled debt ?

    Should your total debt $$$ be emphasized more than the number of loans you’ve had ?

    Should a guy who has one loan to buy a Cadillac get more or less preference than a person with over a 1/2 dozen active cards ?

    In other words should it be the dollar amount of your spending or what you spent it on ? Other than a total number or score this particular employment tool can get very subjective .

  32. humphrmi says:

    Wow, a lot of comments here. I tried to read as many as I can to make sure that this isn’t a duplicate.

    I really hope that Mr. Denton can find a job. If he’s worked in financial services in the past, he should be aware that licensed financial services companies have rules that are set out by the Fed as to who can have jobs with access to customer information. Unfortunately, bad credit is one of those things that the Fed won’t allow.

    It’s not that the Fed won’t allow them to hire him, they can hire whoever they want as far as the Fed is concerned. He just can’t be in a job that gives him access to customer financial data.

  33. Jerry Vandesic says:

    In cases like this the OP needs industrial strength help. The commenters on this board probably have good intentions, but they are for the most part amateurs. Take a look at the Credit Boards online community(www.creditboards.com). These folks know how to work with the system and there is an incredible amount of knowledge that they are happy to share. They are quick to reply to queries, and there are a number of pre-written letters that you can use to challenge reported debts.

    For example, one thing I learned was how to have medical claims revmoved from a credit report, even if they are valid. The key is to invoke the right laws (e.g., HIPAA) in the right order with the right parties.

  34. chiieddy says:

    If you work in, say, the financial industry, you damn well better have good credit.

    I’m including bank tellers in that statement.

  35. chargernj says:

    Well my credit isn’t the best and I manage large amounts of money at my job. Yet never have I even so much as considered doing anything illegal or unethical or illegal in regards to my job. I think credit reports are BS, if you want to know if someone is likely to be a criminal, do a criminal background check. I would really like to know if anyone has actually done any studies that correlate poor credit history with untrustworthy or poor work behavior. Yes, I’m bad with money, but I’m really good at my job. Meanwhile the CEO of AIG, GM, Chrysler, Lehman Brothers and others probably had and still have excellent credit. Yet it didn’t stop them from behaving in an unethical, or foolish manner in regards to their jobs.

  36. Antiks says:

    Running people’s credit as a basis for getting a job should be illegal.

  37. u1itn0w2day says:

    I think people are getting hung up of criminal behavior when it simply might be a personality type they’re looking for . Reckless credit in their eyes might mean anything from unsafe behavior when doing physical tasks or a sloppy or overly aggressive management style .

    I don’t agree with it , personally I think these HR/professional paper pusher types need something extra to justify their consultant fees & services but there must something to it because this has been going on for years . Even if a good credit score leads to lower turnover there’s probably something or some reason for it as blown out of proportion it may be .

    What’s really scarey is they might use your credit history to determine your salary – they might say you only have so much a month in bills so we’ll pay X dollars .

  38. u1itn0w2day says:

    This reminds of those personalty tests with questions such as : do you like to gamble ? ,do you gamble ? or would you rather be at a party or home reading a book ? .

    So what if you like to gamble – if you have a good credit history what is the worth of that question . Just like the party or read a book question – if you don’t want to party does that mean you can’t deal with people . If you don’t like to read does that mean you are dumb or can’t read .

    I’m trying to think of personality traits or observations of people I know of that went bankrupt or have had financial troubles . Some the few things I can think of is that they are not detail oriented people nor do they really think about the consequences of anything – act more an impulse . But is any of this behavior unethical,illegal or really that troublesome ?

    The wrong opinion or priority can really screw up the use of these hiring methods : again they can be very subjective .

  39. SteveZim1017 says:

    Jeez, they are looking at Credit reports not credit scores. They are more interested in the fact that you decided to open up a 3rd credit card while defaulting on the payments of the other 2. Or that you got that Credit card for Dicks sporting goods for those new golf clubs while you were hiding your car for repossesion.

    Its a way of helping them determine a person’s judgement skills

  40. ZaleAtreus says:

    FINRA, the regulating arm of investment companies, will not license someone who is “fiscally irresponsible” – which includes filing for bankruptcy. If this guy is ineligible to receive his security licenses then he can’t work for a security firm. As someone in the financial industry to over 20 years this makes perfect sense. I’ve seen guys LOSE their license, and therefore their livelihood, due to declaring bankruptcy. We‚Äôre required, by federal rule, to be financially responsible.

  41. mandy_Joy says:

    The employers now a days not only check credit scores, but also “mode of living” Like whether you live in a house in the ghetto I guess or trailer park, apartment…..cardboard box etc.

    They need to realize that we NEED jobs so we DON’T have to live in these places they may try and judge us on. I have lost a lot of opportunities due to less than stellar credit, and the fact I lived at home or somewhere the employers considered low income or “the hood”. My address changed a few years ago, still in an apartment, but somehow its in a upper middle class neighborhood. Still have the crappy credit, just lucky enough to find a cheap place in a great neighborhood…people actually comment on job interviews about “how nice” my neighborhood is, or “oh you live on “such and such ” road? WOW!” But once they find out the credit report or previous address its bye bye second interview!

  42. 1234tu says:

    Checking credit is a very good way of learning about highly compensated people. I mean – if a waiter is late on some credit card payment all that means is that he probably didn’t have the cash to pay it when it came due – it probably says very little about him as a person – but if you are talking about hiring an attorney, and you know that he has made in the six figure range for the last 10 years, and had health insurance etc, but his credit is jacked it is a pretty good indication that he has made some very poor choices – and he would have to have a heck of an explanation.

  43. Silversmok3 says:

    Heres the misunderstanding regarding credit checks.
    Unless its a finance position, credit reports arent run to see what debts you have.

    A major company runs credit reports for two reasons. One is to see how responsible the candidate is with money. The other is to see how honest the applicant is.

    If I run your credit and see a bankruptcy, but you didnt mark down in the app that you did in fact file BK, thats a serious red flag. If you lie on the
    application, youll lie to me on the job.

    Ive been hired by companies with a sub-500 credit score (yeah, bad) because I was honest about my issues.

    Methinks the OP didnt answer the BK question honestly , and the company saw that AND the foreclosure and withdrew the offer.

  44. Roxanne says:

    This has frustrated me for a long time. My credit is not that bad, but the practice alone offends me.

    Frankly, employees should be able to see the employer’s credit report – after all, the employer will be the one owing money to the employee on a regular basis.

  45. synergy says:

    Seems odd to reject people just because they have bad credit. If anything, you think that would make them better employees because obviously they’re more desperate to hang on to their jobs!


  46. Con Sumer Zealot says:

    You know, I just want to say that several of the people on here that think this is a good thing – employers denying you a job and / or unemployment based on lousy credit HELLO because you are unemployed to begin with being a GOOD thing – you really sicken the HELL out of me.

    If we need any proof of class warfare in this society – this discussion board is it right here.

    I have never seen such a bunch of busybody, falsely superior aholes strutting and taunting others like they are SO MUCH better than the rest of us.

    Let me tell you “personal responsibility” ahole hypocrites something. YOU ARE ONE ACCIDENT, HEALTH CRISIS, JOB LOSS, PERSONAL TRAGEDY, etc. away from the SAME DAMN THING YOURSELVES, so SHUT UP. I hope for every single one of you you get some DAMN hard knocks to teach you some lessons, being so insensitive to hundreds of thousands of people in your midst, in your families, in your churches, your schools, your neighborhoods, your work places going through the very same things you will sooner or later.

    Your falsely superior “oh well, serves you right, it must be your fault, sucks to be you” attitudes are most certainly NOT Christian, civil, or personally responsible. They make me and others around you want to WRETCH.

  47. u1itn0w2day says:

    Bankruptcies/history can repeat when it comes to business . Here’s an example of someone who has declared bankruptcy 3 TIMES for one of his companies .


    Granted it’s one of Donald Trump’s businesses but he has declared bankruptcy at least 3 times . It’s not his personal life but in business he has a history of declaring bankruptcy . He can afford to write it off and go on to his next project/company .

    But some businesses cannot write off their financial troubles . Same COULD be said about somone who has a HISTORY of bankruptcies and/or bad credit . I can hire someone who had A bankruptcy and A rough period in their financial life but I would give someone a second look if they had a HISTORY a financial trouble .

    I still don’t agree with having to sign away your right to privacy just for a job .

  48. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    Just ask any banker or hedge fund manager – financial irresponsibility is a sign of masterful genius and needs to be compensated well. In fact, the more you screw up your finances – the more cash Big Daddy Taxpayer will give you!!

    BONUS: You can loan it back to Big Daddy Taxpayer and demand interest from us as you bribe our congressfolk to cut the remaining shreds of the safety net!

    Thanks, Ronnie “Voodoo” Reaganomics!!

  49. nygenxer says:

    This is the economic equivalent of a drug test, and just like drug testing, it should be outlawed for all but a handful of occupations.

    An employer/employee relationship is fundamentally simple: time, effort and usually expertise is exchanged for money, and how I spend or don’t spend money is no one’s fucking business but my own, just like my free time is mine to spend.

    Expecting an unemployed person to be current on their debts is absurd and cruel.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @nygenxer: If 9 out of every 10 job applicants would NOT give the company permission to check their credit score the practice would stop .

      Most people are for the lack a better word sheeple . HRs get very upset when they do not get the standard response – yes ; you can check my credit and have my social security number before I am hired . But that might be part of the process to see how compliant you are – are you a party pooper ; a rebel rouser . Most people are taught to blindly follow .

      I don’t think the credit check is too find out if you are current or not but more of how you got there . Do you owe Best Buy 4500$ for a big screen or do you owe Midas 450$ for car repairs . It’s still a very shaky way to profile an applicant .

      Question for those that have declared bankruptcy or settled debts – how long does that process take ? . Shouldn’t the normal amount of time to resolve unpaid debts be taken into account when looking at a person’s history ? Unless a person has 7 years of crap on a 7 year history a year of trouble shouldn’t matter .