Thursday, July 22, 2010

Want a Job? Pay Your Bills on Time

From CNN Money. Now the latest applicant screening tool seems to be the FICO score.

"Falling behind on your bills? It could cost you a job.

An increasing number of employers are using credit checks to screen potential job applicants. So missed payments on your mortgage, car or credit card could keep you from getting hired."

With good reason--if you can't handle finances at home, you aren't going to do well on the job, plus you're viewed as more likely to steal from your employer.

"The timing could not be worse.

"At exactly the time everyone's credit seems to be going down the toilet, more and more employers are using this," said Nat Lippert, research analyst for the union Unite Here. "You get in a Catch-22: You can't pay your bills because you don't have a job, and now you can't get a job because you can't pay your bills."


"Pratt says that a credit check gives employers details about accounts in collection, debt levels, bankruptcies and other problems that would cast doubt on someone's ability to handle responsibility. It does not report credit scores or account numbers.

Pratt also argues that the credit histories are only one factor considered by employers, and that prospective employees are supposed to be given the chance to respond to what their credit check turns up.

But consumer advocates and some job seekers say that candidates are being unfairly judged by the circumstances of their private lives.

"Employers have adopted this method as a proxy for character reference, believing it reflects on people's ability to handle responsibility," said Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research for "That's a bit of a reach."

Is it? If you've been frugal all along, you have nothing to worry about.

"James said that despite his credit problems, he was an honest worker and never stole a penny from the large deposits he was entrusted with.

Indeed, consumer advocates say the overwhelming majority of job applicants with credit problems don't steal from their employers and it's unfair for their credit situation to be held against them."

It shows who's been living beyond their means.


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