Background Checks and Your Credit – Blog

Your credit doesn’t just matter when you want to borrow money; it has an effect on how and where you earn it, too. Many employers do credit and background checks before making a decision to hire. In some cases, they wish to ensure that you are being truthful on your resume — not surprising, as almost half of all resumes contain at least one instance of someone stretching the truth. In others, the job may require security clearances, and they want to make sure that you qualify for them. Many employers also want to see a good credit rating, since many people believe that it correlates with reliability and good job performance.

What Can Employers Look At?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates what can be included in a background check. Reports are truncated so that medical billing is obscured; the reason for this is medical privacy laws. An unaltered credit report could inadvertently reveal private medical history that can cause discrimination. Employers need to get your permission before viewing your credit history.

As part of a background check, most companies will also want to verify your employment history. While this can sound intimidating, it usually just involves checking your references. This is done to make sure that the dates that you provided match up with what the employer hears when they check back with the references you listed.

In some cases, employers will also want to check your criminal history, usually in security-related jobs. Some states only allow employers to look back a set amount of years, others have records that are more open. If you are applying for a security-related position, you will generally need to submit to a check of your full criminal history.

How to Make Sure Your Background Check Brings Back Your Best You

The first step to take is to always maintain good relationships with at least a handful of people at each job. Connect on sites like LinkedIn so that you can find each other in the future to provide employment history verification for one another.

Next, pull your credit record so that you have an idea what a potential employer will see. Get inaccurate negative items removed. For everything else, provide an explanation that potential employers will see when they look at your report. This shows that you are conscientious and working to fix past errors.

If youthful indiscretions have left a criminal record or two, find out about having those records sealed or expunged. The process can take some time and some money, but, this is often made back in future earnings that you may not have access to otherwise.

By ensuring that your background check presents the best possible version of you, you increase your chances of landing the job that you want and open up your financial future.