Background checks are and will remain a critical component of any job interview. The type of check depends on the position. Credit checks are important for positions with extensive financial responsibilities. It pays off to use specialized resources like Unmask.com for relevant information. For example, it has emerged that your credit history is most likely to be checked if you’re after:
- A job that includes access to classified employee data
- A position that includes accounting, banking, or handling cash
- A position as a senior executive that comes with a lot of responsibilities
US News reports that almost three-quarters of all employers carry out screening as part of pre-employment verification. Almost a third of those screenings involve checking the candidate’s credit. Yet, your credit history is far from decisive: two-thirds of employers will give the applicant a chance to explain why their credit is less than stellar before deciding in their favor or against them.
It pays off to know your credit history well. Visit annualcreditreport.com and ask for your free credit report, to which you’re entitled from TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. These are the three main credit bureaus. You can have one free report a year.
Read it in detail and have errors corrected before they compromise a promising candidacy. You’d be surprised about how often errors emerge. 20% of Americans identified a mistake on a credit report that affected their credit history negatively, according to an FTC study. What’s more, this was a mistake on a report from one of the main agencies.
How to Protect Yourself
Your employer is required to give you a copy of the report if they decide not to hire you because of your financial history. They are obligated to provide a summary of your rights clarifying how to contact the agency that issued the report. What’s more, you get a notice of your entitlement to dispute the completeness or accuracy of any information provided by a credit reporting agency.
Do Criminal Records Sink Interviews?
In certain sectors, nothing short of a squeaky clean record will do. Candidates who have committed a violent crime or an offense related to sexual behavior, cybercrime, mental health problems, or addiction do not stand a chance for positions that come with high security clearance. You still have some protection as a job seeker. Before running a background check, your potential employer has to ask for your consent in writing. When it comes to criminal history, you’re entitled to a copy of the report too.
What About Bad Driving Records?
A few moving violations or speeding tickets should not be perceived as a red flag by a prospective employer. However, a job that requires driving will require a clean record. Obviously, you would present a risk with prior violations on your driving record, and no company wants that liability. Getting into an accident while working for the company could mean legal or financial repercussions for them. Be prepared to explain if your DMV record has a DUI charge.
Finally, more in-depth pre-employment background checks will unearth a filing for bankruptcy. However, the company can’t actually see the reason for the bankruptcy. It’s up to you to tell your interviewer what your problems were and what you did to get back on your feet. Again, this won’t be very important for jobs that don’t involve handling money. What’s more, most employers understand that unforeseen events like medical issues or accidents cause bankruptcy. Still, this conversion is best had one on one.
Our Final Say
Undergoing a background check never made anyone happy; that much is true. Even older, more experienced job seekers can have concerns over potential employers looking at their personal data. To make sure your history is as clean as you think, you can do a check on yourself before going to an interview. As long as you’re prepared to give a convincing explanation of any unpleasantness, you’re pretty much in the clear. Once you’ve done that, you can move on. Your job skills and qualifications matter most, so focus on emphasizing why you’re the perfect fit.