Wealth management

By Mark Rittersporn

TCPalm, June 7, 2018 —

STUART [FL] — When you are searching for a job, demonstrating relevant experience and acing the interview are important.

But they may not be enough to secure the position.

Regardless of the type of job you are seeking, you could be turned down by an employer if you bounced some checks at some point or were late in paying your bills.

Employers are permitted by law, with some restrictions, to conduct background checks on job candidates during the hiring process and when evaluating current employees for promotion, reassignment, and retention.

While screening job candidates for credit problems has long been routine in banking and financial services, the practice is now spreading to other industries.

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of private employers check the credit histories of some of their job applicants, and 13% check the histories of all potential hires.

Also, 10% of unemployed Americans have been denied a job because of data in their credit report.

Some employers may be concerned that an employee with financial problems may be tempted to steal, especially if the employee handles money.

Employers may also view an employee who is under financial pressure as a security risk, subject to bribery, and vulnerable to offers from competitors trying to buy confidential information.

Before embarking on your job search, request copies of your credit report from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

With identity theft on the rise, it has become more important to remain vigilant about your personal credit records.

You are entitled under Federal law to request one free credit report a year from each of these credit bureaus.

To order your reports, go to www.annualcreditreport.com

When you receive your reports, check for any mistakes that might negatively affect your credit score.


Notify the credit reporting agency that issued the report of any information you believe to be incorrect.

The agency is then required to reinvestigate and, subsequently, confirm, correct, or delete the information.

If, however, your credit report reveals some legitimate problems, you may have time to repair some of the damage before you begin your job search.

While most negative information can be reported for seven years, you may be able to improve your score by paying off outstanding debt, taking on no additional debt, and paying your bills on time.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the employer must obtain written authorization from the job candidate before requesting information on the candidate’s credit history from a consumer credit reporting company.

If a prospective employer requests permission to review your credit history, you are within your rights to refuse to sign the authorization. But this would likely jeopardize your chances of getting the job.

Marc Rittersporn is a financial advisor with Integritt Wealth Management in Stuart.