Why Credit Scores Matter on Job Applications

One in ten employers say they've decided against a candidate because of a poor score.

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How much a credit score affects hiring decisions has been a subject of some debate. After all, just because someone has trouble paying off his credit card each month doesn't necessarily mean he'll be a bad employee. (Of course, for certain jobs, such as the banking sector or other work handling money, it makes more sense to check out someone's financial habits.)

In a survey of human resource managers, TransUnion's TrueCredit.com recently found that while half of respondents said they don't check candidates' credit scores, 13 percent did, and used them when deciding whether or not to hire the person. One in ten managers said they have declined to offer someone a job because of a poor credit score. Also, 16 percent of the human resources managers said that because of the recession, they expect credit scores to become more important in the hiring process.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that one in four people are worried about losing their job this year. Given the potential importance of credit scores in finding a new one, anyone who's worried might want to pay extra attention to paying their bills each month.

  • For more, read "How to Improve Your Credit Score."
  • UPDATE: TransUnion sent the following message on March 4:

    "Recently, we provided you with results from a commissioned survey of HR professionals and it has come to our attention that the survey questions were phrased incorrectly. The word "score" was inadvertently used and the results based on that phrasing were communicated to you.

    "To clarify, TransUnion does not provide a credit score for employment screening purposes. As part of a hiring process, some employers may utilize information such as an employment report, but those reports do not include a credit score. TrueCredit.com is already in the process of conducting this survey again to ask the question correctly and will provide that data to you as soon as it is available."