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Why d
oes bad credit affect employment?

Golf Tips by Burleson Consulting

May 2010


I assist large corporations in hiring honest and forthright computer professionals to work in trusted positions.  Hiring people who don't respect their obligations is a major hiring FUBAR since job candidates who dishonor a credit contract are just as likely to dishonor an employment contract.

As an employer, I don't want to risk hiring people who don't honor their commitments, and we always conduct a pre-employment credit check seeking evidence of moral turpitude. 

Many young people don't know it. but a bad credit report reveals even more about you than a criminal background check.  And it's amazing what I can find out about you from a Google search.


   Evidence of illegal activity is recorded forever

It's a free country, and when the stakes are high, smart employers carefully screen job applicants for honesty.  And it's not just cash register honesty.  Some employers find it offensive if a job applicant has fathered a bastard child out of wedlock, and in America employers have the freedom to reject people for no reason at all! 

Some employers can also reject people with visible tattoos.  In this tight market, employers are more choosey than ever before.

Dishonest, is dishonest, and whether it's having lots of parking tickets (disrespect for the law) or outright fraud, like listing degrees on your resume that you have not yet earned (I saw two resumes like this last week!), a savvy employer will avoid job candidates who do not honor their contractual obligations.
  • Late Payers:  People who pay their bills late have no respect for their contractual obligations.

  • Walk aways:  People who walk away from mortgages are always of poor character, sticking an innocent bank with their own poor investment decisions.

  • Defaulters:  Many immoral people believe that  it's justified to default on their hospital and medical bills, just because they have a catastrophic illness.
People can try to justify it all they want, but not everybody dishonors their commitments when it's convenient to do so.  And even though your credit may be washed clean after seven years, your dirty deeds remain on record forever. 

It's the dishonest people who are abandoning their mortgages that caused the current recession, and employers have a right (some say an obligation) to reject people of bad character and make them pay for their poor morals.

You tell me, who would you hire?

Joe & Mary:  Pay their debts on-time and wouldn't feel comfortable stiffing their creditors.

Skank & Lucinda:  The believe that only fools pay a mortgage on a house that has lost it's value.

A slow payment history indicates irresponsibility

This article notes that companies are routinely doing background credit checks of all job applicants, and they have little sympathy for people who don't honor their credit payment terms.  A history of slow credit payments can indicate irresponsibility and a disregard for personal commitments:

"Richard Becraft was offered a good civil service job with the Department of Defense in May 2002. . .

After a background check, however, the job offer was rescinded. The government letter that the Oxnard, Calif., man received indicated “financial considerations” made him a poor security risk."

I work for many companies in a job applicant screening service where we help them hire responsible professionals and I'm amazed at the amount of background checks that are done before hiring professionals. 

The rare exception to  bad credit

While almost everyone with bad credit dishonors their obligations, there are rare exceptions.  While many companies automatically toss-away job applicants with bad credit numbers, I believe that each case of bad credit is to be evaluated individually

 I remember one case where a professional was asked to fly overseas for an extended engagement of $30,000 using his AMEX credit card.  His credit card payment was due month's before his company paid, and his bad credit was through on fault of his own, other then choosing a bad employer.

Catastrophic illness and bad credit

I recently rejected a job applicant whose bad credit reflected a bankruptcy.  When pressed, he told me that he got very sick, and rather than pay his rightful medical bills, he decided to file bankruptcy to stiff his creditors.  He saw NOTHING wrong with walking-away from his debt, and to this day he does not know why I refuse to hire him.  Not everybody walks away and stiffs their creditors:
  • My nephew was born with a pre-existing condition (I kid you not, preexisting conditions at birth) and his parents moved into a trailer for almost a decade, diligently paying-off his medical bills.  These are good honest people who chose the honorable way out of debt.

  • I interviewed a fellow yesterday who was just getting off of disability and he told me that, rather than file bankruptcy, he is paying $150 a month for the rest of his life (and his kids lives, he says) to the hospital.  He starts work next Monday . . .

Mortgage walk away and bad credit

I interviewed a fellow last week who walked away from a mortgage even though he could afford the payments.  Why?  Because he purchased the home for $800,000 and it was not only worth $500,000. 

In his warped mind he justified his act, and he tried very hard to convince me that he was not a scumbag for sticking the back with his bad investment.  All he convinced me of was that he does not honor his obligations, and I would not touch him with a ten foot pole.  He does not know it yet, but that will stay on his credit report for the rest of his life, and employers like me will know about his bad character.

Not everybody walks away because they made a bad investment.  My friend Lou from Rochester paid for years on a Mortgage in Boston, even after he moved to New York.  He honored his obligation, and did the right thing. 

Today's kids might call Lou "stupid" for throwing good money after bad, but Lou has a job . . .

To learn more, see my notes on Pre-employment background checks.




 

 

Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

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Copyright ? 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.