Many Employers Don't Hire People With Bad Credit
You spent hours preparing your resume and cover letter. You spent even more hours preparing for the job interview, researching prospective employers and posting your resume all over the Internet. You spent hundreds on new job interview clothes and perhaps you've been to a dozen job interviews by now, but chances are, you haven't spend so much as a minute doing one of the most important things you need to do to get a new job: find out what your credit score is and improve it if you can.
What does a credit score have to do with being hired? It has lots to do with being hired these days because often, it is one of the only ways a prospective employer can evaluate whether a potential employee is hardworking, moral, responsible and ethical. Why don't they just call previous employers and ask for a recommendation? Because most of the time, they can't. Employers are so afraid of getting sued by former employees for giving negative recommendations that most companies these days, particularly the large ones, have a strict policy of forbidding their employees from giving job recommendations at all. So, employers have no choice but to rely on other means to determine if a person would make a good employee.
If employers can't get a recommendation from prior employers, they will use three tools to evaluate a potential hire: (1) credit score; (2) criminal background check; and (3) social media sites (meaning whatever they can find out about a person when they google them). If a person has a low credit score, she might be deemed to be lazy, irresponsible, immoral, or unethical and more likely to steal from an employer. If she has a high credit score, she will be considered to be honest, hardworking and trustworthy.
It is important that people take the time to find out what their credit score is and improve it if they possibly can before starting their job search. How do you do this while spending the least amount of money possible? Here is how.
Step 1: Go to annualcreditreport.com. This is the website the federal government forced Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to set up in order to give you one free credit report each year with no strings attached. You will have to order your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus separately at this website. I suggest you order your Experian credit report first because it comes with a cover sheet that tells you upfront whether or not you have any negative notations on your credit report. If you don't have any negative notations with Experian, you probably don't need to do anything further, but you can get all three credit reports if you like. (By the way, don't fall for any of the "free credit score" buttons you find at this website -- it isn't really free if you read the fine print.)
Step 2: Find out what your credit score is. If you suspect your credit score might be low because your Experian credit report indicated you have negative notations, you can order two of your FICO credit scores at myfico.com (as of April 2012). It used to be that you could go to myfico.com and order all three of your FICO credit scores from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for about $40.00. But then Experian got greedy and decided it didn't want consumers to see their FICO credit score and withdrew its permission from the site. At the current time, myfico.com offers product plans that aren't favorable to the consumer, so I can't suggest you sign up for them. But it you want to spend the money, you can get your TransUnion and Equifax FICO credit scores at myfico.com. Please check out the various plans before you order because the "free credit score" button on their home page is signing you up for something you don't need.