You're out of work and you need a new job; you're getting behind on the bills. Or you may be working, but there's still too much month left at the end of the money. So you start looking for a new job that pays more, or a second job to bridge the gap.
You update your resume and begin submitting it to some promising job offers. The interview process is going well. You're waiting for the final okay, but nothing materializes. What's going on?
After this has happened more than once, you call back and ask a few more questions. Eventually, some kind-hearted soul tells you, "I'm sorry, but your credit report does not meet our guidelines."
Well, isn't that absurd? You're trying to get a job to improve your financial situation, and they're telling you that you can't get a job because of your financial situation. That hardly makes sense, I'll agree. But as with everything, there are always two sides to the story.
The Best Candidate
While you are looking for the best job, your prospective employers are looking for the BEST candidate to fill their job opening. A poor credit history, while sometimes due to a conflagration of unfortunate circumstances, may indicate something else to the employer.
Responsible and Reliable
Your prospective employer wants someone responsible and reliable to fill their job opening. While late payments may simply indicate a momentary income shortage, it may also reveal something more to the employer. They may interpret late payments as revealing a lack of a sense of responsibility. Or perhaps it indicates disorganization, a lack of focus, or not paying attention to details (like due dates), or the inability to properly judge what's important and to set proper priorities. Any of these things translated into the job situation would be detrimental to the employer meeting their goals.
An Issue of Commitment
If you have too much debt, the employer may believe that you are too unstable to make a long-term commitment. I know, you're thinking "I really need this job to straighten out my situation". But the employer may be thinking that this new job won't impact your situation enough, and you'll have to move on to another job, or a relative's home, or out of state. In such a case, the employer will spend time, energy, and money training you, only to find you moving on before his outlay of expenses are recouped; and now he's got to repeat the process all over again with someone else.
Beyond all this, a poor credit history may indicate some level of "desperation". An employer may be concerned that the worse the credit history, the greater chance the prospective employee might take advantage of the company to meet their needs. While you might never consider it, many employees in poor financial straits might raid the cash drawer, pilfer the supply cabinet, steal inventory for private use or resale, or for the more sophisticated and knowledgeable, alter the books.
I've personally seen employees "take home" merchandise and then attempt to sell it on eBay. I've seen merchandise purposefully damaged so it had to be scrapped. The employee then "sold" it to a friend at a bargain basement price because of the cosmetic damage, and pocketed the money. And one young employee lifted the manager's car keys at the end of his shift from the manager's coat pocket in the break room, and stole his boss's car from the mall parking lot. It was gone for days!
So, while checking your credit may seem unreasonable, it can also be revealing. A good manager is one who makes hiring decisions that benefit the company first. In a competitive job market, everything counts. Even your credit history.
Creative Commons licensed photo by Lazurite @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazurite/3607957069/