Is Your Credit History Preventing You from Getting a Job?

March 29th, 2012

For some, having coding credentials and experience isn’t enough to guarantee a job in a physician’s office. It may require a good credit history, too.

In 2010, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted a public meeting to explore the use of credit histories as employee selection criteria. During that meeting, Christine V. Walters of the Society of Human Resources Management said, “13 percent of organizations conduct credit checks on all job candidates … [and] another 47 percent … consider credit history … for select jobs.”

“A bad hire can be costly [for physicians],” reports amednews staffer Victoria Elliott.

But what about the cost to the job seeker? In the wake of a recession, a good credit standing is a major feat. Just because you were late paying your mortgage one month doesn’t make you a potential thief, and it certainly shouldn’t cost you a job.

“There is no documented evidence supporting a correlation between poor credit and being a poor performer on the job, or even being a greater threat to steal from the practice,” writes Elliott.

And yet, even in states where it’s unlawful to use credit reports to screen job applicants, exceptions—such as jobs involving money handling or access to sensitive information—permit such conduct. “This may mean a medical practice can argue that a billing person or a medical records staffer should be subject to a credit check,” Elliott said.

Job seekers do have some recourse. A potential employer cannot obtain access to your credit history without your permission. And if you’re turned down because of a poor credit history, federal law requires the company to give you a copy of your credit report—at which time you may be given the opportunity to redeem yourself.

Rather than wait for the ball to drop, however, a better idea is to know your credit history and, if necessary, go into an interview with an ready explanation should the subject come up.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized source for the free annual credit report that’s yours by law, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every 12 months.


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7 Responses to Is Your Credit History Preventing You from Getting a Job?

  1. Karen Braddock Says:

    GET YOUR CREDIT REPORTS. I just happened to ask a question of my bank and a big confusion came to light that I did not even know about.

  2. Melody Golden Says:

    While I understand that there are those people who will steal and don’t care about their bills etc., there are some of people who, through no fault of our own, have lousy credit. I don’t think your credit should judge you, especially in this economy. There are people who had great credit for several years and a spouse or the person lost their job and was unable to find a job making the same, or a job at all, some of whom weren’t eligible for unemployment because they were self employed. Then got behind on their bills and then had to file bankruptcy, which in turn, makes their credit horrible. The worst part is that when you file a Chapter 13 where you actually do pay some back to your creditors, your credit score is worse and you are penalized more than someone who files a Chapter 7 where nothing is paid back. (I really think it should be the other way around) But I think employers should take all factors into consideration before they deny an applicant because of their credit score. The Employers may be losing what could have been a very valuable employee, and News Flash….even people with A-1 credit ratings steal….Just something to think about.

  3. Lucy Schultz Says:

    I agree with Melody. I am one of those people that had excellent credit up until the last five years, when I was unemployed for six months then off on medical leave for six weeks, came back to be laid off two months later for another two and half months. I was only late on payments by a couple of days and then the interest sky rocketed and late fees accrued. Then I could not keep up with the high payments and was forced to file for bankruptcy. I have been on unemployment since January 2011 and still cannot find a job in my area.

  4. Dr.T.SUGATHAN Says:

    Having coding credentials and experience is not criteria for the job in Medical coding feild. So many unauthorised non certified coders are working world wide. Its not fair for the medical feild and along the medical coding. Then what is the use of certification????

  5. Tammy Cook Says:

    I understand you would want a trustworthy person to fill your coding position. However if your looking at a married candidate for the position, both parties affect the credit score. No matter how hard you try to keep your finances separate, it still comes together in the end. The credit cards you get in your name will affect your partners credit as well.

    I don’t know how it seems to go with everyone else, but in my family and surrounding loved ones, opposites attracted. You have a saver and a spender in each household. The spender can do a lot of damage. You tend to have to keep the reigns pulled in a bit. So why should I be punished for someone else’s behaviour when I deal with it on a daily basis anyway?

  6. Kari Morin Says:

    I became unemployed in 2007. i didn’t file for unemployment then. I have very few temp jobs since then. I filed for bankruptcy, discharged in 2011. I went back to school for B&C. I passed the exam on the first try. That was last year. I am still only working temp jobs or PRN. Come this June, it will be 5 years since I worked a job with more than 10 hours a week. The other bad thing about being unemployed still is no health insurance. Can’t afford to get sick. Can’t even find a job in my old career. There I have over 25 years of experience, but all jobs go to new or fairly new graduates. Coding jobs require 3 years or more of experience. At least all the ones I’ve seen advertised.

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