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Searching for a new job is one of those tasks which can be exciting, frustrating, and demanding of your time and effort. Once you’ve navigated the application and interview, that’s often not the end of the process. Many employers are now conducting pre-employment checks into academic qualifications, references, or employment history. While your credit history is one of the less common checks in the application process, there are some occupations where employers ask to look at your credit report before making a firm job offer.

Which Employers Do Credit Checks?

Most employers do not require credit checks, and those that do must obtain your consent. Typically, employers only run credit reports for roles that involve significant financial responsibility, including positions in industries such as:

  1. Law
  2. Finance
  3. Senior Management
  4. Police and Military

What Information Can Employers Access?

Employers may run background checks like credit and criminal record assessments, for security purposes, and each organisation will make their own decisions about what checks are right for their needs. If they want to take a look at your credit report, they will only have access to publicly available information, such as County Court Judgments (CCJs), insolvency records, and bankruptcy filings. Importantly, they cannot view your credit score. If an employer wants to look at your credit report, then this won’t affect your credit score or your chances of getting products like a mortgage, credit card or loan.

Getting a Job with a Poor Credit Report

Employers will use a credit report as just one factor in deciding whether to make a job offer or not, so if your credit report is less than perfect it still might not damage your chances too much. Employers are generally more concerned with significant red flags, such as bankruptcy, than occasional missed payments on your credit card. Employers may worry that severe financial troubles could impact an employee’s job performance, or in the worst-case scenario, lead a worker to be vulnerable to blackmail or be tempted to steal. The influence of adverse credit markers such as bankruptcy or CCJs tends to decrease over time, particularly if you have managed your finances responsibly since you were in financial difficulties. As time passes, your prospects of getting a job requiring a credit check will improve.

Improving Your Credit History

Your credit history can have broader implications, especially if you are thinking about applying for a mortgage or a loan. Anyone has the right to look at their own credit file, so request a copy of the information the credit referencing agencies have and check it for accuracy. If you find any mistakes or defaults which don’t belong to you, ask the agencies to correct their information. Then you can start to gradually improve your credit picture by acting in a financially responsible manner; paying your bills in full each month, not overstretching yourself, and painting a picture of yourself as someone who is on top of your money, organised and efficient.