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Ask Brian – Can Bad Credit Keep You From Getting Hired?

December 3rd, 2007 · 13 Comments

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If you have career or job search question you would like answered on this blog, click here to Ask Brian.

Reader Anne from South Carolina writes:

My husband and I are several thousand dollars in credit card debt. I’m going back to work, in part, to pay this off. But my mother says having bad credit could keep me from getting hired. Is this true?”

Brian answers after the break…

Brian sayz:

If having credit card debt disqualified you from getting a job, virtually no one in America would be working. In fact, if having bad financial spells in your past ruled you out, I don’t think anyone I know could get hired.

So, the answer is, generally, no.

I say generally because it is quite common for employers to do a background check on new employers, and your credit history/financial status is a part of that. Employers believe that financial acumen can translate into work acumen. In other words, if you can’t manage your own financial affairs, maybe you’re not a “together” person in other aspects of your life, including your career.

So, your financial background is something an employer can consider, but it’s not likely the stand in the way of you getting a job.


Unless you are applying for a high (or even medium) level financial job. A poor or questionable financial history CAN disqualify you if you’re looking to get work in banking, finance, accounting and even various levels of corporate security. After all, who is going to trust you with their finances/secrets if you can’t seem to manage such things on a personal level?

Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian – Can I Ask Why I Didn’t Get Hired?
  2. Ask Brian- How Long Should I Wait Before Following Up After An Interview?
  3. Ask Brian – Does an Employer Have the Right to Ask About Activities/Groups/Clubs?
  4. Ask Brian- How Do I Know If I Aced the Interview?
  5. Ask Brian – Who Should I Use For My References?
  6. Ask Brian – What is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Tags: Ask Brian · Interviewing

  • http://yahoo Dan

    This is what has become the insanity of our times. A person gets laidoff from their job, after being there for more than say 10 years. Then in order to keep themselves from losing their homes and cars, and in order to keep a roof over their family’s heads, food in their kid’s stomachs, and clothing on their backs…these people apply for their unemployment benefits, only to find out that it will take some time to receive them, they then are told to apply for financial assistance, i.e., food stamps, loans, energy assistance and so on. They then get lost in a cruel game of gotcha with banks and credit bureaus, who take their pleasure out on hard working people by taking everything they have from them and leaving them with nothing. To add insult to misery, these hard working people who through no fault of their own, are told by future employers, that they cannot be hired or are told the job was rescended due to poor finances or bad credit ratings. Then these same hard working people are told their bills are ever more increasing, forcing them to do without the basic necessities in life, causing them to become debt ridden just to pay for heat for their new living areas, because they’ve been evicted from their homes to which they have been paying for in good faith, never missing a payment till then, and the first missed payment, the banks take it away like it never was theres to live in, sometimes without letting them even get their personal possessions back. Undoubtedly this is the worst kind of inhumanity there is. So cruel and heartless these businesses and banks have become. To all of you who have lost so much as did we, I say, may GOD grant you better days ahead, and to all those who seek to ruin such good people’s lives with their sick and perverse idiologies, I hope you end up in worse conditions than these good people are in right now.

  • Bruce

    Dan said it best !! !!!! Let me add to the unemployment issue…I have friends I work with that went to re train after the plant closed. They were told ” a displaced worker can re-train and get his unemployment while attending school…WHAT a joke they have gone 7 weeks without a check from them…Its still in review they are told…but by gosh lets give billions to the banks that loan only to their buddys…and as far a the Credit bureaus they are for PROFIT…so by gosh lets hammer the little guy on his report for a unpaid doctor bills…and lets dont add all the past history of everything thats good ….But anything bad will be placed on report …FAST…..what a mess………….WOW!

  • ZupaG

    The Obama stimulus package only stimulated the pocketbooks of the banks on the ‘inner-circle’ of Washington. They *the banks* then used those millions as ‘capital asset acquisition’ funds, meaning they used OPM (other peoples’s money) to steal houses (foreclosed) from American citizens who had the misfortune of banking with them. They are PIRATES.

  • http://AOL Carol

    I’m with Dave as well. I live in Florida with a less than perfect past….DWI, not a felony only a misdemenor. Try having a conviction of 12 years old, bad credit due I’ve been laid off almost a year. On top of that, I’m over 50, educated and a professional. Three years ago my credit rating was 745, I had a job of 5 years and decided to purchase a home in Jacksonville.
    Look at me now, I’m losing my home, my credit rating is horrible and in 2 months I’ve used all my unemployment.


  • zapdog

    I hear ya…been in the mortgage industry for 11 years. Now, I’m losing my house and filing for bankruptcy…..spent my last dime trying to keep my company afloat and making payroll. Myself and many of my peers are in dire straights…..can I go out and get a job in my industry or will the banks run my credit and say “heck no”….time will tell.

  • Sarah

    Yes I so agree with Dan! We do live in terrible times i think. Right now my husband has been out of work for a few months. His employer tried to fight and not pay unemployment benefits. A company i might add that is made up of doctors who are not even citizens of our country, but anyway they finally paid. But a month and a half is a long time with NO money. To make a long, sad story shorter the credit checking for jobs is really hurting him again and again. I’m am so sick of hearing people say things how if you have a bad credit score it means your are either a criminal or completely irresponsible. It’s so unfair i think. Our car was repossessed, our bank account closed and now no one will hire him because he has bad credit. He is a good person and is honest. He is NOT a criminal and i am sick of people always making us feel like we are because of bad credit. If someone does not want to give us a loan for a house or car because of bad credit then fine but a job?! How in the world is that supposed to work? What a stupid system. But I get it now. It’s all about money. The three major credit houses and banks are the real winners. How delightful to get to charge 23 percent interest on a car because four years ago my husband lost his job and we lost our house. The bank lost nothing. We paid 12 percent interest when everyone else was paying 3 percent. I think I have decided me and my husband will never have good credit. I am sure we could have made better choices when we were 19 and newly married but Capital One didn’t help by giving us credit cards with 5000 dollars limits on them and then would change the due date everytime we ran late. I know eventually checking for credit for a job will be made illegal. I know it because I hear of too many people like me but i also know it might take another 5 years to happen. It is very sad to me the way our politicians are put in the back pocket of the bankers and they took the cap off interest rates. Causing i believe a big part of the mess we have now. I cannot wait for people to wake up and we will revolt agaisnt this kind of oppression. It’s just a matter of time before this house of cards the bankers made for us comes crashing down i think.

  • Barb

    I was hired by Kelly FedSecure who is contracted through Lockheed Martin who recently received over a billion dollar contract from TSA to oversee HR. I have been doing the job of trusting agent for at least 8 months, I had to go through intense screening to quality for a Top Secret Security Clearance, when I was initially screened by Kelly I had a credit score in the 700s but then it took Lookheed and TSA almost 3 months to process me in, and that point I was about 60-90 days past due on some cards, because I was unemployed, I hadn’t worked since graduating from school, although I managed to pay my credit cards on time, never missed a payment. After graduating I had no more student loan money, I was desperate to work, and then the economy collapsed completely leaving me with little prospects, until Kelly FedSecure. After being employed almost 8 months and having access to secured information and not having any incidents (because I’m an honest person) TSA has decided that I must respond to this letter of interrogatories and I will not be allowed clearance until the issue is resolved. So now I’m certain to be without employment with them as not working will surely guarantee me being even further behind in paying off my debt. By the way did I mention that the entire time I was working I wasn’t able to get above 25 hours a week and during Thanksgiving and Christmas (we are not paid for holidays) — I only worked 3 days each holiday.

  • David

    I am going through the process for a TSO job and I faxed TSA permission to check my credit. My credit has gone down since being unemployed since last April. I just hope they will ask me about anything on the report. I have been trying for two years to get some things removed that have been satisfied for ove four years and all the big three have draged thier feet. I would never steal or take a bribe but I need work to pay my debts.

  • Joe

    Isn’t it wonderful that all of the illegal aliens can come here and get financial help, free medical (thanks Democrats) but everyday LEGAL citizens are being screwed? This country is finished!!!!

    • bran

      Uh, no.

  • JBfrancis

    For the posters hoping for a TSA/TSO position, you may want to check your credit rating/score/report. If you have more than $7500 of what they consider BAD debt, your are immediately disqualified. They consider BAD dabt as any debt in collection, repo, or arrears of more than 60 days. I looked into it, and didn’t even bother with the app after I saw that.

  • Wcaep

    Yep, JB, was right, i called and confirmed, if you owe more the 7k your disqualified, of course the TSA wont come right out and say it, but, its the definite factor in not getting the job, student loans, if not differed also count against you, repos, late mortgage, old cell phones, its funny you owe money, but can get a job to pay it back, what a system!

  • Betina Dadamo

    With the number of people whom are having financial troubles these days CREDIT SCORES SHOULD NOT DICTATE WHAT TYPE OF WORKER SOMEONE IS NOR THEIR RESPONSIBLITY…Many people have lost jobs and have HAD TO foreclose on their homes these were good responsible working people who had hard times fall upon them. ON ANOTHER NOTE; IF CREDIT SCORES DICTATE HOLDING THE JOB THEN HELL LETS FIRE EVERYONE IN WASHINGTON LOOK AT DEFICIT!