Credit check a condition of employment?

I’ve been offered a position for a second job at a hospital, and in the packet of papers that I need to sign was a release form for a background check (totally normal) and a release for a credit check. Now, I don’t know if I feel comfortable with them making a decision on hiring based on my credit worthiness. The final line on the form says:

“I hereby agree and consent to the Company securing a consumer report on me and using the consumer report in whole or in part in arriving at an employment decision. I also provide that if I am hired this consent and authorization will remain on file and serve as on-going authorization for procurement of additional consumer reports at any time during my employment concerning me without further notice to or consent from me.”
I have good credit, I just honestly wonder what business it is of theirs. Is this a typical procedure? If I refuse am I likely to be denied the position?
Does anybody have experience with this?

Pretty typical for large companies or organizations these days. They don’t want anyone in a position of responsibility who has a reputation for mismanaging their finances or not paying bills or (worst of all) being severely in debt.

Is it true that too many credit checks can actually lower your credit rating?

If there are too many done in a short amount of time by someone other than you, yes, it looks like you’re trying to obtain large amounts of credit.

A company checking your credit report for reasons other than obtaining a loan or providing a service (such as a cell phone company) should be a “soft pull” and not even show up on your credit report or affect it in any way. All those credit card companies that send offers in the mail do a soft pull to determine if you preliminarily fit their criteria for a particular offer before sending you the offer.

That said, I do not want anyone I work for or with to know the specifics of my credit history. It’s not any of their business, and I would not work for a company that required it.

There are two types of credit pulls – only a “hard” pull will affect your credit rating if there are many in a short period of time. Hard pulls are used only in response to an application for credit. Soft pulls are used for identity checks, background checks, and for all those annoying junk mailers who send you credit card offers. Since they are not a response to an application for credit, they don’t affect your score.

I had a company require that as well, also for a job in a hospital (but not for a hospital) - is this involving medication packaging?

I told my supervisor that I would not consent. He found a way to work around it.

The reason it was required in my position was that I dealt with narcotics as well as many other types of medications. If you have a lousy credit history, there is (in the company’s mind) the possibility that you will steal and then sell those medications.

I don’t know how normal or pervasive this practice is, but I wouldn’t go for it. Nor would I submit to a drug test, blood test, or a number of other things that I consider invasive as a prerequisite for employment.

But then again, I have had only 1 job in all my life, for exactly 1 year. And that was more than 13 years ago.

What I do on my time is my business, until and unless it begins to affect my work.

OTOH, it’s your life. Will you welcome the speculum of prosperity, or will you instead turn the other cheek?

In addition to being a common request for working around narcotics, it is also commonly requested when applying for a position in finance, some jobs handling cash, driving truck, in the software industry (both in IT and in production) and anywhere else that requires their employees to be bonded.

The reasoning behind this is, that if your credit was sufficiently lousy, you would be more apt to mismanage their finances or liberate inventory.

I’ve done it with most of my positions since somewhere around 1995. Even though my credit is far from perfect, I’ve always passed. YMMV.

Yeah, screw those bastards who try to get a decent job so they can pay back their debts and get their lives back on track. :rolleyes:

Sometimes I really hate what the world is becoming.

Well, really, racking up big medical bills because you got cancer before you could afford decent medical insurance just demonstrates poor planning and a lack of character. :dubious:

I’m right there with you. I can’t believe what people think they’re entitled to these days. (I actually had an interviewer send me a release form for my criminal history, credit report, and my medical history. For a graphic design job. WTF?)

My understanding for this, also, is because employers don’t want employees who may have become desperate due to their financial situation who may be more likely to commit malfeasance or theft due to that desperation. It’s not just a reputation issue, but an increased likelihood for stealing, embezzlement and the like.

But what they’re looking for is bankruptcies, write-offs, court judgements, arrests, that kind of thing.

Right, excpet that even a hard pull only effects your score, not your* rating.*

This is very common for large organizations hiring lower level employees (upper level employees, who are in more limited supply, typically do not stand for it).

When I worked for a company that did this, I did interviewing and hiring, and the rationale was to look for people with major credit problems. If you had a lot of medical debt or college debt, even in arrears, that was no problem. However, someone who has outstanding collections from Rent-A-Center and Verizon is typically someone who is irresponsible.

From my limited experience, I will say that those with better credit were, in general, more responsible, intelligent, and reasonable people. There are exceptions, and people who were up front about credit problems when signing the form were generally fine. (For example, those people who explained that they were out of work for a long time, and the dates match up with their resume.)

It was also a liability concern as we were outsourced customer service and had access to financial information. The idea was that someone who writes bad checks chronically also may be willing to defraud a company or a customer.

The distinction between the two is quite murky in my mind. Could you elaborate?

It doesn’t seem to help clarify things when you see quotes like “FICO® scores are your credit rating”, as on (Click on the “About FICO® scores” tab.)

It’s quite murky everywhere.:smiley: FICO etc are your credit score. Your rating is your report, and is based mostly on DeRogs, late payments, etc. Your FICO score has many other items in there, such as too many hard pulls, the % between how much credit you have vs how much you have used, etc.
It is a very strong indication if you have a “Charged off bad debt”. The fact that you have had several inquiries lately may be meaningless, but it can still effect your score.

I was surprised to find out that my company doesn’t necessarily view bankruptcy as a reason to turn someone down. In fact they view it as “taking responsibility.” I don’t know if I agree with that but I wonder how common it is.

After an injury that put me out of work for a while, then a layoff a few months later when tbe bit IT crash happened I found myself out of work for months. my credit cards went into collections. I got a call from a headhunter that was estatic because I had all different wierd skills she was looking for and had the perfect employer for me. Good job, better pay, I was so relieved because I was applying for job after job and had only had a couple of interviews. Then, she asked if I minded her doing a credit check because her client was a credit card company and required that their employees had no credit cards in collections.
I told her that she could do one, but it wouldn’t fly. I not only had a credit card in collections, but had one from the company she was trying to place me with. I suggested she tell them that if they could give me the job, I would make sure they got paid back first. They didn’t go for it.

This was the reason given to me when I had to authorize a credit check prior to taking my current job. I work for a financial services company (no, not one of the ones having credit troubles themselves). Since so many positions in our company have access to customers’ funds and a fiduciary duty to those customers, they require a credit check of everyone.

Excellent example, illustrating the sadly neglected fact that not all people who file bankruptcy, or become financially delinquent, do so because they dined out twice a week, or insisted on wearing the latest trendy labels, or had to have the newest and most expensive electronics. Health care costs are a factor in about half of bankruptcies according to the Hope Foundation. Why do these people deserve to be punished? I can only assume that the managers who deny or terminate employment because of spotty credit records, without inquiring further into the reasons for such behavior, or how the person might have since attempted to make amends, believe that these people would not have gotten sick if they were fiscally prudent. In this age when appearance is everything, that logic must actually make sense to some people.

It’s damn hard to pay someone back when you don’t have a job.

I’m beginning to believe in the Book Of Revelations. You know that number 666 they were talking about, and how one wouldn’t be able to buy or sell in the marketplace if they didn’t have this number stamped on them? It’s a credit score. And if your number isn’t 666 or better, you won’t be able to find a job or rent an apartment.

bdgr, were you able to get out of this spot eventually?