Ok with credit checks for initial job interview?

I already have a job I adore, but due to budget issues, the future is uncertain; so I’ve been sending out a few resumes here and there, to see what’s available that might be more secure. I have a job interview later this week, and I’m kind of “meh” about it - mostly because it would be a very long commute - but I’m going anyway, just to get the experience and see if it’s worthwhile.

They’ve asked me to fill out and bring with me a disclosure form that says the following:
“In connection with our review of your employment application and/or in evaluating you for continued employment, promotion, or reassignment, (Company deleted) and/or its agents may obtain or utilize a consumer report concerning such things as your credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living. In the course of obtaining this report, (Company) and/or its agents may access information from various public and private sources, including without limitation, criminal records, financial institutions, credit agencies, previous employers, educational institutions, and public law enforcement agencies.”

Now, I don’t really have a problem with an employer doing a credit/background check. I’ve been a little past the due date sometimes on my electric or cable bill, but I think that’s not unusual in this economy; nothing serious is wrong with my credit history, and I have no criminal record. But I would really rather wait until they are inclined to hire me, instead of offering up my SS# and birthdate and having them check me out without a solid chance at a job.

If they were seriously considering hiring me, I’m okay with it; but if I have no chance after the initial interview, I don’t want to give them the completed form. Is it rude of me to say no to the disclosure form up front? Does it make me look like I’m hiding something? And can they really evaluate my “general reputation and mode of living” from my credit history?

I’d leave it blank and say that you’ll be happy to provide the information when it is required. At this point, there is no scenario they can offer to argue that it is required. You can still be eliminated on any other number of grounds. It is only required when they have narrowed down the field and are ready to make a decision.

Alternately, if you don’t like that idea, sign up for a credit reporting service like equifax that lets you lock your credit report. I recently switched from equifax to another service and I’m not sure I can do this with the new one but with equifax you could. They will also monitor any use of your SSN regarding applications for credit. It’s not cheap (about $120/yr I think), but if you consider the potential hassle of getting your identity stolen, it’s chump change.

This way you can pretend like you have no idea why they can’t get your credit report or just say you forgot that you had locked it since you have no need to apply for credit.

I would be seriously disturbed by any prospective or current employer wanting such information as a credit check. I’d be more than willing to undergo a police/criminal record disclosure, but my financial history is nobodies damned business UNLESS I do BUSINESS with them…being an employee does not come under those auspices.

I have known criminal record checks to be done and a physical test for the fire brigade but nothing as invasive as your credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.

WTF does mode of living encompass?

I’d leave it blank also. No one needs this information for a first interview. In fact, the only reasonable thing for them to do, if they insisted on the check, would be to make an offer provisional on the check.

I assume the job does not involve handling large amounts of money. In that case, maybe. If they really insist on getting one before an interview, I don’t think it is a company I’d want to work for.

Ditto. The only conceivable business interest they could have in my finances would be if I handle their finances in any way. I don’t work in a field which encompasses that, so it’s moot. If they’d like me to not mis-handle their or their clients’ money/financial info, all they need to do is not give me access to it; I don’t need it to do my job.

I’ve had the same form presented to me before, too. Made the same argument as above, told them I’d sign it for the criminal check, but only if they agree in writing to forgo the credit checks. They were all a-flutter for a couple days, then agreed to it.

The one time is was given to me prior to an interview, I just didn’t bother to fill it out. At the interview, I didn’t offer, and the interviewer didn’t ask.

The position is Executive Assistant to one of the VPs. I don’t think there’s money involved, but I guess it’s possible that I would have access to the boss’s credit card information for travel and such.

So you all think I should “just say no”?

Rental history, for the most part. Mortgage history, if applicable. They’re not going to send anyone round to the OP’s house to make sure there are no meth fumes wafting from the garage, or anything - although they might check the state offender and sex offender registries to see if any are listed as living at the OP’s address.

Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it that much. Assuming the prospective employer is a well-known, reputable company, it’s unlikely that they are scamming you, and who cares who knows if you’re a reliable borrower?

Waitaminute. I thought that (…multiple?) inquiries into your credit history (…in a short amount of time?) could lower your credit score somewhat. Clearly, I’m a little fuzzy on the details. Is that true and/or relevant to this scenario?

Only multiple inquiries with the purpose of applying for credit or loans. Mere checks don’t count against you. You can see on your credit record that it gets checked all the time by banks hawking you products.

What he said. See here:

I wouldn’t offer it at the interview. If they ask for it, you can ask them (politely) what duties the position encompasses that they need to know your credit history. That at least will give you information as to whether they have a legitimate business need to know. If they don’t, then you have to consider whether the job is worth it to you to work for a company that has no problem nosing into your legally-private information just because they want to.

Once they answer, you can tell them that you can further discuss the check once an offer is on the table, if you’re uncomfortable just handing that over for the interview. If that by itself torpedoes your chances at an offer, that probably says something about who you’d be working for in any case.

If they don’t ask at the interview, I wouldn’t bring it up at all, of course.

What they are telling you about a background check has implied limitations. What you are being asked to sign authorizing the background check has no such limitations. Do you normally sign and distribute blank checks for your creditors to fill in the amount?

As previously stated, do they have a legitimate business need to know everything about you, especially at an initial job interview? You may very well not even make it past this interview, but you’ve already given them a signed blank check about your life they can complete later at their leisure. Defer the document to a later interview when you are being seriously considered for the position (as in a final candidate), or walk away now (especially if they will not budge).

While I agree with the concerns that most of the posters have listed above and I agree that you don’t want to sign it for an initial interview I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

The company that’s interviewing you has to pay for these and I doubt that they’re going to pay for them for all of their intial interviews. More than likely they’ll submit them for their top 2 or possibly 3 candidates and having them signed at the initial interview is just a time saving step for them.

Since it is an EA postion I would imagine that the requirement is due to the fact that you’ll have access to not only company money but also a significant amount of information that depending on the industry someone might be willing to pay for.

Well, if you say NO, then they will drop you like a hot potato. So standing on your rights here may not be the best thing.

That being said, it is a perfectly normal thing to ask for- but only during the final phase, after they have interviewed you, and you’re on the final list, or even after they have made a offer. Asking for this during the initial interview period is a bit off, and you can reasonably ask them about that issue.

“I just want to be clear on the Credit Check form, I have no problem with my Credit but isn’t this usually done after the Inital Interview period?”

In the OP’s case, the interview may be nearly a formality and they want to get the Credit check form signed so that the hiring process is accellerated. Or, they may want you to sign the form, but they wont actually check the credit until a later time during the process- they just want the form signed now so they don’t have to go back and forth again. If they assure you that they will only check your report after you are on the final list why not? I mean, you are going to be working for them, they’ll have your SSN, DOB, you bank acct number, and etc. If you don’t trust them, then you shouldn’t be working for them. Really Not All That Bright is correct, "Assuming the prospective employer is a well-known, reputable company" then no worries. OTOH if they are hinky, then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing the interview in the 1st place.

In CA, pretty much they can’t send you out for a Drug Test unless failing that is the only thing between you and the job- it can’t be done during early phases.