On the job hunt? Check your credit report first

By UK CreditCards.com

It's well known that poor credit could prevent you from getting a new credit card, a car or a house. Yet a recent bulletin from Equifax reminds Britons that a poor credit history could prevent them from getting a job as well -- especially in a competitive job market.

Another reason to check your credit report
Not all employers will check your credit reports. Yet, with jobs scarce in a struggling economy, Equifax recommends polishing your credit standing, just as you would your CV. While your credit won't be the only thing an employer considers, having a disturbing history of debt and poor money management could get you weeded in the first hiring stages. employer-credit-checks

"With the job market so fierce, job seekers need to make sure that the information on their CV and credit report is accurate, in order to guarantee that they are in the best position possible when applying for that dream job," said Neil Munroe, external affairs director at Equifax, in a statement.

Why are employers so interested in your credit report? In short, they want to see how responsible you are with money -- and how well you deal with your financial obligations. Employers in the financial services sector, according to Equifax, are particularly interested. They'll want to know that a potential employee can be trusted with money.

What employers want to see
Equifax recommends checking your credit regularly so that there are no surprises when you hit the job market. If there are mistakes, you'll have time to correct them before they make a bad impression on a potential employer.

"Simply requesting a copy of their credit report before applying for a new job will ensure you as the applicant know exactly what a future employer could take into account," Munroe said.

Some things employers will look at in your credit report include:

  • Your identity. Your credit report is another way to verify that you are who you say you are. So make things easy for your potential employer -- register on the electoral roll at your current address. That information will be included in your credit report, allowing the employer to match it to the address on your CV.
  • County court judgments (CCJs) and bankruptcies. These stay on your report for six years. Fortunately, you can attempt to get into an employer's good graces by adding notations in your report that explain these black marks. Ask the credit bureau to add a notice of correction that explains the circumstances that led to your financial pitfalls.
  • Repossessions. Repossessions look bad -- they show that you bought something and then were not able to pay for it. Again, Experian recommends adding a notice of correction that explains any financial hardships that led to the repossession.

Checking your credit report
Potential employers can check your report with any of the three main credit reporting agencies: CallCredit, Equifax or Experian. Because you won't know which report they'll check, it's best to pull all of them. The credit agencies are required to provide a statutory credit report for £2 each time you request it. This will allow you to see what information lenders have reported to the agencies and allow you to correct any errors.

To request your report online, simply visit the websites for Experian, CallCredit and Equifax.

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Published: 1 June 2012