Background checks and drug testing of prospective employees have become routine in most industries. Most job applicants understand that a background check will include a criminal and employment history. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that most background checks also include your credit score. Consent is required for the release of this information. Ask if the consent for a background check includes a credit report. Refusing to consent to a background check, of course, raises big red flags and immediately removes the candidate from serious consideration for the job. The key here is preparation. When consenting to a background check, make sure you know in advance what to expect. Every American is entitled to a free annual credit check. Be sure to request this report. This will give you the opportunity to resolve any errors on your credit report. If there is any legitimate negative information in the report, you can try to solve the problem or at least be prepared for the tough questions from a potential employer.

Although employers may hire a candidate with financial problems, low credit rating it can affect your chances of getting a job offer. This is especially true if the vacant position includes some financial responsibility. If your job search includes a recruiter, be sure to keep the recruiter informed of any negative information that may be revealed. This will allow the recruiter to advise you on whether and when the situation should be discussed with a potential employer. Depending on the company and the position, a low credit score it may be the end of a job possibility. If this is the case, don’t waste your time or the interviewer’s time. On the other hand, the recruiter can discuss the situation with the employer and pave the way for an interview and a definitive job offer.

If the open position did not describe the necessary requirements for your credit score, you may not need to discuss credit issues until a serious job offer has been made and you know that a credit check is imminent. At that point, request a meeting with the right person, probably someone from Human Resources. Bring a copy of your credit report to the meeting. Be prepared to explain what caused the low score, mention that it did not affect past job performance, and explain what you are doing to raise the score.

In short, do your homework and get a copy of your credit report, fix any mistakes, take steps to improve your score, and be honest. With honesty and a positive attitude, a prospective employer may be willing to give you the opportunity to show that you are worthy of the job.