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If you spend time online or watching television, you could get the idea that the media don’t want you to use credit checks as part of your hiring process. Here are two examples.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Bad Credit Derails Job Seekers. The lead told the story of Rosa, a single mother of three, who wasn’t hired because of (she thinks) a poor credit report.
MNBC had Bad Credit Sidelines Some Jobless Workers. They led with the story of a woman who “believes an unpaid medical bill cost her a full-time job.”
You’re going to see more stories like those two. And they come at a time when state legislatures are considering legislation that would ban the use of credit reports in hiring. There are three reasons why the media run stories like this.
It’s a feeding frenzy. When one medium is successful with a story, others crank out similar stories.
The media loves human interest stories, especially where the villain is a business of some kind and the victim can be portrayed as helpless. People read stories like that. They lure advertising which is how most media make their money.
Those are two reasons. You can’t do anything about either one.
But, there’s a legitimate issue here. The two stories above tell us that they let the report make the hiring decision.
If that’s true, then, if either business had dug into the reason for the poor credit report, they would have discovered issues that had nothing to do with responsibility. And, if they had done that, they might have come to a different decision.
That’s what you can do something about. You can’t stop the media from writing heartstring-tugging stories about job seekers done wrong because they had bad credit. But you can make sure that you do things right.
Follow the law. Follow good business practice. And use a pre-employment credit report as a source of information that can help you make a sound business hiring decision.