As you are searching for a new job, it can be helpful to know what information a potential employer can use to screen you before they decide to hire you. When you apply for a job with an employer, they may do a background check through an employment screening company. That can include information such as your driving records, any past drug test records, and your credit report. To help make your application process more successful, here are some tips to help get your consumer credit report information accurate and ready for an employer's background check.
Request A Copy Of Your Credit Report
If you don't get a copy of your most recent credit report, you won't know what is on it, whether it is correct or incorrect information. Viewing your credit file can be helpful so that you know what your potential employer will see on this report and allow you to correct any errors. An error on your credit report may cause you to not get a job, so before you begin the process of looking for a new job, get a copy of your credit report for free to verify its information. According to a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report, one in four Americans found at least one potentially significant error on their report that would affect their credit.
There are three main credit bureaus in the United States that collect and report information about you; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Federal law gives you the ability to view your credit file with each of these credit bureaus once every year at no charge. If you want to look at your credit file with all three bureaus at the same time, before you begin job hunting, you can do this online. You can also call or mail in your request, but the fastest way to view your report is online at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Review Your Credit Report For Errors
Your potential new employer can use your credit report information to make a hiring decision, so make sure it is all correct. If you have given a potential employer your past work history and home addresses, but your credit report has different employment and address histories, this can be a reason for the employer to pass you up for the job.
An error showing you have a bill in collections or unpaid and late student loans, it is likely to be viewed negatively in an employer's hiring decision. Also, check to make sure your social security number and date of birth are correct. You don't want a potential employer to question details about your identity.
Some information on your credit report that may be negative but correct cannot be used to make a hiring decision by an employment screening company. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has created national standards for employment background checks to limit the type of information an employment screening company can use in a hiring decision for a potential employer. If you have filed bankruptcy in the past ten years, don't worry if it is showing on your background credit check. Your employer cannot use the information against hiring you. Also, an employment screening company cannot use paid tax lien or any collection accounts that are older than seven years.
Dispute Any Credit Report Errors
Hopefully, your credit information is all correct, but if it is not you should file a dispute as soon as possible to get it corrected so you can begin job hunting. If you have found an error on your online report, you can submit your dispute on the website. You can also call the credit bureau, or mail them a letter to file a dispute.
Once you submit a credit dispute, the credit bureau has 30 to 45 days to investigate the dispute and notify you of the result. According to the vice president of public affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association, 70 percent of disputes are resolved within 14 days. But it is always better to submit a dispute for resolution as soon as possible.
Once your dispute has been resolved and corrected, your credit report will be ready for any employment background checks.