There are numerous traditional reasons a company might check an individual’s credit. You might be trying to buy a car or a house or open a new credit card. But recently, it’s become much more common to check an individual’s credit at another important turn in life – a job interview. More and more in today’s job searches, employers are conducting extensive background checks of potential employees, many of which include full credit reports. Increasingly, your credit is becoming public knowledge, not private. Can you imagine working your entire career to rise the ranks in the corporate world only to be denied your dream job because you forgot to pay your GAP bill? It could happen to you.
For this, and so many other reasons, keeping a close eye on your credit report is imperative. And if you do have issues, being able to explain them easily to potential employers is key to the process. When I went through a divorce in 2008, my ex-husband and I were unfortunately unable to refinance our home in his name alone. Therefore, four years later, my credit report still shows that I own a home in Minnesota. I don’t. My name is no longer on the deed and my financially responsible ex-husband has never had a late payment. But I’m aware that this blip on my credit report could bring up questions – does she really live in Illinois? Does she make irresponsible financial decisions? It was in my best interests to explain it prior to any company running a credit check.
It’s a best practice to run a free credit report at least twice a year. I run mine three times a year with each of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Use AnnualCreditReport.com and you’ll find the easiest free ways to pull your report.