Employers screen more than applicants' background and criminal checks

Credit trouble and your job search

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- Background checks and criminal checks are not the only things employers screen.

"If you're going to get a security clearance, say, in Maryland, they're gonna check your credit history," Dr. Allen Cox of the Maryland Council on Economic Education said. "(Employers) start looking at things that will automatically eliminate you as a candidate, and one of those first things is credit history."

Credit checks are the norm at many institutions, including Maryland's largest employer: defense and government jobs.

"If someone's under financial strain, they may do more desperate things than someone who is, uh, in pretty good shape financially," Ken Venick of Equity Mortage said. "There's a large percentage of folks out there with low scores."

Since 2011, Maryland is one of the few states that regulates how and when employers can use a credit score to deny someone a job. Jobs requiring good credit include defense and government, financial jobs, intellectual property and people with access to expense accounts.

The Maryland Council on Economic Education works with educators on teaching kids the importance of building good credit.

"Your credit history and your credit score is a very important number for you. It's kinda like your financial report card," Dr. Cox said.

The federal government partners with consumer credit reporting agencies to provide free credit scores once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com.

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