I recently heard from Arianna, one of my readers who has been waiting for what seems like forever to finally get a job offer. And now after several great interviews and even better feedback, she’s finally in the home stretch…they’re ready to make an offer. All she has to do is wait just a little longer until they finish the background check. But she’s nervous about her poor credit history.
Even though the job interview process went remarkably well and it looks like her continued determination (and patience) in finding the right job is about to pay off, Arianna’s worried that her poor credit score will be the reason they don’t make an offer. Here are her words: “I have a low credit score due to a bad divorce that left me with one of two houses going into foreclosure. It has not been foreclosed on as of yet, but my score is around 610. In my new job, I’ll have budget responsibilities and I am concerned they may second guess me after seeing that.
“Ronnie Ann, I had to choose between being a single mom that feeds her kids or keeps a house. I chose feeding my family. Will that kill the deal for me or will they give me the opportunity to explain should it raise concerns? People I know are giving me conflicting opinions. What do you think?”
When I read this it broke my heart…especially knowing this is something all too many folks are going through right now. Poor credit history is becoming more and more common – and not always because someone has been intentionally irresponsible. There are countless stories nowadays with similarly agonizing choices. Since when did credit scores become the all-powerful Oz – pulling all the strings behind the curtain? There are so many contributing factors (health, divorce, identity theft, one bad mortgage decision) that may unfairly leave a very responsible, job-worthy person marked by a low score – ironically unable to get the very job that will help pull them out of the hole. And sometimes they don’t even get the chance to explain.
While there’s no way to know for sure how heavily credit scores weigh in this particular company’s hiring process, I do know each company has its own policy. For some, 610 would be just fine – especially if they see Arianna’s choices as anything but irresponsible. But for others, it could be a deal breaker – especially when fiscal responsibility is part of the job itself.