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CREDIT HISTORY & JOB SEARCH: Know your history before an employer does!

An Ontario man was rejected from a job over his credit report and this surprised a lot of people. (Read about this story here.). Since this is a relatively new practice for many job seekers, we thought we should ask, have you checked your credit report recently? Do you even know how to do it? This tip sheet is a quick guide to understanding why credit checks are being done for employment, how you can prepare, and how to keep an eye on your own credit history.

Why do employers check a job applicant’s credit history?

In Canada, checking an applicant’s credit history is still uncommon, but it is growing. It is especially used in finance occupations or any job where you would be dealing with money. Some of the most common reasons for employers to conduct a credit check include:

  • Theft and fraud prevention
  • Reduce a company’s liability for a bad hire
  • Avoid costly hiring mistakes
  • Assess a job candidate’s trustworthiness
  • For positions with financial responsibility (dealing with cash, banking, etc.)
  • For senior executive positions
  • To confirm previous employment, your identity, etc.

What can job seekers do to prepare themselves?

  • Check your credit report regularly and make sure it is accurate; check at least once a year.
  • If you see any mistakes in your credit history, call the credit bureau to correct them (see contact information below under “How to check your credit history”).
  • If you do have a problem with your credit history and you know the employer will check, explain your situation directly with the employer. Everyone gets into some financial difficulties from time to time and it’s better for employers to hear the explanation from you before they see the bad credit history and make their own judgment.
  • There is little you can do if an employer wants to check your credit, but if you are unsure if there is a valid reason for it, don’t sign a consent form and ask the employer the reason for the check. Or consult with an employment lawyer or the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
  • To learn more, read the article: Preparing for Employment Background Checks: What You Need To Know Before Potential Employers Investigate You

How to check your credit history

There are two national credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Check your credit with both bureaus. This is a FREE service.

To learn more about checking your credit history, read these articles.

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