Offered a startup job, they want me to sign consent to check my credit with background check.

In California, my credit score is pretty abysmal because of some hard times a few years ago.  I don’t want to have to explain it to them nor do I want to have my offer recinded, what do I do?

  • Might as well. It seems like a lot of employers are doing that so you probably can’t get around it. And, I doubt they’ll actually look at it or care too much. One of the things about being an employer is that you’ll have so many candidates for each job that you don’t have much time to look into each one closely; you just sort of skim the pile; and base most of your opinion on the interview portion.

  • Unless the job was in a company related to financial services or security (eg as part of govt requirement for high level security clearance), I would not consent and I would say as much. I’d also find it somewhat sly if they didn’t mention credit check requirement upfront (ie along with the job ad). Eg if this was requested for a marketing or design gig, I’d say sorry but given that your company and the position have nothing to do with $ervices, I’d rather not. Just because I’m asking for a job doesn’t mean I hand over everything wily nily.

    • You could say you only give credit score upon employment. Regardless, I agree with the poster above. I would look for another place to work.

  • Although my company isn’t in the financial services industry I think I’d like to ask for credit checks when I start hiring the reason for this is that I know of too many people who are financial catastrophes and if they’re not able to manage a budget of their own how can I expect them to do that for my business with my money. This has been the demise of so many startups.

    I’d have no problem with debt consolidation or a late payment here or there but complete defaults on debt obligations would be a problem. I don’t even care if you foreclosed on your house as that was a smarter situation than staying in a place that was underwater.

    If you’re a designer – who cares. If you’re a coder – who cares. If you’re my co-founder – I fucking care a whole lot. If you run media buys – I care. If you answer the phone – I don’t care.

  • Of the 2 a background check is more invasive than a credit check. Are you sure there aren’t any good college shenanigans lingering?!?

  • Unless it’s for a CFO or financial position.I would rather hire someone who is hungry… Maybe you should ask the manager for their credit check as they will be the ones owing you money every month.

  • Wow, some of these comments are surprising. While I disagree strongly with the practice, this is pretty typical, especially for lower-level roles.

    tl;dr: I wouldn’t be too concerned about it, but IMHO you’re better off working somewhere that doesn’t do this, just as a matter of principle.

    About half the jobs I’ve worked requested consent to run credit checks on me. I used to think it’d be funny for a small company or startup to do this–it costs about $30-$200 per run the last time I checked, and that was if you already subscribed to an info service. But some do.

    “Background check” is vague. It could be a public records lookup, or it could be more in-depth. Some gov’t contractors in the DoD space will pull ALL available records on you, which can include juvenile stuff.

    One problem I’ve got is that the lion’s share of “background”, not credit, is, essentially, public records stuff that doesn’t require consent. The other is that credit scores are really irrelevant for almost all non-financial positions, and only arguably relevant for fiduciaries.

    Ironically enough, my current employer has a fair bit of data showing that credit score is a poor indicator–but they ran a credit check on me anyway.

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