Because your credit history is a general reflection of your ability and likelihood to repay debt, some employers may wish to review your credit report before hiring you for a position, and this is more common than many of us realize. One survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2012 found that 47% of employers check the credit reports of potential employees as a standard part of the hiring process, and the most common reasons were to “reduce legal liability for negligent hiring” and reduce the risks of theft and embezzlement.
While an employer accessing your credit report may seem like an invasion of privacy, it’s important to remember that this is strictly governed by law and your written permission is necessary for potential employers to review your credit report. Also, the employer still cannot see certain types of personal information, such as account numbers, since it only receives a modified version of the report which protects your privacy. Finally, remember that an employer accessing your credit report will not reduce your credit score, even temporarily, since it qualifies as a “soft inquiry” and will not affect your score in the same way as credit card applications and similar transactions.