By Jared Callahan, Employment Screening Resources

An article in MSNBC examining the use of credit reports and employment quoted Employment Screening Resources President Lester Rosen on how credit reports are used in screening.  

The article concerned the current controversy over the use of credit reports and the suggestion that in a recession, that credit reports can harm job applicants.  See: 

ESR was quoted in two areas: 

And if a new worker is to have access to large amounts of company cash or financial systems, it’s only prudent for a hiring manager to find out if the applicant has a pile of unpaid debts, said Lester S. Rosen, CEO of ESRcheck, which screens job candidates for companies.

“If an employer hires an embezzler and did not do a credit report in a sensitive position and the employer was then sued for negligent hiring, the argument would then be: ‘How stupid were you for not to running a credit report?’” he said.

The article also indicated that: 

Though many employers run credit checks on some applicants, relatively few are turned down for a job because of bad credit, according to Rosen of ESRcheck.
“It’s only when they’re down to a finalist or one or two finalists that they’ll run a background check,” he said. “And in the real world, what we see is that it really takes something pretty horrendous in the credit report to reverse a decision that they’re vested in.”

However, the article also clarified that “credit scores” are NOT used for employment decisions, which is common myth.   Unfortunately, many critics of the use of employment credit reports cannot seem to comprehend that credit scores are NOT used for employment.  Although there can be many opinions, it is more helpful if the discussion is based upon facts, as opposed to assumptions, or miss-information.  

ESR has consistently recommend that credit reports be reserved for positions where there is  a clear business justification, and to keep in mind that credit reports can contain information that is old, incorrect, or not relevant to the job.  

For more information on credit reports and employment, view a White Paper prepared jointly by LexisNexis and Employment Screening Resources called:  The Use of Credit Reports in Employment Background Screening –an Overview for Job Applicants

(Coming shortly:  article on proposed restrictions in the state of Oregon on credit reports)