It is hard enough to find a job in today's
economy, but the use of background and credit checks by employers to make
hiring decisions, can make it even tougher.
With more than four unemployed workers per job opening, employers are relying on credit and criminal reports to help thin the applicant pool and avoid liability
due to negligent hiring. Ninety percent of employers admit to running
background checks on job applicants (60% run credit checks). But at a time when jobs are scarce and 5.4 million people have been unemployed for more than six months, a discussion has been generated amongst lawmakers, employers and regulators about the way in which negative information is being used.
Millions people who lost their jobs during the recession at no fault of their own, may have been left unable to pay their bills on time, which damaged their credit and has now left them with an even more diminished probabilty of finding a job. Applicants who may have had a minor criminal offense 20 years ago can still find it hard to find employment, even if their records have been clean since.
A recent study has found no connection between an individual's credit rating and their likelihood to perform at a job. This belief has prompted several states to limit credit and background checks only to positions for which the information is pertinent and others to provide guidance to employers on how to properly evaluate criminal records in pre-employment screening.
This path, may very well lead to employers having to remove the "box" on employment applications that ask about a candidate's criminal past and evaluate the candidate's skills and experience first.