Bad credit could hurt your job search

Credit card mousetrap

Jeremy Hobson: Did you know a bad credit rating can actually keep you from getting a job?

That's something Marketplace's David Brancaccio will be exploring as we continue our special coverage "The Breakdown: Our Economy. One Step At A Time." David is going to be hosting this weekend's edition of our consumer finance show Marketplace Money. He joins us now. David, good morning.

David Brancaccio: Good morning Jeremy.

Hobson: So of course, David, a lousy credit rating can hurt your ability to get a loan, but a job?

Brancaccio: Yeah, turns out six in 10 companies surveyed said that they check some applicants' credit report when you go in to get a job. I spoke with a woman named Saran Sholar in Chicago; she had finished her master's degree with the economy tanking, is when she gets done with her master's degree back in 2008. So she can't find work, can't pay her student loans. Then she goes in for a job where she does seem to have experience and qualifications -- ironically, in human resources work, is what the job was going to be. She doesn't hear back, and then when she calls:

Saran Sholar: The recruiter told me that she had taken a look at my background, doing a credit check. And my credit was an issue, and they could not hire me.

Hobson: Wow. So can recruiters actually see your credit score?

Brancaccio: Not your score, but they can see a lot about you, looking at the report. I mean, you can divine whether or not you buy your shoes at Nordstrom or Payless, an expert told me; if you're behind on the bills for a medical condition. A human resources expert told me that he can see why some people would find this "creepy," but in some cases, a job in banking, for instance, the expert argued that this kind of check makes some sense. A new study, however, could not find -- and this is the important part, Jeremy -- any link at all between credit score and job performance.

Hobson: Well no link, but I guess it sounds like we have to now be careful about what we borrow if we want to get a job somewhere.

Brancaccio: Given Saran's experience there. Borrow or spend -- that's the big issue we're probing this weekend on Marketplace Money. If we don't spend, life gets drained from the U.S. economy. But surely, we're supposed to save during these tough times. A paradox by any other name.

Hobson: Indeed. Economy 4.0 correspondent David Brancaccio, who will be hosting Marketplace Money this weekend. David, thanks.

Brancaccio: It is my pleasure, Jeremy.

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