Technically speaking, it’s not legal for an employer to refuse to hire you because you’ve gone through a bankruptcy. However, an employer doesn’t have to say that you weren’t hired because of your bankruptcy: It’s perfectly legal not to hire someone for having bad credit. When considering how bankruptcy affects you, few think about bankruptcy and employment. On the contrary, most people are far too concerned with how bankruptcy affects your credit to think about it. Here’s the lowdown on bankruptcy and credit, along with tips for finding a job with poor credit.
One thing to remember is that most of the damage done to your credit already happens before you declare bankruptcy. Indeed, within two or three years, you should be able to buy a house in the same manner as someone who hasn’t declared bankruptcy. This is good news, because the worst is behind you. Provided that you’ve learned your lesson, your credit score should start improving in due time. This means that over time, employers will be less worried about hiring you. Until then, however, you’ll want to be aware of how bankruptcy can affect your employment.
How Does Bankruptcy Affect You?
Unfortunately, however, potential employers still care about your prior credit missteps before declaring bankruptcy — and there’s nothing preventing them from using that as a factor in determining whether you will be allowed to work for their companies. Increasingly, firms are looking into credit histories to see if candidates are a right fit for them. This not only helps companies weed through huge application pools with relative quickness, it also allows them to identify potential theft risks. While it’s sad to say, an employer might pass you over because you have a bankruptcy in your past, despite the fact that they aren’t technically allowed to do this.
3 Tips for Finding a Job After Bankruptcy
If you’re on the job hunt after declaring bankruptcy, this article probably doesn’t have you feeling very optimistic. While your credit might be a black mark on your record, there’s no reason that it has to be the defining characteristic in your job search. Some ways to increase your chances of getting the job you’re looking for after you declare bankruptcy include:
- Candor: When you know you have a background check coming up, find out if it’s a credit check. If so, have a brief explanation of why your credit is as bad as it is. Your potential boss will appreciate your candor and if you lie, you can be fired later.
- Know your rights: Employers can’t ask you if you have bad credit, have declared or are intending to declare bankruptcy, or if you currently have any wage garnishments. If you feel you weren’t hired because of bankruptcy, call the hiring manager and start asking hard questions about why you weren’t hired. In a worst-case scenario, don’t be afraid to lawyer up.
- Have lots of recommendations: Employers who don’t want to hire people with bad credit aren’t trying to make anyone’s life hard, they’re trying to protect their businesses from theft. Want to offset that? Get lots of personal and professional recommendations. It’s the best way to show that you are trustworthy.
While it might seem daunting, your situation isn’t hopeless. Most companies are only interested in your credit history if you have a cash-handling job. Otherwise, they’re more interested in a criminal background check and the credit check just comes as a part of that. If you take the situation head on, you shouldn’t have any more trouble finding a job than anyone else.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker