When you apply for a correctional officer job, should you be concerned that your previous or current bad credit will keep you from getting hired?
Unfortunately, most employers these days, not just those offering positions as correction officers, are increasingly utilizing a prospective applicant’s credit report as a qualifying factor for many jobs.
So what are the reasons behind this practice? Is it legal, and what can you do to ensure you’re next job application isn’t affected by your poor credit.
Why Is It Done?
The use of credit checks by employers can put job seekers in a very tough situation. Maybe you are looking for new work or a new career due to a downturn in the economy, the same economy that has your credit in its current condition.
An employer looking into your credit history will probably say we can’t hire you because of your bad credit, and then you’ll probably think, “Well if someone would hire me and I could get a paycheck I wouldn’t have credit problems”. It’s like a catch 22 situation.
So why would a history of poor credit or signs of unpaid debts cause you any concerns when you are seeking a career as a correctional officer? Corruption.
The potential that inmates on the inside may possibly influence you or even family members on the outside is a real possibility in the minds of any hiring staff of a department of corrections. The risk of corruption is only one piece of the puzzle, poor credit can also be a sign of irresponsibility and poor judgment on your part, which are not exactly the traits of a great correctional officer.
While a credit check will not be required for most jobs, if you are seeking a career in corrections it most likely will be included in the required background checks. While they won’t be checking to see what you “credit score” is like if you were looking to purchase a new car, they will be focusing on you payment history, if you’ve had a bankruptcy, a history of bad checks, or a number of collection accounts.
What Can You Do?
If you do find yourself in the situation of being questioned about you credit, many times it isn’t an automatic disqualifier if you can explain your situation or have taken steps to rectify the problems. Usually this is done on a case-by-case basis and may not be how your local department handles these types of situations.
There are steps that you can take to assist you in reducing the effects of bad credit on your job search activities. Visit the second part of this article for the steps you can take to repair you credit for your correctional officer job.