Tory Johnson Answers Your Job Questions

"GMA" workplace contributor Tory Johnson answers common job questions.

ByABC News via logo
May 9, 2010, 8:10 PM

July 6, 2010 — -- With the job market dominating headlines, we're answering four of the most common questions from viewers.

1. With unemployment benefits ending for millions of out-of-work Americans and few signs of a quick recovery, more people risk serious financial hardship. The Society of Human Resource Management estimates that up to 50 percent of employers run credit checks on job applicants. Sometimes that information is used to withdraw offers and deny employment.

Sadly, with few exceptions, that's legal. But last week, Oregon passed a law forbidding employers from accessing credit history to deny employment unless it can be proved that bad credit has a direct impact on the position. More than a dozen other states are considering such bills, and a similar federal measure has been stalled in Congress.

CLICK HERE to send Tory Johnson your career questions and then check our website later and she could answer you.

To be denied work because of your credit is a vicious cycle. You can't pay your bills because you're out of work, and you can't get hired because you couldn't pay your bills. Even if you don't realize it, most times when you've completed an employment application, you've given the employer permission to check your credit.

So if you're job searching and you know your credit is poor, now is the time to deal with it. First, know what's on your credit report. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report annually from each of the three main reporting agencies. You can get them today at Check for mistakes and inaccuracies, and then immediately work on having them fixed. (Advice on how to do this is provided by the government at

Don't bring up credit woes during the interview. Wait until you know that the company is going to make you an offer or they've made you an offer that's contingent on a successful background check.

This is your cue to speak up. Let the company know how thrilled you are to receive the offer and how much you look forward to joining. Ask what's involved in the background check. Some companies may limit it to calling a reference or two. Others may run a criminal background check. Not all will run a credit check, so don't spill the beans until you are clear on what's involved.

CLICK HERE to see more of Tory's advice in our Web Extra tips section.