Falling behind on your bills?

July 23, 2010

By Chris Isidore, senior writer CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Falling behind on your bills? It could cost you a job.

An increasing number of employers are using credit checks to screen potential job applicants. So missed payments on your mortgage, car or credit card could keep you from getting hired.

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers are using credit checks when filling at least some of their openings. Only 35% reported checking credit in a 2003 survey, and only about 13% did so 1996.

The timing could not be worse.

“At exactly the time everyone’s credit seems to be going down the toilet, more and more employers are using this,” said Nat Lippert, research analyst for the union Unite Here. “You get in a Catch-22: You can’t pay your bills because you don’t have a job, and now you can’t get a job because you can’t pay your bills.”

Unite Here has been active in a recent push for laws to greatly limit employer’s use of the credit reports in hiring decisions.

So far three states have passed such laws — Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, and legislation has already passed in Illinois and is headed to the governor. The laws would make it illegal for employers to access credit history unless they can show that it’s relevant to a job’s duties, such as handling money or having access to customers’ financial information.

Bills have been introduced in 16 other states and the District of Columbia, and Federal legislation is currently pending in Congress.

Businesses have pushed back hard against such laws.

“Is it helpful to the employment process? Employers seem to think yes. They don’t spend money on products they don’t think bring value” said Stuart Pratt, CEO of Consumer Data Industry Association, the trade association for the credit rating agencies.

Pratt says that a credit check gives employers details about accounts in collection, debt levels, bankruptcies and other problems that would cast doubt on someone’s ability to handle responsibility. It does not report credit scores or account numbers.

Pratt also argues that the credit histories are only one factor considered by employers, and that prospective employees are supposed to be given the chance to respond to what their credit check turns up.

But consumer advocates and some job seekers say that candidates are being unfairly judged by the circumstances of their private lives.

“Employers have adopted this method as a proxy for character reference, believing it reflects on people’s ability to handle responsibility,” said Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research for CreditCards.com. “That’s a bit of a reach.”

If you’re looking for advice how to deal with credit in your job search, check out iLostMyJob.com’s Articles:

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Joe’s Unemployment Rant

July 16, 2010

Interviewing While Pregnant Is a Good Idea

July 13, 2010

According to Lisa Garcia, an expert in employment law and human resources, pregnancy need not be a strike against you when applying for a new job. In fact, if played right, it could be an advantage. In her Washington Post advise column last week, Garcia advises a 7.5 month pregnant woman not to reveal her pregnancy before her interview. Why call out the pregnancy if it’s not relevant to your professional qualifications?

It is illegal for any company to refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant.  Lisa Garcia explains, “employers might worry about your level of commitment & maternity-leave negotiations, don’t make a fuss about your pregnancy.  Instead of worry, wear a stunning maternity suit & express your top skills.”

“When you’re confident in the interview you’re conveying that your pregnancy has now bearing on your qualifications for the job.  It needs to be remembered, pregnancy is only a temporary condition during a highly successful & productive career. Not only can pregnancy be directed in a straight forward fashion.  Believe it, express it & the HR manager will believe it too.”

There is no argument from me about being confident in a job interview.  But being confident in an interview while being 7.5 months in an economy with 10% unemployment can be a little tough but if you believe it, you can do it.

Even if you worry about not landing a job because of pregnancy, think about it from an employers view.  There will be high confidence in a mother who is ambitious enough to interview at 7.5 month pregnant.  Not only that, in a tough economy, a mother will be less likely to “opt out” when their are fewer jobs to land.  When the opportunities have dwindled; people (men or women) are happy landing a well paying job & hardly walk away.

Not only does an employer see the confidence & the economy, they know that children are expensive & generally requires a dual income household.   Where for years employers saw regular sick days & quick departures, employers now see increased motivation & eagerness.

Now clearly this isn’t true across the board for everyone, there are many examples of pregnant women & mothers being treated very poorly in the workplace.  But now I am interested to hear other positive stories about how pregnancies created a positive effect in the workplace.

I’d be interested to hear other experiences. Has pregnancy helped or hurt your professional status?

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10 Things You MUST Know About Budgeting

July 6, 2010

THE SKINNY: Ducks love Budgets – Humans hate them.  What gives anyway?

DOCTORS ORDERS:  Budgets can make you or break you.  Here’s the scoop.  Budgets:

  1. Take COMPOSURE and SELF-DISCIPLINE to prepare
  2. Are PIVOTAL to your financial health (regardless of your income)
  3. Are as much SCIENCE as ART
  4. Can make the difference between WEALTH & POVERTY
  5. Must be FLUID
  6. Are meant to STRENGTHEN you
  7. Require PLANNING and FORESIGHT
  8. Keep you on PACE
  9. Are Tegdubs spelled backwards

10.  Are not real exciting, but they do WORK.

FOR THE ULTIMATE CHEAPSKATE:  Do your budget faithfully just like brushing your teeth.

GO FOR THIS TIP IF:  You really want to get ahead.

FORGET IT IF:  You like the paycheck to paycheck gig.

For more budget tips check out iLostMyJob.com’s Article: Getting your Finances in Order

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