Why employers run credit checks on potential hires

I help organisations mitigate people-related risks, which are one of the biggest business risks.

The mitigation process includes conducting finance-related checks such as credit checks, bankruptcy checks and financial regulatory checks ("Asking for job seekers' credit report is also discriminatory" by Mr Shah Pakri; last Saturday).

Employers globally conduct such checks, not just for new hires, but even for existing employees on a regular basis.

While there are clear reasons for these checks on employees in finance-related and management positions, staff in other roles or functions also undergo such evaluation.

This is due to various reasons.

A candidate with a considerable amount of debt obligations or credit delinquencies might get distracted from fulfilling his job obligations to the employer's expectations.

A candidate's lack of financial responsibility and financial management will show through these checks.

If a candidate does not declare a bankruptcy or financial situation at the beginning of the interviewing process, and this is discovered only through a background screening check, then it reveals a lack of integrity and ethics on the part of the candidate that has to be noted by the employer.

Some aspects of a candidate's character can be inferred in terms of responsible decision-making and accountability.

Most employers who engage background-screening partners do not base the hiring decision on financial checks alone. This is done holistically along with crime-related checks, identity checks, employment history and performance checks and education verification.

Typically, these checks are carried out only after a letter of consent abiding by the Personal Data Protection Act is signed by the candidate.

Hence, the candidate would be prepared for the outcome and should have a contingency plan, in case there are discrepancies against the candidate.

Kannan Chettiar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2016, with the headline 'Why employers run credit checks on potential hires'. Print Edition | Subscribe