Leave credit checks to MasterCard (Editor’s notes)

Credit score not the best 'litmus test' of candidate's trustworthiness
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/22/2010

Credit checks as part of pre-employment screening for some positions have come under fire from Canadian privacy watchdogs (see “Tread carefully with credit checks: Privacy commissioner,” ) and there have been calls in the United States to ban the practice altogether.

What does a credit check really reveal about a job candidate? Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the subject of a privacy complaint in Alberta, said the information helps demonstrate how potential employees will handle financial responsibilities and whether they are at risk for committing in-store theft or fraud.

But assuming a worker is more likely to steal because he missed a Visa card payment is a bit of a stretch. While it seems logical someone with financial difficulties would be more tempted to steal or commit fraud if given the opportunity, a credit score isn’t the best litmus test.