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Q: Bankruptcy and job interviews ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Bankruptcy and job interviews
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: roxannered-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 23 Sep 2005 10:15 PDT
Expires: 23 Oct 2005 10:15 PDT
Question ID: 571592
I filed for bankruptcy a year ago due to carry-over debt from my
divorce and just gettting out of school (student loans) - now I'm
getting job interviews for managerial positions in the web field (4
years experience) and having to sign credit check authorizations.
Should I tell the interviewer up front as to why I filed or will I
just automatically be discounted even though it has nothing to do with
my ability to do my job?
Subject: Re: Bankruptcy and job interviews
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 23 Sep 2005 11:23 PDT
Dear roxannered-ga;

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. Whether
or not you will automatically be discounted because of your
unfortunate bankruptcy is not a question for which there is a
cut-and-dried answer. As researchers we rely on facts in order to form
the basis for an answer. Clearly an answer to such as question as
yours would require generous speculation on the part of a researcher.

Since you appear to be asking for an opinion rather than a hard
answer, as for whether or not you should tell the truth, let me say
that in my opinion you should probably consider several things before
making your decision:

What impact will the truth have on my chances for employment with this
particular employer?

How would dishonesty impact my chances for employment if my
untruthfulness were discovered?

I think you would reasonably agree that if (excluding all other
factors, of course) your bankruptcy creates a hypothetical 50/50
chance of getting the job, the truth is the best approach. Almost
certainly given the same 50/50 scenario, a lie would prove decidedly
against you assuming your prospective employer values honestly (and
most do).

The fact is that your credit report will most likely reveal your
bankruptcy and to lie about it could sabotage all your efforts to cast
a favorable light on your resume to this employer.  Moreover, unless
it is disclosed one never knows who has filed bankruptcy in the past. 
According to METRO NEWS 1.6 million people filed bankruptcy last year
alone! So the possibility that your employer may even have done it ?
and may be sympathetic to your former plight ? is fairly good,
statistically speaking.

How will that impact your chances? Who knows? That all depends on how
a history such as yours might impact the company (some of which might
even be out of your interviewer?s hands) such as it?s charter (if it
has one), it?s insurance, its policy, its willingness to extend faith
and credit based on your performance and many other issues. Even your
future promotion prospects with such a company could be affected,
especially if such a position might depend on bonding or licensure.

According to this article ?MONEY TALK? by columnist Liz Pulliam
Weston, author of ?Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Protect and Improve
the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future?:

?Employers and potential employers are specifically forbidden by law
from using the fact you filed for bankruptcy as a reason to fire, not
hire or fail to promote you.?

?Secrets a background check won't uncover?

?Provisions of the Bankruptcy Act must be followed if the employer
finds that the applicant has declared bankruptcy. This Act states that
it is unlawful to terminate an employee or to discriminate in the
hiring of an employee solely because the individual:
--has sought the protection of the Bankruptcy Act 
--has been insolvent before seeking protection under the Act 
--has not paid a debt that is dischargeable under the Act. 
The purpose of this section of the Act is to ensure that the
applicant's bankruptcy does not prohibit them from finding


This may be true but they can certainly find someone BETTER - and
there is no law to prevent them from doing that. Bankruptcy provides
financial protection under the law for your assets should your debts
exceed them. Unfortunately though it also carries with it a certain
negative stigma and there is no guaranteed protection from this like
there is with your debts because discrimination against you where this
is concerned can be much more covert. It can have a dramatic affect on
your credit, emotions, court records, concentration and self-esteem
that is sometimes viewed as excessive baggage to some employers who
desire employees with fewer personal problems on their plate. They
might not be able to ?openly? use this as a reason to discount you but
they can certainly rule unfavorable toward you if they want under the
auspices of some other pretense.

Since your question ?should I? seems to solicit an opinion, my answer
is YES. If you were interested in presenting yourself as an honest
person who, in the interest of his own financial self-preservation in
a difficult time, took advantage of a federal protection that
prevented the imminent loss of your hard-earned assets, I would answer
the question honestly and be enthusiastically forthcoming with any
details that might be asked of me. If not ? even if you did get the
job - you have to face the future knowing that you could be passed
over for promotion, denied possible licensure or certification, or be
terminated if the truth ever reared its ugly head.

I would, of course, be remiss if I didn?t address the issue of
personal ethics and how it might factor into your dilemma: The bottom
line is that even if you don?t get the job because you told the truth,
hey, you were honest about it. It may seem old fashioned in today?s
world but at the end of the day there?s still something significant to
be said for integrity ? even if you are the only one who knows you
have it.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher





Google ://












Request for Answer Clarification by roxannered-ga on 23 Sep 2005 15:36 PDT
Thanks for answering my question. I guess I wasn't clear on one fact
though. I would in no way lie about my bankruptcy. I just didn't know
if I should mention it during the interview prior to them running the
credit check so I could explain myself and if that would hurt my
chances. They can't ask if I've ever filed as it's an illegal
interview question. I just didn't know if it would be wise to mention
it upfront (if at all) or just let the credit check speak for itself.

Good information in the answer BTW...I didn't know they couldn't
discriminate based on having filed. That's good to know...

Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 23 Sep 2005 16:42 PDT
I didn't mean to give the impression that I "suspected" your integrity
or that you considered being dishonest, I merely watned to cover all
bases. Having been a member of a pre-employment interview board myself
on many occassions, strategically I see no added adversity to allowing
the credit report to go through and then bringing the issue up at your
interview, provided of course that things work for you in that order.
In other words, assuming the credit report is even an issue, it will
probably arise in the personal interview at which time you could "lay
it out" for them if necessary. If it doesn't come up and you just want
to play it safe you could always allude to it and mention the fact
that, after some unfortunate events you are now successfully focusing
on meeting meeting many of your personal goals.

The trick, in my opinion aside from honesty (and the thing that often
got my attention) is to speak positively about yourself and your
future. Its a big turn-off for an interviewer to hear sob stories and
lamentation about personal problems (divorce, poverty, things never
"go my way", etc). I often looked twice, or even gave an prospect the
benefit of the doubt if they convincingly portrayed themselves as
optimistic. My opinion: speak about your previous financial problems
if they come up, but don't try to blame anyone or recruit any
sympathizers. Explain briefly how unfortunate it was and then focus
mainly on how how even this didn't get you down. As a past
interviewer, believe me when I say that it's important too to know
when enough is enough and to say no more.

If I were in your shoes I woould probably disclose it if someone were
to ask me or if I KNEW the issue was important to the
position/company. If not, I would simply let the report speak for
itself until I had an opportunity to address the issue to an
interviewer IF need be. Other than that, as I said, I would offer a
hint that I am a focused person who has successfully faced
"challenges" that I have overcome. If they ask, "What challenges are
those?", the floor is yours. Just don't hog the mike.

Good luck;
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