How to Keep Potential Employers from Checking Your Credit During a Job Search

I found this information on the World Privacy Forum and thought it was worth posting. I have had more than one client confide in me that their credit was less than stellar and they were afraid they were getting passed over for interviews/offers because potential employers were checking their credit.

If you suspect the same, you may opt to “freeze” your credit.

What Is a Credit Freeze?

A credit freeze (sometimes called a security freeze) lets you stop the disclosure of your credit report by a credit bureau.

The intended result of a credit freeze is that no one – not even you – can open a new credit account in your name. The beauty of a freeze is that it will not stop your existing credit cards from working, but it will prevent insurance companies and employers from obtaining your credit data.

If you are actively seeking new employment or insurance, you should think carefully about enacting a credit freeze unless you are currently a victim of identity theft. Credit freezing is widely considered by consumer and privacy advocates as a potent measure to prevent some forms of identity theft, and can be especially helpful to individuals who are having persistent problems, but it is not for everyone, and not everyone has the right to enable a freeze either.

How it Works

A credit freeze locks access to your consumer credit report and credit score files. A lender or merchant will normally not issue new credit if it cannot access these items. One benefit of a freeze is that you can stop thieves from getting credit in your name. The downside is that you are also blocked from obtaining credit unless you “thaw” the freeze. You can halt your security freeze by using a PIN to unlock access to the credit file. Some states require the “thaw” to take no longer than 15 minutes. Some allow longer times.

The ability to freeze your credit is available nationwide through credit reporting bureaus. There is some variability in cost and details due to variance in state law. (For information about which states have a freeze law, see “More About Credit Freeze” below.)

Implementing a Credit Freeze

Here are two sources of information for how to initiate a credit freeze in your particular state:

  1. The World Privacy Forum’s Credit Freeze has a list of states and their current law on credit freezes. Each links to the official state information page about how to place a freeze, or to another information source for that state. Many of the official state information pages are excellent and provide tips and sample letters.
  2. Consumer’s Union has an excellent and frequently updated page on all current state freeze laws and requirements, with a link on how to opt out for each state and sample letters.

More About Credit Freeze

The BEST way to overcome any liabilities you feel you may have in your job search is to learn how to tap the hidden job market. When you learn how to go direct, you sidestep most all of the prescreening and prequalifying that can exclude you from interviews and offers.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.