Dear J.T. & Dale: I lost my last job because of an accounting error – a mistake that I have to own. I’ve been trying to find a job for the past year, and every time I get close to landing one, I just don’t get it. Someone told me that my credit score might be the reason. My score stinks because a certain family member used me to get stuff for her and then didn’t pay me back. My car got repossessed, and credit cards didn’t get paid. How do I address this with prospective employers? – Lena
DALE: You have a double-downer in any background check – there’s your credit score, and then your last employer probably has branded you with the scarlet letter of employment, telling reference checkers that you are Not Eligible for Rehire. You have to address both issues with a winning candor.
Ease into the subject by asking at the end of each interview, “What are the next steps?” If they mention background checks, you ask, “Can I be really candid with you?” – a question no one has ever answered with “No.”
J.T.: There’s also the chance you’ll be asked the popular interview question, “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?” Tell them you’ve got two, and impress them with your openness and maturity.
You do that by following a brief description of what went wrong with what you’ve put in place to ensure that it won’t happen again. Here’s the equation hiring managers want to hear: Experience = Learning = Growth.
DALE: Make it quick and make it sincere, and then tell them you need someone to give you a chance to prove yourself. Let them know you’ll be loyal and grateful to the one who does.
Job bad credit image from Bigstock