Employment After Bankruptcy

A close friend of mine has a recent bankruptcy.  He is now seeking a new job.   Do job applications ask about bankruptcy? Do prospective employers check credit history? Should he tell prospective employers about the bankruptcy? Will prospective new employers hold the bankruptcy against him? 

Bankruptcies are not the end of the world or a career for the average person. In response to your questions, yes, applications ask about bankruptcy, if not directly, in the form of a credit question.

Yes, most employers check credit history and it is practically a given when the position applying for has got anything to do with the company's money. Not only is this the obvious accounting or fiscal positions but also managers, and often sales. Why? How a person manages their own personal finances is an indicator of how they will manage someone else's. Keep in mind, an employer can not check a person's credit without their written consent. However, if you don't give your consent, your application will not be considered. Nice catch-22!

I am all for FULL DISCLOSURE. Your friend should tell prospective employers about the bankruptcy and disclosure on the application is the way to bring it to their attention. Be prepared for a follow up question asking about the details. When asked, answer and do so honestly. Bankruptcy as a result of divorce proceedings? Not as flag raising as other causes. One bankruptcy? Not a flag raising as two or more. Not all bankruptcies are alike. If you tell me about it, I can be much more open and willing to consider and weigh than if you attempt to hide. It goes to integrity and honesty and frankly, the HR staff will find it anyway.

Will prospective new employers hold the bankruptcy against him? I'd like to say only in cases where their is a nexus between the bankruptcy and the position but in reality, yes they might. They shouldn't, but they might. If they do, they must tell him. Here is a summary of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Bottom line. Disclose. Your friend should be prepared to articulate lessons learned from the experience and then get on to the business of selling himself for the job.