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Why should you tell a prospective employer about your bankruptcy?

In a competitive job market, prospective employers often look far beyond a person's resume. They may do credit checks and other types of background checks. That can be a concern for people who have a bankruptcy filing in their past.

There are some tough restrictions on when government agencies can deny employment based on a candidate's bankruptcy filing. However, it's easier for private businesses and organizations to do so.

That shouldn't necessarily be a reason to avoid bankruptcy if it's what you need to get yourself out of a tough financial situation. After all, if you are dealing with serious financial problems, it can impact your ability to focus on your job. This can do your career more harm in the long run. Further, being thousands of dollars in debt can look just as bad on your record as a bankruptcy filing.

So what do you do if you apply for a job and find out that your employer is going to do a background check that will likely include a credit check. One bankruptcy advisor says that he tells his clients to be proactive with the employer. Disclose your bankruptcy up front.

How you discuss it is important, however. Explain how the financial problems happened, why you chose the bankruptcy route, your repayment plan if you had a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and, most importantly, what you have learned from the experience.

The employer may well appreciate the fact that you took action to address the problem rather than letting it fester and that you are working hard to rebuild your credit. Getting a good job is often part of that process. Your disclosure will also help you seem more trustworthy than if you appeared to be trying to hide it.

Your Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney can likely offer advice for how to discuss your bankruptcy with a prospective employer. He or she can also help you determine whether you were illegally denied a position because of a bankruptcy.

Source: Bankrate, "Can stigma of bankruptcy hurt a job hunt?," Justin Harelik, accessed April 07, 2016

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