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  • Poor Credit

    I am wondering how much my credit will hurt my chances of getting hired on. I have 5-6 derogitory marks on my credit report, of which 3 have been paid off. It has been about a year since my last one was put on my credit report. Overall my credit is pretty poor due to some bad decisions I made several years ago. Other than that everything else in my background is good. Right now I work on an AO program, living in the firehouse, and it's been going great. I've been very hesitant to take tests due to my poor credit. I'm working hard to pay everything off, but it will take a year or so to pay off all the marks on my credit report. Should I be taking tests right now or should I clear up all my credit history first?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jam387
    I am wondering how much my credit will hurt my chances of getting hired on. I have 5-6 derogitory marks on my credit report, of which 3 have been paid off. It has been about a year since my last one was put on my credit report. Overall my credit is pretty poor due to some bad decisions I made several years ago. Other than that everything else in my background is good. Right now I work on an AO program, living in the firehouse, and it's been going great. I've been very hesitant to take tests due to my poor credit. I'm working hard to pay everything off, but it will take a year or so to pay off all the marks on my credit report. Should I be taking tests right now or should I clear up all my credit history first?
    Every department background is different. SOME departments are looking at credit now. They view your credit as a sign of responsibility. Insurance companies are also using credit. I would say go for your dreams and dont put it off. Take tests get experience, Interview, take responsibility and clean up your credit. Dont file bankruptcy!!!!!

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    • #3
      Yeah! What he said!

      The experts will weigh in here soon, but from personal experience; can you give reasonable explanation to these poor choices? Can you show that you are making these reparations?

      Granted, several departments may be more willing to take a chance on someone with better credit, but you may actually find yourself at that point where you can lay it on the table and tell them your side and they may be willing to take that chance on you.

      Bottom line, can you show you have taken responsibility for your past?

      Somewhere in there I'm saying, take some tests.

      Good luck,
      bam

      Comment


      • #4
        You may as well be testing now, if you dont test you have no chance of getting hired, if you do test, there may still be a chance to get hired. Even if you don't get hired, at least use the oppruntienties to gain some experience of the whole testing process, the more you test the more succesful you may find yourself each time.

        Comment


        • #5
          You are doing the right things. I am glad to hear that you are working to pay off your debts. The best thing for you is TIME. The more time that has elapsed from your last infractions, the better.

          I agree with the poster who said that your credit is a sign of how you handle responsibility. A credit check is THE first thing we do when we run a background check. And yes, bad credit will keep you from getting hired.

          You have a good plan to pay off your debt. Putting distance between your last infraction and paying off your debt makes a HUGE statement of responsibility.

          Keep up the good work!

          Paul Lepore
          Battalion Chief
          www.aspiringfirefighters.com
          Paul Lepore
          Battalion Chief
          www.aspiringfirefighters.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BCLepore
            You are doing the right things. I am glad to hear that you are working to pay off your debts. The best thing for you is TIME. The more time that has elapsed from your last infractions, the better.

            I agree with the poster who said that your credit is a sign of how you handle responsibility. A credit check is THE first thing we do when we run a background check. And yes, bad credit will keep you from getting hired.

            You have a good plan to pay off your debt. Putting distance between your last infraction and paying off your debt makes a HUGE statement of responsibility.

            Keep up the good work!

            Paul Lepore
            Battalion Chief
            www.aspiringfirefighters.com
            I was about to ask about this same thing before I read this post.

            I have recently passed the agility test and am currently #3 on the waiting list for the 7 spots they have open. They had the #1 on the list take a drug test right after the agility test was done so they could get started with the hiring process since they've got one immediate opening and then they'll get to the next 6 slots they recently got a grant for.

            I don't have to take a drug test yet but they did ask #'s 2-7 to start with the background check.

            As of right now I am current on 2 credit cards, have a savings and checking account in great standings and pay for a cell phone.

            I do on the other hand have 2 older credit cards which are charged off that add up to about 4-5K.

            I'm 27 and stopped paying those cards at about 21/22 because of loss of job, truck payment, school, blah blah blah.

            I have nothing to worry about when it comes to drugs, my driving record my job history and such but this is keeping me from sleeping. I originally had 3 charged off but I made a deal with one of the companies and so that is 1 of the 2 credit cards that I'm currently in good standings with.

            If I can make a deal with the 2 charged off credit cards this week and start a small payment plan and if I type out a paper explaining my situation and add it to the background check paperwork do you think that will help out my chances?

            I'm hoping that by calling up these 2 old charged off credit cards and making deals with them that I can atleast write that into the background check paperwork and that will help me out a little.

            I'm going to make payment plans with these 2 charged off credit cards even though it will be hurting me financially for this opportunity.

            Will they take that into consideration, that I atleast WANT to fix my dept?

            Thanks,
            Tino

            Comment


            • #7
              Making "deals" with credit card companies to pay back a portion of the money owed does not demonstrate responsibility. Fire departments are looing for candidates who have shown a pattern of responsibility throughout their life. You borrowed the money and promised to pay it back, not a prorated portion of it.
              For anyone reading this who is in a similar situation, make a plan to pay it back NOW. Setting up a plan right as you are starting a background check may appear to be transparent.
              Paul Lepore
              Battalion Chief
              www.aspiringfirefighters.com

              Comment


              • #8
                About 1 year ago I had followed the advice of a legit credit counselor who told me to cease payment on 2 accounts.I was about 4 months delinquent when I realized my credit was being destroyed.I called the account reps for the cards and worked out a payment plan.I was never late before and had the money.What the "counselor" wanted to do was charge off the account and have me pay a portion.I chose to pay what I owed and now have it set up with the company for maothly payments.But i am still paying back what I owe in full.Will this hurt my chances.I am currently 1500's for Chicago's list and depending how they call,I may be processed in a few years.My credit score is up and those are the only marks I have.Also I made a $10,000 dollar payment to the company so that put me in good astanding and brought my balance way down.Thanks in advance. Ps sorry for the rambling,Not a good typer lol.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok first off guys no one is perfect in this world. You guys are worried just a bit to much over this situation. bclepore tells the one guy to pay it back now or it will hurt your chances. Well bc I'm sure if the guy had $5k to pull out of his wallet and pay it off he would not be asking this question in the first place. That was a rediculous comment on your part. A "normal" Fire Dept. should not hold two charged off credit cards over your head. secondly If you do not have the money to pay these cards off now dont go into more debt trying to do so. There are guys with DUI's and other criminal arrests getting fire dept. jobs everday.Dont be so stressed out about every little process that goes on to be a firefighter take each step as it comes and if the issue comes up explain it to them as best as you can. DO NOT go into more debt if you cannot afford to payoff the debt.

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                  • #10
                    The only reason I'm concerned is because I know Chicago will look for any reason to eliminate people.I feel my situation is not as bad as it could have been and Im sure the city will hire people in worse situations than myself.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Poor Credit

                      Metsfan...You are incorrect and a little harsh towards Chief Lepore. I will not speak for him as I know for a fact he speaks the truth and can handle himself. I as an ex-background investigator can say with certainty that out here on the West Coast they do not hire guy's with major money problems or D.U.I.'s. Trust me when I say this....not in our house. They may do this where your at but not on the west coast.

                      Respectfully,
                      Jay Dudley, Retired Fire
                      Respectfully,
                      Jay Dudley
                      Retired Fire
                      Background Investigator
                      IACOJ-Member
                      Lifetime Member CSFA
                      IAFF Alumni Member

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JayDudley
                        Metsfan...You are incorrect and a little harsh towards Chief Lepore. I will not speak for him as I know for a fact he speaks the truth and can handle himself. I as an ex-background investigator can say with certainty that out here on the West Coast they do not hire guy's with major money problems or D.U.I.'s. Trust me when I say this....not in our house. They may do this where your at but not on the west coast.

                        Respectfully,
                        Jay Dudley, Retired Fire
                        So will I not get hired because of this or will they see that I worked to fix the situation.I am not financially distraught by any means.I am paying back what I owe,not a penny less.My rating has gone up quite a bit since this happened.Is there a way to help my situation without paying off completely?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One can't say for sure....

                          Candidate A: "Excellent" credit record.
                          Candidate B: "Good" credit record with charge-off's, collections, but is "working on it".

                          Who would you hire if you were a fire department? It is getting more competitive out there and one of the things they are looking at more is a candidate's credit history.

                          Not saying you won't get hired, but departments will be more willing to give the job right away to someone who's credit record is cleaner than another's.

                          The folks doing the hiring are firm believers in the addage: The best predictor of someone's future is their past.

                          If your score is going up; great! That is showing improvement. Be able to explain it as well.

                          Good luck,
                          bam

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh yeah, those credit counseling services....scam.
                            You can start cleaning up your credit yourself by being diligent. It will take a lot of letter writing. First off, get your credit reports from all the bureaus. Pay for them if you have to. You can do it online, just don't pay more right now to get the watchdog services they offer.
                            Go over them for any discrepancies (name misspelling, addresses, duplicate accounts, accounts in error) and contest them in writing. I know people who have had stuff drop completely off just from doing that.
                            Do a search online for some debt relief forums. There are several out there with folks online that are going through these steps that can coach you in the right direction from there. I'll look for the link and post it later.

                            bam

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JayDudley
                              Metsfan...You are incorrect and a little harsh towards Chief Lepore. I will not speak for him as I know for a fact he speaks the truth and can handle himself. I as an ex-background investigator can say with certainty that out here on the West Coast they do not hire guy's with major money problems or D.U.I.'s. Trust me when I say this....not in our house. They may do this where your at but not on the west coast.

                              Respectfully,
                              Jay Dudley, Retired Fire
                              Are you serious? I dont care if its east coast , west coast wherever you call home. Dont say it is not happening over there. Lets look at the facts. while it seems like alot of people are taking exams the truth of it is not too many people wanna be firefighters. These are not "white" collar jobs they are for the working class people who are ordinary everyday do what you need to do to survive people. People who i'm sure one time or another had hard times paying bills or got themselves in a little trouble with the law once or twice.(were not talking murder).Unless you were personally putting every single candidate that was ever hired on the job during your service I will bet there are plenty of firefighters where you worked with checkered pasts. (poor credit,D.U.i's etc..). I will say this much I think your remarks about the way things are done where I live were completely rediculous and if you go back and review your posts before you actually post them maybe you will see how rediculous you sound. But if you truly feel this way I will end by saying that the guys around this area are In my eyes and in the services eyes some of the best and bravest firefighters the world has ever seen. No matter if they had a checkered past or not. their ATTITUDE towards the job is what makes them that way not what their credit report says.
                              Last edited by metsfan06; 10-23-2006, 02:42 PM.

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