After a successful bankruptcy filing, debtors get a fresh start on their financial life. No more harassing phone calls, nasty letters and the unrelenting stress of where to find the funds to meet your obligations. If you need to look for a new job after having filed for bankruptcy and fear the effect a bankruptcy filing may have on your chances of getting hired, take heart. The law continues to extend you the protection you need to get your life back in order.
Be Truthful and Candid
Employers cannot legally ask you in an interview whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy. Even if you are applying for a cash-handling position, such as an accounting or payroll job, the law prohibits them from asking you outright about your financial history during a job interview.
However, most employers do run a credit check as a routine part of the hiring process. This is especially the case when the position to be filled has fiscal responsibilities. Before they can inquire about your credit history, they need your permission to do so. An employer can refuse to hire you if you withhold this consent.
If you give your consent, a potential employer will find out about your bankruptcy filing because these are reported in your credit history. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy usually remains in credit reports for seven years, while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is reported for 10 years.
In this case, handle the situation with as much candor and honesty as possible. Treat the interview as an opportunity to explain the circumstances of your bankruptcy filing, something which a credit report cannot do. If you have taken steps to address the events surrounding your bankruptcy, mention those as well. It is crucial that a potential employer sees you as a mature and responsible individual who learns from past mistakes and can take concrete steps to move forward in a positive direction.
Get Excellent Recommendations
Include as many character and professional recommendations in your job application as possible. While these do not need to focus or even mention your bankruptcy past, it is important that they present you as a completely trustworthy and consummate professional who is an asset to any potential employer.
Filing for bankruptcy is a wake-up call for most people. The experience teaches them to take control and responsibility for the financial, personal and professional aspects of their lives. It makes them more aware and highly appreciative of the opportunities life offers them. All in all, not a bad profile for a future employee – and most employers would likely agree.