News & Resources

Study: Those with low credit scores more agreeable, not devious

Dec 03, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examined the legitimacy of using a job applicant's credit score as part of the employment screening process, the New York Times reports. Many employers use background checks and credit reports to determine a potential worker's fit in a certain position. Researchers at Louisiana State University, Northern Illinois University and Texas Tech University attempted to study the correlation (if any) credit scores had on a person's ability to perform his or her job. Personality data collected from employees, objective FICO credit scores and performance data from supervisors were all used by researchers for the study, according to the American Psychological Association's website. It was found that low credit scores weren't directly associated with a worker's propensity for devious behavior, such as stealing. However, those with higher credit scores tended to be more conscientious, while people on the opposite end of the spectrum were typically more agreeable. The findings imply that while a less than satisfactory credit rating doesn't mean an employer is hiring a criminal, someone with a low credit score may avoid confrontation and be more likely to co-sign a lease for friends or open additional credit cards under the recommendation of a store clerk.