I'm applying for a new job and they want me to fill out a bunch of paper work before the interview. One of these is giving them authorization to do a 'consumer report'. I hadn't heard of consumer reports before but a quick google search shows they can be quite in depth, including things like talking to your neighbors etc. Is this usually what happens? What do they normally include and why would they be necessary (in addition to more standard things like criminal background checks and contacting references)?

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    What industry is this job in? – Philip Kendall Apr 4 '18 at 10:49
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    Where are you located? This sounds a lot like a background check. I've never heard it called a "consumer report". – David K Apr 4 '18 at 12:31
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    From what I read from the link provided in the question it sounds like it's similar to credit report. However, I have a guts feeling that you were scammed by this company. – scaaahu Apr 4 '18 at 12:44
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    @scaaahu Makes a good point. What sort of information are they asking for in this paperwork? Being required to provide sensitive personal information before you even interview is not common. I would expect to do this once you have been hired though. – David K Apr 4 '18 at 12:57
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    @scaaahu that's why I'm asking because I do not want to be scammed – voltron123 Apr 5 '18 at 7:47

As dwizum pointed out, no fixed way on what is checked. A consumer report is a fancy term for background check. It heavily depends on the industry you're going to and what they - the company - consider important. For example, a bank may be more likely to consider financial obligations such as overextending yourself financially or unpaid debt. A delivery driver job may be interested in your driving history and if you gotten into a accident.

Most Likely: They'll check criminal history, education credentials, and verify past employments.

Likely: Financial considerations as well but depends on the industry.

Less Likely: Interview previous employers, references, or the likes. Sending a field agent out to each of these locations would be very time consuming.

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  • Could you add a point explaining where you got this information? Right now I can't tell if you've had a consumer report done before, if you read a wikipedia article, or if you're just extrapolating based on what happens in a normal background check. – David K Apr 4 '18 at 12:34
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    I think it would add to this answer to explain that "consumer report" is basically just a new name for "background check" and sometimes has a slightly more consumer/financial skew than traditional background checks (ie your "Likely" sentence). There isn't a single fixed set of things that are checked, it'll depend on what the employer is interested in (and, in the cases of some industries and localities, what is required by regulation - ie banking industry commonly requires employees to pass certain credit report checks.) – dwizum Apr 4 '18 at 12:37
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    @DavidK I base it on personal experience as well as from those I know. I know people in banking who got their financial history checked in wider scrutiny than normal. I never heard of a background agency interviewing neighbors other than for government jobs. – Dan Apr 4 '18 at 13:05
  • @dwizum seems very sketchy trying to hide what they are doing an employer that lies by omission is not one I would ever want to work for – Neuromancer Apr 4 '18 at 13:15
  • @Neuromancer I didn't mean to imply that the employer is hiding what they're checking, rather I meant that a generic term like "consumer check" or "consumer report" will mean different things to different employers. There isn't a set, specific and generally accepted standard (as there is for a Credit Report in the US, for example). Employers (all those I've ever applied to) will have you sign a disclosure form that describes what they check, in high level terms at least. If this was a general question, Dan's answer is good. If it's about a specific employer, you need to ask them, not us. – dwizum Apr 4 '18 at 13:25

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