Will Bankruptcy Kill My Chances of Employment?

Many job seekers who have struggled with keeping up with a tough economy are terrified of their chances of potential employment simply due to being forced to file bankruptcy at some point in their life.  As a seasoned recruiter and hiring manager, a handful of my clients/job candidates requested that detailed background checks be performed, to include a lofty credit check.  So what is my advice for job candidates having to press through this rigorous process?  Get through your first round of interviews, whet the appetite of your interviewers with your behavioral responses and demonstration of your professional experience as it relates to the position, wait for a mention of a background check, and THEN own up to the bankruptcy.  Employers will appreciate your honesty and will most likely recognize your efforts in demonstrating respect for them and the organization in owning up to your actions.  You can say something along the lines of:

I appreciate you taking the time to invite me in for another interview, but before you move forward with the hiring process I feel it’s important that you hear this from me.  About a year ago, I was placed into an unavoidable situation (explain the situation BRIEFLY if appropriate) where I had to file for bankruptcy.  The situation has recently been handed off to a family member to re-mediate and it is my goal to obtain permanent, long-term employment to build my credit again…”

Of course there is no guarantee that this won’t set off some red flags for the employer to ponder, but always expect that the employer will eventually find out and dishonesty never does a job candidate any favors and may possibly position them to be ineligible for employment with that organization going forward as a result.