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Study Finds Jerks Have Higher Credit Scores

by on December 5, 2011

Study Finds Jerks Have Higher Credit Scores

Being a jerk has its advantages. As a person who just doesn’t give a damn, you get to go through life saying what you want, when you want, to whomever you want. People don’t walk all over you – they’re afraid to. If dinner wasn’t just right, no problem sir, it’s on the house (just please, please leave). As a jerk, you get what you ask for, because you’re not afraid to ask for it. And oh yeah, according to new research, your credit score is likely to be stellar too.

In a new study to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, LSU researchers, along with others from Texas Tech University and Northern Illinois University, worked to determine the links between an individual’s personality and their credit score. The results were surprising. The findings showed no correlation between an employee’s credit score and their likelihood to steal. In fact, the study showed no relation between credit score and job performance at all. It did, however, show a connection between personality types and credit scores.

According to the data, an individual’s level of agree-ability is negatively related to their credit score. In other words, the nicer a person is, the lower their credit score tends to be. The more disagreeable and rude a person is, the more likely they are to have a high credit rating. So why do the nice guys finish last? There are few reasons why this might occur.

Agreeable people are much more likely to offer support and help to their friends and family. For many people, this might mean agreeing to be a cosigner on a credit card or a car loan. While rude people would leave their friends to fend for themselves, a caring person will try to assist their friends, even if it negatively impacts their finances or credit score.

Friendly people are also more likely to sign up for new lines of credit. When a retail sales associate asks if they’re interested in a store credit card, a person who just doesn’t care what others think will have no problem brushing them off. Someone who’s more personable might agree to another card in their wallet even if it’s of no advantage to them. These small decisions can add up and make a big impact when it comes to a person’s credit score.

What will employers take away from these findings? It’s common practice for employers to run credit checks on job applicants. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of surveyed employers completed credit checks on prospective employees as a part of their hiring procedures. Employers do this because they assume that those with high credit scores are more responsible and therefore better employees. But by choosing to hire someone with a high credit score, employers might be doing themselves more harm than good.

At the very least, this data should cause employers to question the efficacy of integrating credit checks into their hiring procedures. After all, employers rationalize this practice for its ability to predict a potential employee’s job performance and integrity. The results of the LSU study show that a credit check will do nothing when it comes to predicting these traits. It might, however, be a good way of weeding out the jerks. Perhaps in the future, employers will search for agreeable applicants by choosing those with low credit scores. Only time will tell.

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