Harry Kazakian

How do you know if a potential employee can handle money responsibly? What information can you use to get an indication that they will fulfill their work obligations? Is there any evidentiary way to measure whether a prospective hire is ethical?

One way leaders try to begin answering these questions is by running a pre-employment credit check. A survey by CareerBuilder estimated that about 30% of employers will perform a pre-employment credit check on applicants. It’s no surprise that modern American life has changed a lot since Benjamin Franklin wrote, “The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt.”

But let me be clear: Debt itself isn’t a problem; not repaying can be. Many of the Founding Fathers found themselves in debt for years. Thomas Jefferson sold off his library collection in 1815 and used the proceeds to help settle some of his debts. John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, helped pay off a lien on the family home, according to Paul Nagel in his book John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life. Even Alexander Hamilton found himself overdrawn on his Bank of New York account — the very bank he founded — by more than $5,000 (which equates to tens of thousands of dollars today).

Read full story at Forbes.com