I'm not familiar with Earnest, but is there any special reason you are just looking at them? There are a lot of lenders who will give you a pre-approval online without a hard pull on your credit report. In my experience the easy way to compare a lot of lenders quickly is to go to the pre-approval pages at Credit Karma (CK) or Nerdwallet. You can create free accounts at either if you don't have them already.
Getting approved is one thing, but you also want the best rates you can qualify for so shopping around is a good idea. Note too that you should compare APRs, not just interest rates. Some lenders charge an up-front origination fee to show a lower interest rate but the APR factors that in.
I've gotten loans from Marcus, Proper, and Lending Club from the CK and NerdWallet pre-approval pages and have never had a problem. I put in my info, they show me Lender/Rate/Terms, I pick the best one, and I've gotten the loan at the terms shown. I've never been asked for income verification, but some people apparently are so if the lender doesn't like what they see there I suppose they could cancel the offer.
Thanks for your advice! I was primarily looking at Earnest because I read a Nerdwallet review on them, and it seems like they’re good for people who are new to credit and don’t necessarily have a high income, but are financially responsible. Can I still be denied a loan if I’m pre-approved?
Yes you can, but it's rare.
As mentioned, someplace like NerdWallet or Credit Karma will shop offers for you (without a hard inquiry) and you can select the offer that works best for you.
When you apply with whichever specific lender, expect a hard inquiry...
maybe I missed it, but why are you seeking a loan? do you actually have an expense or are you just seeking to add an installment loan to your profile?
if you have an expense, there has been a lot of positive things said about Lightstream. I found that prosper, sofi, etc. charge fees taken out of the loan amount. so who ever you choose, look out for that.
you already have a highish score @769 with 3 years of positive history. the general theory is not to pay interest just to build credit.
however, if you absolutely want to add an installment loan with out any real expense, you should look into a Share Secured Loan (SSL). in most cases you could use your savings to front a ~3000 SSL, which you would mostly get back immediately and pay minimal interest.