Online Recruitment and Social Security

A great candidate experience is rooted in respect. Career sites are inviting and enthusiastic. Communications are regular and honest. Appointments are kept and interviews respect a candidate’s time. Applications respect the applicant’s time and privacy.

Why then, do so many online recruitment applications require candidates to provide their Social Security Number? It’s mind boggling to me. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to know my SSN when they have no idea who I am, and the odds of them needing my SSN for an employment verification or background check are maybe 1,000 to one at the online application phase.

I just read an article yesterday that listed the top five signs of a shady job postings. Sign number four of a shady job posting was asking for personal information like Social Security Number. Not only is asking for SSN disrespectful of a candidate’s time and privacy, but it is widely viewed as a sign of a scam job positing, right up there with other signs like asking for money!

Further, why would you want the liability of storing and maintaining the privacy of thousands of Social Security Numbers for candidates that will likely never have any interaction with you beyond submitting an unsolicited application?

To be fair, most employers don’t ask for SSNs in online job applications for many of the reasons I list, but I still regularly see it on some major employers’ online applications.

So what’s your take? Why does this practice persist? What am I missing?

Views: 136

Comment by Suzanne Levison on August 4, 2011 at 4:44pm
Yeah, I don't get it either.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 4, 2011 at 5:39pm

A T & T is one of the major offenders in asking for a social.  Their explanation is that they use a multitude of contract firms and contract employees so to maintain exact records of applications and referrals they require a social as it is the only way to determine the individual when many have the same names, or may be the same person with a different address or with multiple recruiting firms submitting candidates into the ATS it eliminates duplication errors.  Or so the spin goes.


Course i think AT&T sucks buttermilk so i hope they get hit with a major class action lawsuit for causing a sunami of identity theft.


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