Wiki A question for those who work in HR?


Nashville, TN
Best answers
Is it normal - or even legal - for an employer to ask for your SS# and/or birth date when applying for a job BEFORE any type of interview has taken place?

With identity theft as one of the top crimes, it seems to make it easier for this to happen to you, no matter how secure the application website is. I've read that it is illegal in some states for employers to ask for that information beforehand.

I'm helping my husband with a job search, and it seems about a third of the online applications he's filled out require either his SS# or birth date or both and won't let him continue without it. And of course he's forced to "I agree" a consent form with it. :mad:

Why would an employer need this information BEFORE they've responded that they might have the slightest interest in a candidate for any type of interview? Aren't background/credit checks expensive, so why do it on every applicant? Wouldn't it be more efficient to get this information AFTER an interview with a potential candidate? I've never had to release that type of personal information to an employer until after some type of interview.

To me, it screams a red flag of age discrimination. There's no proof the employer will NOT use this information to weed out the too young or too old candidates. :mad: Does the employer think this alleviates wasted interviews? The candidate's resume looks good but their background/credit check isn't good so why bother with interviewing them? :eek:

I've read on threads where some people will put all 9s in place of the SS# field, and put 99 in the birth year. The online bot may not know the difference, but if any employer HR human eyes see it, it just might disqualify the candidate? :(
The SS# and DOB are used for background checks as you have mentioned. A lot of HR people would like to check prospective applicants before they schedule an interview. That way they do not waste their time interviewing someone who would not be eligible for employment. It costs more money to have HR interview someone you can not hire than it does to run a background check prior to the interview. I do not know what it is like for employment in other regions but I know I have in my state never applied for ANY job without supplying my SS# on the applicatin. This goes from when I was 15 years of age applying for a retail job to applying for the job I have now. It is very common here but I can only speak for my area as mentioned.
In our very regulated industry, background and credit checks are essential. If you are handling money or working in billing or other financial departments, you're not usually considered for work if you have a credit problem. The reasons are could somehow manipulate funds to your advantage, or you could sell patient information for money (think about the hospital employees who leak medical information on Hollywood stars).

Hospitals have to make sure you have not defaulted on a federal student loan or that you're not a felon, because if you are; you may not be employed by a hospital who accepts federal funding/Medicare payments.This is not about age discrimination, or about not wanting to give people a chance, but about making sure that people who are considered risky or unemployable don't go any further into the hiring process. If you put 999-99-9999 as your social security number, you will be immediately disqualified for the position....not so much because it's a bogus number, but because at the bottom of the application, you sign and attest that all of the information is correct to the best of your ability.'ve already lied on your application! Background checks are costly, but just a drop in the bucket compared to ligitation regarding embezzlement, privacy violations or fraud.

I realize that people do fall on hard times and make mistakes, but facilities who care for all kinds of patients have to protect themselves and their patients, so that's why they ask for the information in advance of your weed out those that they cannot even consider.
I agree - with every job I have applied for I have always been asked for my SSN & DOB on the application. This is the same from my job at Subway when I was 15 to working for a large local teaching hospital as well as employment with the federal government. If it wasn't legal I'm sure the federal government wouldn't be requiring it on their applications.
Well, many employers must be adopting this new process because I've never had to release that information until after I was personally contacted by a recruiter. Even last summer when I was searching for a new job, I never had to release that information until someone contacted me by phone.