Is it legal for employers to ask for Social Security numbers on job applications? We dig into the details about SSNs, job applications, and what to consider during the hiring process.
Trust & Safety
The Importance Of Identity Checking
Millions of identities are stolen each year, raising the risk that candidates may be using stolen identities when applying for jobs and completing their background checks. An identity verification service enables your company to complete an identity check to assess whether the candidate is who they say they are. Checking your candidates’ identity provides an added level of security when screening:
- Candidates for remote employment positions
- Freelancers for your extended workforce
- Contractors in the gig economy
- Positions in the financial services industry
- eCommerce company employees
How Identity Verification Works
Our Identity Verification Service uses knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions and delivery of one-time passcodes to verified phone numbers to assess whether the legal name, date of birth, and address provided are the candidate’s own. Identity Verification is seamlessly integrated into the GoodHire candidate experience:
- Candidate begins by completing their personal information for the background check
- GoodHire sends a passcode to a verified phone number or uses the Social Security Number entered to generate a few questions designed to be very difficult for anyone but the true SSN’s owner to accurately answer
- GoodHire presents these questions interactively to the candidate
- Candidates who fail identity verification still complete the background check process
- GoodHire alerts you if we couldn’t verify your candidate’s identity
How To Act On Results
If a candidate fails the identity check process, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is using another individual’s identity. However, employers should be cautious and consider requiring additional identification documents, including government-issued ID, driver’s license, passport, or military ID.
Need to Know
Identity Verification Service Differs From SSN Trace
A Social Security Number Trace (SSN Trace) is an important discovery and accountability tool used before launching more in-depth screening, such as additional state or county criminal records database searches.
While an SSN Trace will alert you if an SSN is not valid, it cannot confirm the number actually belongs to that candidate. This means that this type of check is not providing the same level of security that an identity check would add to your background check process.
What An SSN Trace Does
- Assesses whether the SSN is valid
- Confirms that candidate-provided information matches the SSN (address and DOB)
- Provides associated addresses to inform which other states or counties to search
- Offers additional candidate names to use for more research (e.g., maiden names)
Learn More About Identity Verification Checks
Find out what an SSN Trace does and why it’s an important part of the background check process. We answer employer FAQs and break down what you need to know.
Remote onboarding new employees can be challenging for companies. Here we share ways to make the process more seamless, including adding identity verification checks.