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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the you-know-that-you-can-trust-us dept.

SuperCharlie writes:

"I am in search of employment and ran across a bit of a dilemma that I would like some Soylent guidance. After applying for a job at CareerBuilder, I received a follow-up email which requested that I fill out their on-line application. The first field, mandatory, was Social Security Number as part of their initial screening process. My question for the community is, how would you deal with requests like this as the initial employment steps?"

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:13PM (#9770)

    I've gone both ways on this, depending on my level of desperation and/or the desirability of the job.

    I don't like it, but unless you play by their rules you can't even get in the game. Remember, if you don't fill it in, your application will probably never be seen by a human being.

    If you know the company doing the hiring, you could try to find another way to get their attention.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:23PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:23PM (#9779)

      "if you don't fill it in, your application will probably never be seen by a human being."

      It is illegal to intentionally falsify information on a W-2 form. This is not a W-2 form. You do the math. Most of the jobs on that site in my area are ultra low end, just a small step up from day labor, maybe a step down from temp agency jobs, so I don't think they're going to do much background checking. This is not legal advice.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:54PM (#9800)

        It's not illegal, but it almost certainly violates the terms of the application (that all information is true). You could put in bogus numbers to get past the automated rejection process, but you would then set yourself up for being rejected for lying on your application.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by mrclisdue on Monday March 03 2014, @12:01AM

      by mrclisdue (680) on Monday March 03 2014, @12:01AM (#9829)

      I realize it's a US-centric query, but in Canada, basically, one only has to supply one's Social Insurance Number (SIN) to employers, specific government institutions, and specific financial institutions (there are some other things, see the list here:

      http://www.priv.gc.ca/resource/fs-fi/02_05_d_02_e. asp [priv.gc.ca]

      )

      I've seen hundreds of resumes where the SIN was prominent, often in the header, along with dob info ....

      It's considered bad form in these parts to divulge one's SIN as it's gold to the id-theft crowd.

      cheers,

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by efernsler on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:14PM

    by efernsler (1035) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:14PM (#9771)

    They're probably pulling your credit report. You know, just for fun.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:20PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:20PM (#9775) Journal

      They probably will need it just to check your references.

      After all, any large company might have a many "Bob Jones" working for them, and if they want to check your references, they will have to supply an SSN to the prior employers.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:34PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:34PM (#9787)

        Perhaps a database primary key? All of the jobs on that site in my area are McJobs so if you sign up on that site 6 times in one year, they don't want to send you to interview at the same car rental desk clerk position or MLM salesperson opportunity or custodial service mop holder job five more times after they reject you the first time. That could get awkward after the 3rd or 4th interview for the same McJob.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:59PM

          by edIII (791) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:59PM (#9807)

          Then they should just assign a primary key or track unique identities in some other way.

          Using it for those purposes is not just beyond full-retard, it's plain freakin' dangerous. You already have personal info that you need to protect, and at least one state that I know of, will pursue you for damages and fines if you release personal info.

          I would do what I normally do, which is to forge and lie. I know they don't need it, and whatever they do want it for, is not in my best interests.

          A credit report should NEVER be part of a background search. My own buddy in government was being threatened simply due to bad marks on his credit report. Some complete douchenozzle in the government actually said if the debt wasn't settled it could mean he was under duress and might be a security risk. I helped write a letter in which I bent that idiot over and gutted him. I brought up the fact that it wasn't his responsibility, and it was in fact, his actions that were creating duress. Unfairly as well, since his stance instantly assumed the creditors were correct. One was fraudulent from Sprint (they are extremely well known for fraud), an other was in dispute, and the last was a scum-sucking debt collector company that refused to take any kind of reasonable deal that was within my buddy's finances.

          Anybody that looks at credit reports and creates adverse opinions is helping to violate due process and do the work of the creditors. It's incredibly unfair, and is a poor substitute for a court of law to determine the worthiness of a debt.

          Social media passwords just serve to destroy social media. It's not like you will be yourself, if you know that you would be judged to the extent it affects your income. Thankfully, that is being taken care of.

          I would never submit to my social being used in an interview process, and while people need jobs, you don't want to work for an employer that would utilize such faulty logic . Nothing about that job will be fair or impartial, you will not be cared for, and just find yourself in a very toxic corporate environment where the shit-head execs (always that way) possess the kind of thinking that allows for such things in the first place. You will find many problems.

          It's just not worth it. Tell them that the social will be provided the moment employment is provided. Not a moment sooner.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:19PM

            by Thexalon (636) on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:19PM (#9818)

            Using it for those purposes is not just beyond full-retard, it's plain freakin' dangerous

            Also, in some states it may be illegal [consumersunion.org]. Employers collect SSNs for tax purposes when they decide to hire somebody, but there are significant restrictions on when and how they can ask for it.

            Your guess that it's probably for a credit check sound right on the money. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN 9) introduced a bill [govtrack.us] to make that illegal too, but it between partisan gridlock and big business opposition there's approximately a whelk's chance in a supernova of that passing.

            My instincts match edIII though: If they're that stupid, or that disrespectful towards their applicants, try elsewhere if at all possible.

            --
            Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Yow on Monday March 03 2014, @01:54AM

              by Yow (1637) on Monday March 03 2014, @01:54AM (#9864)

              In my state Government job-sites warn against including your ssn on apps/resumes as it is indeed illegal. My plan would be to fill out the on-line app out w/out my ssn and in some other space notate 'ssn provided upon hire' or some such - not that following my advice aver got anyone anywhere - but I've done Ok.

          • (Score: 1) by fliptop on Monday March 03 2014, @01:20AM

            by fliptop (1666) on Monday March 03 2014, @01:20AM (#9852) Journal

            A credit report should NEVER be part of a background search.

            If you are applying for any kind of job that handles money, especially at a bank or credit union, a credit report is necessary.

            --
            To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
            • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday March 03 2014, @02:49AM

              by edIII (791) on Monday March 03 2014, @02:49AM (#9882)

              Why?

              For what reason, and what do we learn from a credit report?

              If it's duress you are worried about, that is incredibly unfair for the exact same reasons that you would look. Looking for it creates the problem.

              That could be mitigated by simply asking about the debts and what went wrong in an impartial way that you don't take the creditors or the applicant's side. Even then, what do you hope to learn? The applicant was stupid? The applicant was unlucky? The applicant shouldn't have banged the waitress and got divorced?

              There is a faulty premise at work here. The applicant is so emotionally involved in the satisfaction of the debt that they would perform an illegal action to receive unjust enrichment that allows them to satisfy the debt.

              It's so laughable as a premise. You don't know how sociopathic a person may be because they were simply retarded or drunk when they bought that hot tub. We've ALL BOUGHT THE HOT TUB. Mine was a 5k impulse purchase on credit a decade ago, that to this day, leaves me in a state of awe as to what I was thinking.

              The possibility that they may do something wrong because of a debt, even a bad one, is just as equal as the possibility that they wouldn't. Furthermore, it's usually the large and very emotional debts that are concerning. Like home mortgages. Everybody has those, so everybody has the stress equally, so you learn nothing. You just lost the Who's-A-Sociopath game.

              Medical burdens are next. You don't need a credit report for that, and you don't learn that the applicant has a niece with some horrible disease and applicant could really use 50k just laying around in the vault.

              For actually assessing real risk, a credit report is just useless.

              What a credit report is useful at though, is very subjective judgments of a person. You get an idea of their culture, their history, their business decisions. However, all of those ideas can be based on stereotypes and other forms of bias. Once you have that, people will act normally, and judge the applicant hastily according to their life experiences and biases, and that would rarely be fair to applicant.

              An employer has no business with a credit report, even if you do work in a bank. There is nothing in a credit report that would logically convince me that a person was more than a risk than any other person.

              As for highly sensitive jobs, it is still worthless. From a credit report you don't know how in love he is with that stripper that ends up breaking down one day and promising the applicant that if we was rich they could run away and hump like rabbits on the beach. You only know that with a deep background check, psych testing, etc. All things far more invasive and effective than a credit report.

              --
              Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
              • (Score: 2, Informative) by fliptop on Monday March 03 2014, @03:45AM

                by fliptop (1666) on Monday March 03 2014, @03:45AM (#9893) Journal

                There is nothing in a credit report that would logically convince me that a person was more than a risk than any other person

                I guess the HR people at my bank see it differently. You can't get a job there unless you have good credit. Now that I think about it, it's the same way at the casino near me too.

                --
                To be oneself, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:16PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:16PM (#9772)

    I thought job search websites died out a decade ago when HR types and managers started categorically throwing out any application from a job website. My guess is they did die out, although something that looks like them sticks around for the advertising money and profile building. More money to be made than you'd think, selling to unemployed people.

    Some really great jobs on that site, LOL, in my zip I saw part time retail sales associate, general production worker (aka illegal alien manual laborer on an assembly line), and a CDL truck driver. Times about 10 or so. Nothing that interests me at all. Maybe in your area they have something worth looking at?

    • (Score: 1) by glyph on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:07PM

      by glyph (245) on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:07PM (#9809)

      Wow, my experience in the last decade couldn't be more different. More and more businesses don't even solicit applications anymore. They contact a recruitment firm directly and outsource the short-listing process completely.

      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday March 03 2014, @04:49AM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday March 03 2014, @04:49AM (#9907)

        There's a big difference between a job search website and a recruitment firm.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Monday March 03 2014, @12:56PM

      by TheRaven (270) on Monday March 03 2014, @12:56PM (#10011) Journal
      Depends on the field, I think. There are a few very specialised one that I know of, that serve as a way of connecting people with a specialised set of skills with people looking for jobs in those fields. Academic jobs in the UK and jobs involving compiler design and implementation are two fields that particularly come to my mind, both with job sites that are a pretty good way of finding most openings in the field. For more general categories (e.g. 'software developer') they're useless.
      --
      sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @01:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @01:34PM (#10025)

      I thought job search websites died out a decade ago when HR types and managers started categorically throwing out any application from a job website. My guess is they did die out, although something that looks like them sticks around for the advertising money and profile building. More money to be made than you'd think, selling to unemployed people.

      I believe that one called Dice diversified somewhat. Unfortunately, it didn't work out too well.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:17PM (#9773)

    Banking systems allow the use of 999-99-9999 to get through the automatic checks. Using this will allow your privacy to be not compromised and at the same time be contacted on an as needed basis.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Angry Jesus on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:23PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:23PM (#9778)

    It all comes down to who needs who more.

    Are you desperate for the job? If so, suck it up. They are going to use your SS# for a credit check [demos.org] and probably a criminal records check. They are probably also going to sell the fact you applied to some data brokers. You can be nearly certain that if they hire you they will sell info like your salary rate to data brokers. [bankrate.com] You do have some minor rights though. [ftc.gov]

    If you aren't desperate for the job then tell them no and tell them why (nowadays I like to refer to the Target/Neiman-Marcus/Michaels hack anytime someone wants info I don't want them to have because everybody has heard about those cases). Maybe they will decide they need you more than they need to follow their procedures, even if they don't maybe they will at least take note of the push-back and end up changing their policies in the future.

    Not to be snarky, but this sort of shit that is a great example of why you should look for a new job when you don't need one because if you are desperate they will take advantage in any way they can.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:24PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:24PM (#9781) Journal

    It sounds like total BS since they aren't going to do a background or credit check until later in the interviewing process, if at all.

    This tactic reminds me of a 'recruiting agency' I once visited, and foolishly filled out their forms completely with salary history, yet I never heard from them again. My guess is both of these tactics are just to data mine, rather than actually place people. In any case, your SSN is something you should protect.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by OGbear on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:24PM

    by OGbear (2675) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:24PM (#9782) Journal

    They are using the SSN to pull credit history and run a criminal records check.

    A few years back, I responded to a CareerBuilder ad and ran into the same SSN request. I informed CB that I do not provide that information to search firms. If they have a specific referal that they would like me to talk to, I will provide the firms H/R department with the information, should we come to an understanding about the job. They responded with a referal, contingent on my passing the background check. I got the job and CB got their referal fee, so everyone was happy.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:26PM (#9783)

    If it's a local business that's been around for awhile no problem. If you have never seen the place and are doing it online I would have some trepidation.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by NovelUserName on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:39PM

    by NovelUserName (768) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:39PM (#9791)

    As others have noted, your SSN is the token you use to start playing the game. It's required for banking, and anything requiring a credit check, and setting up utility access (unless you are prepared to argue for hours). In principle, you will have to give your SSN at some point before employment for tax purposes. If you don't trust the company at this point in the process, you probably shouldn't bother with the application.

    If you are concerned about this from an ethical standpoint, i.e. what information are they gathering on their prospective employees, you might find their HR contact number and call to ask why they need the number. This won't resolve the central problem, but it will get you more data to make your decision.

    Good luck with your application

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FlatPepsi on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:55PM

    by FlatPepsi (3546) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:55PM (#9801)

    Do you want to work for a place that so recklessly uses personally identifiable information?

    If that's a normal thing the do in the open, what will they do in secret?

    My $0.02 - walk away and tell yourself you dodged a bullet.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by moo kuh on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:24PM

    by moo kuh (2044) on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:24PM (#9821) Journal

    Who is asking for the information? Is it a recruiter, job board, or the actual company? If it is the first two, not a chance I would give it to them. The actual company, I would provide it AFTER an in person interview that went for both you and the prospective employer. How do you know it isn't just a clever scheme to steal identities? If you have done military/government work, how do you know they aren't a spy organization trying to exploit you?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Yow on Monday March 03 2014, @01:59AM

      by Yow (1637) on Monday March 03 2014, @01:59AM (#9868)

      Dude said it was CareerBuilder site. I don't trust 'em. I've found jobs I was interested in on such a place and found the actual party's own web-site to upload a resume to.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by mrkaos on Monday March 03 2014, @12:31AM

    by mrkaos (997) on Monday March 03 2014, @12:31AM (#9836)

    If they ask for information that is not required it becomes an act of discrimination. Obviously you will have to check your local laws on this one but a great book is "Land the Tech Job you Love".
    You could also supply bogus information and if they ask about it say 'whoopsee' and then say, "yeah sorry, that's confidential information and it wouldn't accept the application without it" use some emotional intelligence and then say "hey look, I'm not real comfortable giving that information out with identity theft the way it is now-a-days, what do you really need this information for?".

    There is no way they can verify bogus information if you keep supplying it as such and it won't look any different from anyone else who supplies the real thing.

    Good luck

    --
    My ism, it's full of beliefs.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @12:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @12:11PM (#9999)

    In Australia they have a unique identifier for tax purposes called the Tax File Number which is issued by the ATO. Bank accounts, employment HR systems and other systems use this to identify people against their tax record.

    It is illegal to require anyone to provide a tax file number except in specific circumstances generally involving earning money (eg bank accounts/salary) or losing money (investments). Even with banks they do not demand a tax file number but they will take out interest at the highest rate if you do not provide it.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @01:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @01:37PM (#10026)

    Telephone number? 0 or maybe 000000.

    Salary? 0.

    Number of children? 0 because it is none of their business.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Spook brat on Monday March 03 2014, @06:42PM

    by Spook brat (775) on Monday March 03 2014, @06:42PM (#10152) Journal

    I'm late to the punch on this discussion, but keep in mind that U.S. Federal law has requirements for government agencies, at any level - local, State, or Federal - requesting your social security number. From the Pricavy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a [justice.gov]):

    Sec. 7(a) (1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his social security account number.
    <snip>
    (b) Any Federal, State or local government agency which requests an individual to disclose his social security account number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.

    re-formatted for clarity:
    government employers are required by law to inform [you]:

    • whether [SSN] disclosure is mandatory or voluntary
    • by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited
    • and what uses will be made of it

     

    This law may not directly apply to the employers you're dealing with if they aren't government, but it's a good set of questions to ask whenever someone asks for your number. If the answers are "it's voluntary; we just want it, its absence will delay processing; we'll use it to identify you as an applicant", leave it off. If the answer is "it's mandatory; company policy; we won't process your application without it", then decide how much you really want the job.

    Government agencies really do respect this, FYI; I recently had a background check run on me by a State agency, and they asked for my social. When I found out that it was optional I refused to provide it; that was the end of the discussion. I'm sure it might have made their job easier, but that's not my concern ;)

    --
    Travel the galaxy! Meet fascinating life forms... And kill them [schlockmercenary.com]