Social Security Numbers For Online Job Applications

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As a Consultant I am constantly looking for my next contract assignment. Almost all of my job applications are filled out online. On rare occasion I will be asked for my social security number. If a company asks me to provide them with my SS number in order to apply for a job I question whether I want to work for that organization. As a Human Resource professional I am aware that the social security number is required to conduct a background check however no background check should be run until both parties show mutual interest with a strong possibility of a job offer being imminent.
Today I applied for a job with a health care organization in St. Louis, MO and they asked for my social security number when I filled out their online application. I entered: 000-00-0000 but the system wouldn’t accept it. The system required that I enter a valid number so I tried 000-00-1111 but it wouldn’t accept that number either. There is no reason this company should have that information up front. I will not entrust my SS number with total strangers online. What if their site is hacked? What if they run my background check without my knowledge?
I did a little research and discovered that back in the 1960’s Woolworth’s used to have social security #’s on their wallet inserts. The number they used was 078-05-1120 as a result the Social Security Administration has voided this number. Try using this number 078-05-1120 if they system will not accept your entry of 999-99-9999 or 000-00-0000. I highly recommend not providing your social security number or date of birth on any online job application.
If the Health Care organization in St. Louis, MO ends up hiring me I will recommend that they revise their online application process. As a Recruiter I would have a very difficult time persuading any future candidates to go through the online application process that requires them to include their social security number.