Asking for Age and SSN on Job Application

Apparently some companies are starting to require applicants to include their age and social security number on job applications. Not after they have made it to the background check or job offer stage. On the application.


I wouldn't be willing to put my SSN on a job application. And I would probably be reluctant to give my age or date of birth. That's very personal information that could make it easy for someone to steal my identity.

What do you all think? Do any of you ask for this info on job applications?



  • 24 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Never have. I would be uncomfortable providing that information if I were an applicant.
  • Why would a company do that? What benefit could they possibly get that would out weigh the liability?

    I have not had to complete a job application for some time, but I do remember we were asked for this kind of information alot in the old days. In fact, I remember an application that asked for the date of my last cycle. Sheesh! I'm old! (Paul and Frank: no comments from the peanut gallery.)
  • I believe that information should not be gathered until after the applicant has been offered the position, so as to avoid any claims of preemployment discrimination based on age or national origin.

    Our background check provider asks for this information in order to do the checks (which we don't do until a position has been offered), but we do not have access to the information (it is masked on the background reports). We don't actually get our hands on SSN and DOB until they fill out their new hire paperwork.
  • That was the other thing that struck me. Data security is such a challenge anyway. Why would you want to have 100 or 500 or even 1,000 SSNs to protect instead of one or a handful that you need for background checks? It seems like it would create a lot more problems than it solves.
  • The Social Security # is requested on our application, but the DOB is not. I'm thinking of adding the DOB.

    Strangely enough, I also recently completed an application that asked me when Nae had her last cycle. It just felt weird.
  • Frank, you're killing me. I mean it! I had some food in my mouth when I read your response and about choked to death.
  • Kind of off the subject Nae, but how old are those twins now?
  • They were 2 in September. They are still adorale and came to the office just last week. They are not identical, but like the Olson twins, are hard to tell apart. If it wasn't for a birthmark on one of them, I would have serious trouble knowing who was who.
  • Hey, umm... we don't really go for that off-topic stuff around here. Don't make me contact the forum moderators.
  • Good to hear.

    On a related note, I am somewhat disappointed at the lack of Oscar talk on the forum this year. Personally, I don't think I've seen any of the movies that won OR were even nominated, but it's usually a fun conversation nonetheless.
  • Regarding the Oscars -- bring back Robin Williams or Billy Crystal, even Hugh Jackman, but never ever have those two as hosts ever again -- just my opinion.

  • I've only seen a couple of the movies that were nominated for any of the big awards so I didn't even watch the show this year. From what I've heard, I didn't miss much...sounds like much of it was kind of painful to watch or just flat-out boring.
  • I've never had an application require the DOB but at my former job, where I was a Generalist/Recrutier, we required the social. However, we didn't have paper apps. I worked at a call center with very high turnover and in an area where people would cycle through the other call centers and then try to come back. Entering the social on the on-line application was their first step. It was crucial in filtering through people who had said they hadn't worked for us before but they actually had. Especially in the case of women who had changed their last names since they last worked for us. The system filtered them and flagged them as not only possible rehires but if they were someone who applied multiple times but had never been hired - it flagged those too. Our company changed names at one point - so people didn't always "lie" on the application when they stated they hadn't worked for us before -they didn't understand we were the same company that had merged with another. We were very strict on our rehire guidelines and this helped me stick to those guidelines! As far as security of their social - since it was on-line, even when I printed out the application, it never showed up. It stayed in the system. I work for a small non-profit right now. We use paper apps and the tracking system for applications is a spreadsheet. It's frustrating to go from high tech to low tech but it's one of the few things I would change if I had the ability and we had the funding.

    Oops, sorry - didn't mean to take away from your Oscar's and baby update chat! LOL
  • It's okay, I knew somebody would drag us back to the topic sooner or later.

    I do have applicants who will enter all zeros, or 123456789 as their social, and that's okay as long as they understand I'm going to have to have it at some point.

    I did have one applicant (I think I've recounted this story here before) who refused to give her social, address, or phone number on the application. When I told her there was a certain point in the process I would need that information, she informed me very clearly I was not getting that information, even if I hired her. It was none of our business where she lived, and she didn't want us calling her off the clock, and she doesn't give her SSN out to anyone. She sounded shocked when I told her she wasn't getting a second interview. On paper, she was by far our best applicant. I try not to intentionally hire people whose presence will constantly torment me, though. :)
  • We removed the SSN and DOB information from our applications years ago specifically to avoid issues with identity theft. We now obtain that only upon hire.
  • Frank,

    Just curious but how did she expect to get paid if she wouldn't give up her SSN even after hire? Maybe she preferred being paid in chickens. :-/

  • I did explain that no employer could ever legally hire her without a SSN or taxpayer ID, but she insisted it was her right to refuse. I'm guessing she provided that info to the unemployment office when she picked up her check, though.
  • We also ask for SSN on the application but not DOB. We use the SSN to run the backgrounds and enter the information into our applicant database.
  • We also require socials on all applications for background checks. Also require DOB's if the applicant will drive a company vehicle.

    I notice some of you said you don't do background checks until post offer. If you haven't checked the applicant out, how do you know you want to make an offer. Here I check out the applicants, then forward the most qualified to the department manager to interview and make the job offer if they like the applicant.
  • On the store bought "Attorney Developed" applications we get from gNeil - they ask for the SSN on the bottom of the third page. However, we do not use it for anything. We have separate forms that we have applicants complete, after their first interview and we are still interested in them. These forms give us authorization to pull a credit report and criminal background search on the applicant. These forms contain SSN, DOB, etc.
  • [QUOTE=joannie;721966]I notice some of you said you don't do background checks until post offer. If you haven't checked the applicant out, how do you know you want to make an offer. Here I check out the applicants, then forward the most qualified to the department manager to interview and make the job offer if they like the applicant.[/QUOTE]

    Maybe we have different ideas of what constitutes background checks??? After reviewing resumes and doing phone screens/questionnaires with the candidates, we forward the most qualified to the hiring manager. After they decide on their final candidates, we do reference checks. Once we have a final candidate, we make all our offers contingent upon successful completion of a background check and drug screen, so that we don't ask for SSN and DOB until after the offer has been made. I think we've only had 2 offers that we've ever had to rescind because someone failed the background check/drug screen.
  • Nope, we have the same idea on what is a background check. We check criminal background, previous employment, MVR, etc. before interviewing. Department manager interviews the qualified applicants, then if they want the person, they make a job offer contingent on passing a pre-employment physical and drug screen.
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