SSN as a Background Check
Hiring new employees is never an easy process.
You certainly want to hire the best talent but a simple interview process is never a guarantee that you will be able to tell you exactly is right for the job.
Employees may look good on paper but are they really good in reality? Are they the right fit for your organization and will they help you achieve your goals?
One of the best ways to address this dilemma is to complement interviews with background checks.
What is a background check?
A background check is a process of reviewing a person’s or organization’s public and confidential information in a bid to know their history. The process involves compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of the individual or organization with the intention to verify their exact nature.
This is a common practice in organizations, carried out by recruiting teams on their employees. It is a vital activity that is becoming ever more necessary in today’s workplace, to ensure that people are who they say they are.
The purposes of a background check vary depending on the organization, but majorly revolve around:
- To determine that one does not have a criminal record that may be damaging to the image of the company
- To verify the accuracy of information presented in an application for employment
- To ensure that the firm would not be at risk of issues such as theft or fraud based on an employee’s previous work history
- To create and ensure a safe workplace for customers and employees by protecting against workplace violence incidents
Using SSN as a Background Check
There are various kinds of background checks that can be done including criminal background checks, employment screening, tenant screening, child care background checks, volunteer organization screenings, among others.
Organizations run different checks to suit their needs, but most will run a combination of education, work history, criminal, credit reports and SSN (Social Security Number).
For a US citizen, this is the most important identifying number. This is a 9-digit number assigned by the US government to its citizens and residents. Although initially intended for the administration of social security purposes, it has evolved to become a vital identification number.
The information found in an SSN search report is typically public records information meaning it’s available to the public but through a courthouse or government office.
All records including property, marriage and criminal records are entered into a public record and linked to an individual’s SSN.
With such a wealth of data, an SSN scan/trace (a search based on the social security number submitted by an applicant) is an important tool for conducting background checks.
Legal Permission Necessary to Access Information
It is important to note that because an SSN is linked with sensitive information, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conduct a search without legal permission that is, using a lawyer or a private investigator with specific permission.
This is where people finder companies such as RealSearch, among others come in. They find all the available records across the US and organize them into a database that allows for easier search.
Credit records are linked to social security numbers. The header information from credit applications submitted to a Credit Reporting Agency is actually the primary source of information for an SSN trace.
This implies that any credit-related transactions and associated addresses are linked to the particular SSN. This can easily allow access to information where an individual has been and what they have been doing.
Information reported in SSN scans normally can be traced back 3-10 years. Information older than this may be reported on a scan report. Each source of records will vary in how long they are kept.
Similarly, different users of this information will, however, require data from different time periods. For instance, an employer will be more likely to check verification for employers for whom an applicant worked during the previous 8 years or there-about, while education verifications may be for all post-high school education.
The particular interest while conducting a search via SSN is to discover any undisclosed information that may exist.
An employer, for instance, will be particularly interested in uncovering any information that may have been hidden by a candidate such as criminal activity. A trace, however, does not verify the validity of an SSN issued, nor is it a comprehensive identity verification tool.
It is not unheard of for individuals to forge social security numbers. Therefore, an employer has the responsibility to verify an employee’s identity by use of other processes that will complement the use of SSN.
Why Are Background Checks Important for Your Business?
Seeing as background checks are becoming more and more crucial in our present day work environment, it is important for employers to do these thoroughly on each member of staff coming into an organization.
So why exactly are background checks necessary for your business?
1. They highlight criminal history
This is the single most important reason why companies conduct background checks before hiring new staff. You certainly don’t want a criminal working for you! A background check will bring up any criminal charges that an individual may have faced.
2. They help you avoid liability
Running background checks allow you to find out the history of a person and eliminate any employee liability by doing your due diligence during the hiring process. in short, you want to know everything about your employer including any history that might come back to bite you.
3. You get to provide a safe workplace for your employees and customers
You do not want to hire criminals, sex offenders, violent individuals etc. who may pose to be a threat to your employees as well as your customers. Imagine having a sex offender lurking in your organization!.
4. You get to hire the most qualified people
People are good at putting up an act during an interview. Others forge their education documents while others flat out lie about their working experience. A quick background check will help you verify all the information a candidate provides you with allowing you to find the most qualified people who will help you grow your company.
5. It gives you peace of mind
Once you’ve verified an employee’s history you will rest assured that you hired not only the most qualified candidate but also someone you can trust giving you the peace of mind necessary to build a successful business.
Running background checks may prove to be quite tedious and expensive; however, it is an exercise that would go a long way in ensuring a safe and conducive workspace.
Complement an SSN search with other background check routines, to ensure that a thorough and comprehensive study has been done.