I've read other posts on the same question, this instance is a little more specific.

I live in San Francisco and was contacted by an Associate Account Manager at Collabera for a role in San Francisco. After an initial screening the associate shared the Job Description at a reputable organization (UCSF) and arranged for a video interview with the 2 managers of the team this role would be a part of. Following this interview there was a take-home assignment. Submitting my assignment was the last correspondence I had with the organization looking to hire.

This morning the associate from Collabera called and told me that they want to extend an offer. I said that's great and I would like to know more details about the offer but the associate told me they first needed confirmation that I am still interested in the role before proceeding with the on-boarding.

The associate follows up the phone call with an email asking me to provide my SSN, DOB, Full Name, and Address. I asked for further details, specifically on benefits and compensation, but the associate's reply was that I must first provide this information before proceeding with the on-boarding. Once on-boarding begins, I will receive paperwork which will outline the details of my contract as an employee.

1) Should I give the associate my SSN or is this a concerning situation?
2) Can I still negotiate the terms of my contract once beginning on-boarding or is this something done before on-boarding?

  • 4
    I find it a little odd that they'd want this information in order to prove that you're still interested in the job. I'd ask them why they need this information if you haven't yet been offered the job and are in the process of being on boarded.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 11:18
  • 5
    I'm going to ask a slightly more delicate question -- are you a US citizen or permanent resident alien who's been in this country long enough that you have an established work history in the US? Because I would never, ever, provide a RECRUITER with my SSN. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 14:42
  • 1
    This is more than odd, it's downright suspicious. The only verification they need for proving that you are still interested is your say-so. The fact that they won't tell you the terms of this so-called contract is setting off warning bells in my head. Why are they being so coy? The only reason I can think of is that they have something they don't want you to know about. Be very cautious. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 16:38
  • 1
    BTW, Collabera's name is familiar to me. They aren't exactly a recruiter, I think they are more of a contracting firm, so they are legally the prospective employer. I've had one interview with Collabera back in 2010, but never done any jobs for them, which is statistically significant because I'm on the market an average of about once every couple of years. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Strader That would suck. I'd say no thanks to a deal like that. I've never gotten to the devil or the details with Collabera, but it wouldn't surprise me if that was their model. Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 15:27

6 Answers 6


1) Should I give the associate my SSN or is this a concerning situation?

I would clarify what your SSN will be used for. But generally you don't need to provide your SSN until you need to verify your eligibility to work.

2) Can I still negotiate the terms of my contract once beginning on-boarding or is this something done before on-boarding?

I find the usage of onboarding odd here. You usually onboard a new employee or, in other words, a candidate who has signed an employment contract. I think you should continue to seek to finalize your employment contract.

The whole situation seems a little iffy to me, but not enough for me to run screaming in the other direction. I would proceed with caution and clarify what your personal information will be used for before you provide it.

  • Usually you enter your PII information into a 3rd party system AT the company you're going to work. Not with a 3rd party recruiter. I'd get clarification on why he needs the PII as well.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 17:30


Recruiter don`t need candidate SSN for anything during the service or after. Anything useful for you anyway.

Contract negotiations should be done prior to contract signing, and "On Boarding" you describe seem to me like regular client profile building inside the recruiting company.

I don`t want to be crude, but imho, there is no job, associate have to supply minimum number of candidates for their internal collection and you have been chosen to be his quota

  • 2
    I have never been asked to provide SSN before the actual process of signing the paperwork after a job has been offered and accepted. And they aren't supposed to ask for your DOB. Period. Ask them what they want your SSN for and make them be specific and if it isn't a really good reason (don't let them get away with something non-specific, like "We need it to verify your identity") then don't give it to them. If they have a good reason to need to verify, you could give them the last 4 digits of your SSN. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 16:34

Do not give this recruiter any of your personal details!

I would let the recruiter know that you would like to pick up the paperwork in person. If they agree, then verify that the address you are going to is actually the address of the company that you believe you are interviewing for. If the recruiter refuses then look for another opportunity. If the address does not match, look for another opportunity.

To be honest, this looks like a scam. I would be very careful with any information you give to this person and take anything they claim with a grain of salt.

  • I would only add that even if the job itself does turn out to be real, OP should still insist on getting salary/benefits info before giving this information/paperwork.
    – BSMP
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:29

1) Should I give the associate my SSN or is this a concerning situation?

I think it's more complicated than I saw anyone else indicate. Generally speaking you should never give a recruiter your SSN. However if it's an agency that will be cutting the checks for you they're both a recruiter and employer. In that situation you will have to give up your SSN so they can generate income tax & social security records/process payroll. Normally you don't have to do that until after the 1st time one of their clients has interviewed you and decided to 'hire' you. Not before. If it's not an agency that cuts checks for you then they don't need your SSN. If they claim to need it for a background check I wouldn't believe them. They aren't going to pay to do a background check on you before anybody has decided they want to hire you and in my experience their client would do the background check themselves anyhow.

In all cases, you never give your SSN to anybody before you've done the final round of interviews for whoever needs you to do work. This is true for references too... with the addition that you never ever give references to recruiters or agencies for any reason.

Rules to live by: 1.) Never give SSN or references to a recruiter. Ever. 2.) Only give SSN or references to the employer who you will be working for AFTER a final interview. So if an employer has a 3 interview process, they won't even ask for references till after the 3rd interview(!). They may ask for SSN if they want to do a background check at that point. Otherwise they won't ask for that.

2) Can I still negotiate the terms of my contract once beginning on-boarding or is this something done before on-boarding?

For agency stuff, the contract is set when you sign an official contract with the number written on it.

Some agencies take a percentage of what you make in which case they would fight to get you more money. Most agencies make more the less you make so it's in your interest to ask other workers what they're making with that agency/similar agency. Most people doing contract work don't have a problem sharing this info with other contractors (in my experience).

  • While there are legitimate situations in which it's required, like the both recruiter/employer (once you've been hired of course) their insistence and failure to mention any of those possible reasons is very telling IMO ...
    – user85222
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:44

To prove eligibility to work, all one needs to provide is either a passport or a "real ID" drivers license. Most states are already in compliance with the "real id" and if your state is one, then that's all you need. I think you need two forms of ID, so a passport and a driver's license are usually enough. None of these would have your SSN on it though.

I have never been in a situation where I had to provide my SSN, DOB, or any of that information to get a job offer letter. I find this highly suspicious and would double check on a few items. One I would verify the company actually exists by calling a number I find on a website (not one that he provided). I would also want to talk to the person who "hired" me and ask if that is standard procedure.

Even then I would be extremely cautious especially if all the information is relayed over a unsecured email. If I were you, I'd simply delete the email and move on. I wouldn't even respond or investigate further into the subject. If asked, I would reply that I find the fact they need my PII info seems unusual and decline to provide it over email.

You should always be suspicious of people who pressure you to provide information. In this case, the person is saying you don't have a job offer unless you give him all this information. That alone is suspicious and any time you're under pressure or there's a extreme urgency to provide payment or personal information, you should not give them.


Contact the recruiter. Thank them for the opportunity and let them know you will be happy to evaluate any offer they submit to you. Until that time you cannot determine whether or not the details of the job are acceptable.

At that point one two things will happen.

  • The recruiter tells you the offer details. You then have the information you need to accept, decline or negotiate.
  • The recruiter insists that you provide the SSN plus other onboarding documentation prior to receiving the offer. You reiterate your position that you'll be happy to entertain the offer once you've actually received an offer but until then you will continue looking. Then hang up and keep looking for another job. The recruiter will either call you back with the info or you just move on.

You don't need to prove your eligibility to work at this point. Pretty much every professional offer is contingent on a background check anyway so having to fill out the paperwork first is not required.

Although I'm not 100% certain, I do think what the recruiter is trying to do is get you far enough into the process that you feel bad about potentially walking away once the offer details are presented. It's just a game, don't play it.

Just be prepared to walk away if they continue strong arming you or if the offer isn't acceptable.

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