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I am considering taking on a contract-to-hire position with a staffing firm. I am working with a recruiter, he is working for a reputable staffing company. The company he connected me with is extremely interested and ready to move forward, ge requested a background check, in which the background check - paper work asks for SSN, Drivers license number, previous addresses etc.

Note: I have yet to receive any offer from the company regarding this position. I have had a phone interview that went well. However, nothing at all in writing as of yet.

I am not comfortable giving my SSN, drivers license #, knowing that I have no offer in writing. Am I being overly cautious? Do I have a reason to be worried? or should I just provide this information and think noting of it other than it being the normal pre-hiring process?

Also, can I insist on getting a written offer prior to completing any background checks? is this normal?

I appreciate any advice.

Many thanks in advance.

  • 1
    This question can also help workplace.stackexchange.com/q/947/7978 – happybuddha Sep 24 '13 at 18:47
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    Uh, identity theft? – Amy Blankenship Sep 25 '13 at 1:58
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    If you are going to work for a staffing firm they will need your SSN for the 1099 or W-2. Once they have that number getting the DL is trivial. Don't email it or submit it in a web page, the only right way to do it is physically show up and write it down on a form. Having it float around in some third-party server is what's dangerous. – Meredith Poor Sep 25 '13 at 3:40
  • @MeredithPoor - Thanks for the tip. Btw, can the firm deny you employment only because you refuse to fill it in an online form, even when you are open to sending hard forms ? What about sending the info in a scanned document ? That should not be a problem. Thanks. – Borat Sagdiyev Jun 12 '14 at 21:33
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Although I have never had to give out my drivers license #, it may be different in your state. Its perfectly normal to provide personal information for a background check prior to receiving a job offer. Drug tests proving you aren't an abuser are commonly performed before a final offer is made.

Even if you had a job offer and your background check returned something fishy, the offer can be revoked. Most offers are 'pending background check'. So if I were you, I'd go ahead and fill those forms out without having a written offer on hand.

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Anything is negotiable.

You can refuse to take a background check unless you are given a written offer (which you can make contingent on passing the background check by explicit or implied standards).

The worst they can say is 'no' and refuse to give you the job, at best they will accept the conditions. If you care more about the background check than you do about getting the job, then it seems like a win-win.

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I had many background checks done, but it may be different here in Canada. When I've had CRCs done here, I would fill out the forms, but because of Privacy laws, the forms go to the RCMP (Canadian Police). We go to the RCMP with our ID in hand, and give them the forms. On the forms is also the address and name of one individual in the company who the check goes back to, they verify you with your ID, and you're on your way!

When a record check came back for me (unrelated: for a volunteer organization), it is the same form, with no SIN (SSN is the alternative for Americans) or Drivers License number on it. It's the form with the name, address, phone number, date of birth, etc. and our initials on the checks we authorize the RCMP to do. Then on the right is a tick box for either 'No data found' or 'There may or may not be a record' for each category. If it's the former, great! If it's the latter, then you (the applicant) would need to go back to the RCMP and get a list of what 'may' have been found, and you decide yourself if you want the company to see it.

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