Recently I looked at the online job application for Barnes & Noble (a US bookstore chain) and they asked for a list of your residence history:

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It was not a required field, but this seemed like a very odd thing for me to ask, as the locations I have lived seem like they would have nothing to do with whether or not I would be a good worker.

So why would a job application ask for residence history?

  • 11
    I don't know for sure but I'd guess it's information they need so they can conduct a background / credit check.
    – SpaceDog
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


Its because, during the background check process, some companies will go through the criminal records and court cases against the combination of your name and address. If they find a match or a close match, they will come back to you.

This is important, reason being that, if a company processes your VISA for any other country, they need to be sure that you don't have any criminal records at any places.

  • Since the field is optional in this case, does that mean they have other ways of finding this information? Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 23:53
  • Sometimes companies will make assumptions about why you didn't fill in optional fields that they consider "harmless"...
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 3:00
  • Correct, this is why come companies ask these questions, therefore people making software to track candidates include the questions. Often other companies use the same software and don't care, or even realize they are asking these questions.
    – user86764
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 0:51

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