I have a profile on LinkedIn, and quite often get contacted by recruiters enquiring whether I'd be interested in a position that they're currently recruiting for. The recruiters usually all ask the same questions: current position, reason for leaving, salary information, etc.

I recently had a recruiter call me about a role and after going through the usual questions, she then asked for my National Insurance number in order to be able to put my application forward. This immediately rang alarm bells for me, as I've never had a recruiter ask for this before, and it's obviously 'sensitive' information, and not something I want to give out over the phone to just anyone.

Am I just being paranoid here or is it normal for companies/recruiters to ask you for your National Insurance number as part of the application?

The National Insurance number is the British counterpart to the US's Social Security number and is also known as NI No or NINO.


I decided to try getting in touch with the client directly- sent them an email enquiring about this, and someone from their HR department got back to me to say that they had engaged this recruitment agency to recruit for the role. After explaining my concerns about handing out personal information prior to an interview, they said that they would instruct the recruitment agency to process my application without my NI No, but that I would be required to present it along with my passport at interview- which I am more than happy to do.

  • 3
    Related question for the US' counterpart to the NI No: This Recruiter wants my Social Security Number? (not a duplicate).
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 10:50
  • @OP: I've made an aggressive edit to cut the unrelated information from your post and focus it down to your central question.
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 10:51
  • 1
    The first paragraph of your edit is not correct- I am not applying for these positions myself, this is when recruiters get in touch with me, having found my CV online or looked at my LinkedIn profile... I have changed it back to what it was originally. Oct 28, 2015 at 15:59
  • True, but that's probably not really relevant to the question. I'd encourage you to generalise the question to "when talking with recruiters".
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 16:05
  • 2
    Generally, when applying for jobs myself, I am pretty confident that the website I'm using to apply is the genuine website for the company, so I have no problem entering in any of my details into that website, as I know my information will be kept confidential. This also includes sensitive information (I currently work for a military organisation, so appreciate that my NI number would be required when applying for a position with my company). The issue I have here, is not so much the application process, but being wary of people potentially claiming to be recruiters... Oct 28, 2015 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


I would not supply this to the recruiter, as it is unnecessary information as well as sensitive.

Recently I applied for a job with the NHS through their very formal application process. Even they said that providing my NI number at the application stage was optional, and that by including it the application would be slightly shorter.

  • I queried her about that, as I felt it was unnecessary information- but she said that it was a 'required' field on the application form she was filling out for me... I could understand the necessity for it if the application was for a position in particular government departments, or for the military, etc, but this position is with a 'normal' holiday/ travel company... Oct 28, 2015 at 11:54
  • 3
    It may be normal for that company, if they have a silly procedure that collects NI numbers early - perhaps to speed up new joining, or to prevent recruiters giving fake applications - but it's not normal. One time I've heard of this being used was where a (very) dodgy recruiter would put in fake applications from real people using other agencies, in order that any real application from that person would be automatically rejected as a duplicate. I wouldn't be handing my NI number out, however.
    – Jon Story
    Oct 29, 2015 at 16:28
  • And there are strict rules on misusing NI numbers - certainly in BT we where read the riot act about misuse of NI numbers gross misconduct was mentioned
    – Pepone
    Nov 1, 2015 at 23:14

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