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A third-party recruiter reached out to me for a job at a tech company. After receiving my resume, the recruiter said that the company (which he named) has requested my photo ID.

The company seems to be fairly well-known, but I've never heard of this particular recruiter before. In either case I'm not comfortable e-mailing my photo ID, especially at this point.

What are the chances that a reputable company would really want my photo ID at this stage?

(The related question asked about references and IDs, and the comments mostly did not address IDs.)

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I would say this is not common and that I would be concerned about this being fraudulent in order to facilitate identity theft. Unless I had approached the recruiter and not the other way around, I would be carefully checking out the contact details and emails to make sure this wasn't fraud.

If it is a reputable recruiter that you approached, I would ask if it can be delayed until a later stage in the process -- while you will probably need to provide ID to the employer at some point, that point is not necessarily now.

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  • identity theft, or perhaps to try and determine your ethnicity or something more unsavoury – Kilisi Nov 26 '15 at 21:39
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I've heard some people argue that providing a copy of your ID is in order to help them with their background checks. I don't swallow this, however. (the following reasoning is based simply on my own opinion, I have no sources to back this up)

Copy of your ID

In Canada, for example, it's illegal to discriminate against a possible candidate based on age, race, skin color, gender, religion, etc. Sometimes you can tell "who you're dealing with" simply by looking at the name on the resume - but that's tricky in such a multicultural society as Canada - and the US - have become.

So instead, they may ask you for a copy of your ID to "help with the background check". It has your picture, birthday, etc. ... personally I think that's information which could be used to discriminate against you without your knowledge.

I would flat out refuse:

I'm sorry, but I have never provided an employer with a copy of my personal ID, and I'm not about to do so now. I have had companies conduct background checks without this information, and I see no reason why it would be needed in this case either.

(If he pushes you simply state that's it's a matter of personal privacy, and it's non-negotiable)

Note: you risk being rejected by the recruiter for refusing.

References

You've already read up on how recruiters will sometimes use your references to try and expand their list of contacts. I would refuse to provide those until you've touched base with someone from the company and know for a fact that you're a contender for the position.

Good luck!

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  • 1
    The only reasonable requirement for photo (outside of acting etc) would be if you where going for a job requiring security clearance, – Pepone Nov 26 '15 at 19:54
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What are the chances that a reputable company would really want my photo ID at this stage?

Pretty small. I've never been asked for a photo ID by a recruiter. Unless your a model or actor, I cannot think of a reason any recruiter would ever need a photo ID.

If you are interested in working with the company, ask why they need a photo ID. If they don't give you a reasonable answers, then go your separate ways.

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This sounds remarkably dodgy to me. I have had to give photo ID before to a recruiter, but it was for a security-restricted role and I had met the (reputable) recruiter in their inner city offices. You don't state if you've met the recruiter in person in their offices, but I would be cautious of giving over this information if you doubt the legitimacy of the recruiter.

What I would suggest is:

  • Ask the recruiter for the contact name and email address (an internal company email address for the person who has requested the ID.
  • Ring the company on their public line, and ask to speak to the person. If they say they don't work there, then you have your first red flag.
  • If you can talk to the person, ask about the request your received from the recruiter. Verify they asked for it.
  • If this person has verified that yes, they asked for it, you can email it directly to them.
  • Notify the recruiter you have passed on the required information.

If the recruiter refuses to give this information, then I would be very, very cautious about proceeding.

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