Often, job applications ask you to list all names you’ve been known by, including your current name, any previous names, aliases, or nicknames. A name is always accompanied by a social security number. But, even if you apply for a position and you’re not asked to fill out a full job application, an employer can still get your name and social security number from a resume and, when doing a background check after an interview, a combination of a name, birth date, and social security number can help with locating past residences and looking up previous criminal records.
While asking someone for multiple names may seem odd, female job applicants, especially those over 30, may have been married or married multiple times. They may have been employed or renting an apartment under a maiden name or under a previous married name, if they took their spouse’s name at the time. Aside from female job applicants who have been married, some change their names – a job candidate who had a sex change operation would have gone by a previous name or someone in the Witness Protection Program may have changed his or her identity, for example – legally. In extreme cases, some candidates are known better by a nickname. When a background company is doing a thorough background check, they want to have all possible names to look up previous records.
Although a social security number is important, many public records for a particular town or county are indexed by name or a name with birth date. On a local level, this may make referencing someone’s criminal past or addresses easier but, when a person has gone by multiple names, this makes the task harder. Looking up a social security number will bring up all of this information but, even before a background check is done, the background check company should still have some framework regarding the past of a job candidate in regards to his or her identity.