Should you, the candidate, be forced to surrender your identity to be submitted for a job?

Jim Harris, a Linkedin member and Senior Systems Architect for Texas MutualInsurance Company, posed a question in a post.  It reads…

“Attention RECRUITERS and SECURITY PROFESSIONALS: Is this a new type scam? On your resume is your ‘formal’ name and address. You get a call, they send you a job description. A few days later they say you are a good fit, they need your date of birth and last four of your SSN. What recruiter needs your DOB and SSN? He said it was to create a unique ID. I gave him false information.”

The thread contained a lot of opinions from recruiters and security professionals regarding whether or not any candidate should give a recruiter any personal identifiable information (known as PII) but no discourse on why.  So…  Here’s the why.

In the beginning days of VMS (vendor management systems), the tools like Fieldglass, IQNavigator, Beeline, etc. were used as a portal for vendors to submit candidates so that they client could manage a workflow, ensure compliance and control cost through a centralized system.  As VMS managed servie providers worked to systematically commoditize the work that recruiters do by creating policies first submittal, 3-day submittal requirements, and reverse auctions, they also created a challenge for themselves.  They were being flooded with hundreds of candidates for each role that had not been screened for the role in any significant way if at all.

Eventually, with the advent of offshore recruiting focused on servicing VMS tools, candidates were being sourced by candidates in other countries from job boards like Monster, Dice and Careerbuilder and submitted into these tools without their knowledge.  To combat this trend, the managed service providers that were managing VMS systems decided to demand the inclusion of a UNIQUE ID.  This is, in general, some combination of a part of the candidates’ SSN and DOB or other PII that is solely attributed to the candidate.

Sadly, the UNIQUE ID is so much less about identifying the candidate and so much more about making the agency submitting the candidate adhere to a certain set of guidelines.  It is nothing more than a way for VMS MSPs to ensure that the vendor you are dealing with has your authorization to submit you.  Worse, the attempt to resolve an issue has created many more…

  1. Any recruiter will eventually figure out that false information will, if they were so inclined to provide unscreened candidates before, work as a substitute for real information and allow them to go back to doing exactly that. Very few MSPs use the UNIQUE ID as a validation tool in any real way.
  2. Once the recruiters have your PII, they always have it. Even if they don’t store it in their ATS, they have put it into at least one of the multitude of systems they have.
  3. Someone with even a rudimentary understanding of Boolean logic can find the rest of your information online in about 3 minutes.
  4. Really great candidates that are smart enough to withhold PII are never submitted and the clients that need their expertise, never get to see a candidate that just might be the best possible candidate for their need. Everyone that actually matters in the process, i.e. managers and candidates, LOSES.

FIGHT BACK…  First, agency recruiting, if done correctly, is a business built on trust.  Our ability to do business with our candidates and clients is based on loyalty, integrity, and respect.  Don’t give any of your PII to ANYONE that you don’t trust.  Second, know who you are talking to.  With the proliferation of VoIP, anyone can call you from anywhere in the world and “recruit” you for a role.  Third, build a relationship with 3 or 4 recruiters.  Once you find a recruiter that you can trust and get to know, work exclusively with them in partnership to drive the development of your career.  Finally, if all else fails and you are really interested in the opportunity, ask a few simple questions:

  1. Do you or your account manager have a relationship directly with the manager? If “YES”, proceed to question 2.  If “NO”, say thank you but no thank you and politely end the call.
  2. Can you get an interview set for me directly with the hiring manager? If “YES”, proceed to question 3.  If “NO”, say thank you but no thank you and politely end the call.
  3. I will be more than happy to give you exclusive authorization to submit me AND I will provide you with whatever information you need to submit me AFTER you confirm an interview directly with the hiring manager. Are you willing to submit me directly to him/her based on these conditions?  If “YES”, proceed as agreed.  If “NO”, say thank you but no thank you and politely end the call.
  4. Immediately pick up the phone and dial the number of one of your trusted recruiter partners and ask them if they can get you an interview for the role. Keep making those calls until one of them can get you in front of the manager.

Above all else, do not under any circumstance give your social security number or date of birth (in part or in whole) to anyone just so that they can submit you to a job.  If you do, you might as just toss your identity into a black hole.


PatriotHRS is a Texas Veteran owned and operated human resource services and staffing partner providing our clients with not only best in class HRBPO services but also contract, contract to hire and permanent staffing.  With more than 16 years of experience and our devotion to providing the highest quality human resource and staffing services available in the market, our leadership has been entrusted with exclusively managing business critical human capital needs for some of the most respected organizations throughout the nation.  Our team provides superlative value to these companies, whether large or small, via a single consultant, a team of consultants or a project base service, all while maintaining the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

PatriotHRS’ passionate pursuit of excellence is matched only by our unyielding dedication to the success of our candidates and clients, their projects, their initiatives and their organization.

PatriotHRS delivers every role, project and service and in a manner consistent with our core values of Loyalty, Diligence, Respect, Service, Honor, Integrity and Passion.  PatriotHRS Values LDRSHIP.



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