Database searches: why you need a social security number

Database searches is one of the most common types of background screening for organizations. Many people choose this option since it’s relatively fast and simple. You can complete a form and have a database search conducted based on the information they provided in the application. The database search usually checks sex offender registries and criminal databases. Credible and accredited screening vendors will check state and most importantly county level criminal databases based on the address history provided by your applicants. An incomplete, or inaccurate residential history could lead to an incomplete screening.  

With the absence of any fingerprint-based searches, database searches are normally conducted based on the applicant’s social security number as the unique identifier. This leads to an often-uncomfortable topic for organizations, but you need to know, that if your organization has volunteers who do not have a social security number based on their immigration status, your organization may have challenges in effectively running an accurate background check.  

If your organization allows background screening to be done without a social security number, the database check will be solely based on a name check. This means it will likely be virtually useless, especially for applicants with common names. And if you choose to run an international background check, if even available, have low expectations as other countries do not have the same level of records found in the U.S. 

Did you know that Compass training provides integrated background screening? Learn more here.