In a perfect world, U.S. criminal records would be solely based on an applicant’s Social Security Number or SSN. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? My life and the lives of my colleagues in the employment screening industry would be much less stressful. But, alas, that is not the case. The primary identifiers for criminal records in the United States are the name and Date of Birth, not the SSN.
So, what should you do when you have an applicant with an AKA (i.e., another surname)? What you need to do is to duplicate the criminal searches for this additional surname.
For example, suppose your applicant’s name is Jane Doe, and she indicates on her hiring documents that she was Also Known As Jane Public. In that case, you should check Jane Doe and Jane Public for all the jurisdictions developed by the SSN Trace, employment application, and résumé.
Remember, the primary identifiers for criminal records in the United States are the name and Date of Birth. So, if you only checked Jane Doe, you would miss any criminal records associated with Jane Public. Thus, leaving a gaping hole in your background check process and employment screening program. Yes, there is an additional cost to do this because an AKA is considered a separate search, but the legal risk of not checking an AKA far exceeds the cost of adding more searches.
If you want to discuss your current employment screening program or have any additional questions about this topic, please get in touch with me. We’re always here to help.
Dr. Patrick K. Collard is the Managing Member & Evidence-based HR Consultant for trustHR | GObackgrounds (San Diego, CA and Brookfield, WI). He has over 30 years of experience as a human resources consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and a Master of Human Resources and Employment Relations with a concentration in Employment and Labor Law from Penn State University. Dr. Collard earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland Global Campus. He defended his dissertation – Recruiting the Untapped Talent Pool of Hiring an Employee with a Criminal Record: A Systematic Review. Schedule a Discovery Call with Dr. Collard at – https://calendly.com/patrickcollard/discovery-call