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FAQ: How can I make sure to stay compliant with background check laws if I have an alias or alternate name?

We here at JD Palatine want you to feel informed about the hiring process.  To help you better understand background checks, we are answering your Frequently Asked Questions about the employment screening process so you can know what to expect.  Today’s question is:

How can I make sure to stay compliant with background check laws if I have an alias or alternate name?

There are many reasons why the name you use daily and your legal name might not match up: You may have changed your name after getting married or after a divorce.  You may use a “stage name” or “pen name” if you are in the arts, or just prefer to use a different professional name from you legal name.

Many people simply have a nickname that they use around the office, but this may cause confusion when it becomes time for a reference check.  Your legal name might be “William” but your former co-worker might know you only as “Billy.”  Don’t miss out on a good reference because of name confusion!

Here’s what you need to do to make sure your background check is as accurate as possible:

1.  Provide you employer with your legal name, Social Security Number and date of birth.

2.  Provide your employer with you maiden name or past married names and the date on which you legally changed it.

3.  Provide your employer with any aliases, stage/pen names, or nicknames that might have been used at previous places of employment.

Giving this information allows your employer to double check any information found on you while making sure nothing is omitted from your record.  By being upfront about any alternative names you have used, you show an act of good faith to potential employer and demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.  A reputable screening service will the check these pieces of information against two or more pieces of signature information (such as your Social Security Number or date of birth) to make sure your report is as accurate as possible.

Do you have a question about the employment screening process that you would like us to answer?  Leave your question in the comments below or reach out to us via Facebook or Twitter.  We want to know what your questions are!.

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