strategic HR inc. Wheel of HR Services highlighting the Recruitment wedge.

Checking Applicants Against Terror List


Are employers required to check applicants against a terrorist list prior to hiring them?


Not necessarily, and it depends on the industry in which you work.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) publishes a list of names called the “Specially Designated Nationals List” (SDN) that contains lists of names of people and/or companies whose assets are blocked by the US National Government and it is “generally prohibited from dealing with them.” This list is over 500 pages long and contains several common names (depending on the nationality and origin of the person/company) with very few details that would allow a hiring manager to discern between them (i.e. specific address, date of birth, etc.). Visit the US Department of Treasury Resource Center for links to this information.

So, what is your alternative? A good second option would be to conduct a background check and use a third-party vendor who offers to check names and information against this established list. By doing this, it takes the guess-work out of your hands and leaves the verification to someone else who is familiar with this type of work.

However, as stated above, while it isn’t necessarily a requirement to check applicants against this list, and the chances of encountering an individual or company who is on that list is generally low, it definitely depends on what industry you work in. If, for example, you work as a hiring manager for the US Government in the National Security Department, then, YES…check the list. If you work for any national security agency or business where you are dealing with the US Government, it would be wise to review the list or at least employ a company whose background check capabilities can reliably do it for you.

Strategic HR, inc. provides a variety of resources to help you find the help you need. We offer outsourced recruiting, on-site contract assistance or contingency placement as a few of our options. We can create a plan that’s custom fit for your specific recruitment needs. Please visit our Recruitment page for more information.