Are You On A Recruiter’s Blacklist?


As a recruiter most of my day is spent screening resumes and conducting interviews. I conduct at least 3 interviews per day and talk to a lot of people who are desperate to find a job.

In today’s job market hiring managers and recruiters have an abundance of applicants to choose from. This means recruiters are being very picky and are not wasting their time with bad candidates.

Don’t Piss Off Your Recruiter

Recruiters work very hard marketing candidates, setting up interviews and getting job offers. The last thing you want to do is piss off your recruiter and land on their blacklist.

Ok, there really isn’t an official ‘list’ but most recruiters do remember bad candidates. Not only do we remember bad candidates but we also warn other recruiters.

Here are 8 ways to stay off the ‘Do Not Hire’ list:

  • Don’t be hard to get a hold of. If you’re looking for a new job then be ready to answer your phone or get back to a recruiter within the hour. Recruiters have no patience for phone tag and will gladly call another candidate.
  • Don’t lie about your experience. Recruiters market/vouch for you based on the information you provide us. If we find out that you exaggerated or lied about your experience you will definitely find yourself on the blacklist.
  • Don’t fill up a recruiters inbox or voicemail. Staying in touch is important but emailing or phoning them every other day for an update is very annoying.
  • Always be professional and respectful. Recruiters have to deal with a lot of applicants plus hiring managers. Not returning your call right away is no reason to attack or be rude to a recruiter, unless of course you never want to hear from them again.
  • Communicate and be honest. If a recruiter presents you with a job that you are not that interested in then say so. Don’t waste the recruiters time by saying that you’re open to relocating or that you would only need two weeks notice before starting a new job when you actually want a month off and are not really interested in moving.
  • Prepare for interviews. Recruiters work hard to get you infront of the hiring manager. We don’t want to hear that you weren’t prepared and didn’t take the interview seriously.
  • Rejecting a job offer. If you reject an offer after the recruiter went above and beyond to get you that interview/offer than don’t be shocked to see yourself on the blacklist.
  • Handling rejection. If you take rejection badly then recruiters will think twice before they submit or even consider you for another role.

Other things that annoy recruiters:

  • Not learning from your mistakes. Not all interviews go perfectly but that’s why it’s important to review each interview that you go on so you don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.
  • Not remembering where you applied or interviewed. Recruiters want to work with candidates that are focused in their job search and not just applying to every job posting out there.
  • Being Desperate. We know that you need a job really badly but applying to jobs that you’re not qualified for doesn’t make any sense. Read the job descriptions and make sure you at least meet the minimum requirements.

At the End of the Day

It’s your job search and you need to take it seriously. If you want the best chance of getting a job then always be professional and courteous.

Photo by: Steve Snodgrass

Do you have a great resume? Find out by getting a resume critique from a professional recruiter. Check out the services page for more information.

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10 thoughts on “Are You On A Recruiter’s Blacklist?

  1. Unknown
    October 21, 2012 at 1:50 am

    This is one of the best coaching advices that I’ve ever read. The insight s from a recruiter are downright helpful. Thank you for the tips.

  2. Shane
    November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    This is useful but also interesting – I’m currently looking for a job and if I EVER found out a recruiter had blacklisted me or if they don’t come back to me when I expect them to then when I do get a job I WILL blacklist them, but that’s because I work in HR.

  3. Matt
    December 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Recruiters are a mixed bag. I have run across some really nice ones and just awful ones. The awful ones unfortunately just make the position of a job recruiter completely useless. Overall, I know of so many hiring managers who were really disappointed to know that really good applicants were let go because a recruiter decides not to forward their resume. i would suggest that hiring managers get more involved in looking at applicants who apply if they are able to. Some of the best people to hire are the unemployed because they have more drive. Some recruiters get that, others discriminate. I can think of one organization for example, they hire candidates who are way overqualified and a year later (if even that) they are posting for the same job. True, it’s a buyer’s market. I’ve met a lot of recruiters who are these click-ish high school PR girls who just bring in their friends. Companies invest in recruiters to save them money to avoid turnover cost among other things. They often give a company a really bad reputation. Ultimately, I think many recruiters (most are nasty ones) backfire and cause problems. The good ones never get real credit while the bad ones do.

  4. December 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. I agree that good recruiters don’t get the credit they deserve sometimes but hiring managers play a major role in the recruitment process. At the end of the day it’s the hiring managers decision to hire the person or not. I can see some recruiters trying to bring in their friends into roles but as we all know referring a friend is not always a great idea and I think of all people recruiters really know that and again the hiring manager hires them and not the recruiter. I really believe hiring managers need to trust and work with the recruiter to find the perfect candidate. If they do not show interest in the selection process or interview than they shouldn’t blame the recruiter if they don’t like who they hired. Like in any profession you get a mixed bag.

  5. Tina
    July 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Have to agree with Matt. I found myself in a precarious position when a recruiter I had signed on with in my medical profession turned around and sold my contract to another recruitment firm without my permission while changing key points to my contract. (especially the one indicating that I had the option to go direct hire at the end of my contract if all parties were in agreement. They also failed to pay my relocation expenses and other various expenses agreed to in the original contract. I ended up going direct hire but not before some heated exchange and being harrassed by the recruitment firm that bought my contract from the original recruiter. I am now back in the job market using a recruiter with fears that I am blacklisted. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

  6. July 16, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Hi Tina,
    Not all recruitment firms are the same. Don’t let this experience effect your future relationships with recruitment firms. At the end of the day you have no choice but to trust the recruiter. Remember they want you to succeed so they get paid. Stay positive and confident. Hope this helps and thanks for leaving a comment.

  7. Rutegar
    August 25, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for admitting Blacklists DO exist and recruiters DO conspire with one another to keep candidates out of work. It isn’t a game and it’s playing with people’s lives.

    Of course the practise is outrageous and god knows how many relationship breakups and suicides it has led to, but at least candidates can know that are NOT PARANOID and they ARE being victimised.

    In fact, I believe there should be a widespread campaign promoting the existence of blacklists and what to do about them for people’s mental health and wellbeing.

  8. NetScanr
    January 10, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Recruiters are nothing but business pimps. They sell people for jobs just like a regular pimp sells a hooker. I was lined-up for a great Director of IT position for $120k. Here I am 7 weeks later still waiting for an offer. The CTO has said numerous times “You are my candidate.”. Why isn’t the pimp, er, up Recruiter doing anything? I ripped my pimp a new one last night. I’m not worried, because if the hiring-manager calls asking for me, that pimp will be sitting in MY lap. If I lose the job over it who cares? Who wants to work for a company that took 7 weeks to make an offer, when a 2nd candidate showed-up last minute?

  9. Steve
    November 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Recruiter black list?
    It is very very difficult to find a professional mature recruiter these days.
    I am dealing with very junior people, who ask scripted questions all via email.
    Don’t tell me how busy you are because that means nothing and it’s all rubbish.
    If you’re too busy then hire someone and change how you’re working because you all have terrible reputations.
    You are making money only because of demand to use recruitment agencies and for no other reasons.
    You’re a dime a dozen
    I’ve decided to bypass recruiters and contact companies directly. At least I know I will be dealing with people who behave professionally and mature!

  10. January 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    It takes two to tango and I don’t believe its fair to hear only one side of the story. The blacklisting of individuals is immoral and certainly based on personal feelings in the heat of the moment on behalf of recruiters. I am sure mistakes are made on both sides and the blacklisting should be illegal because it represent only one side of the coin. This issue will resolve in itself in the IT area because of the abolishment of the foreign work visa program which will shrink the pool of applicants.

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