Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Tips for Avoiding Recruiter’s Blacklists

Guest article from Matthew Warzel

There are reasons why recruiters or hiring managers do not call back some job seekers: blacklists! In today’s tough job market, desperate job seekers are pursuing what little jobs are available. Hiring managers have plenty of applicants to choose from, so they are justifiably selective and quick to record any negatives they discover.

If you are blacklisted, recruiters do not submit you to jobs today, even years from now. Even if you are not on an actual “list”, recruiters do remember if you left a bad impression. They also pass the word along to fellow recruiters, and they remember bad candidates even if they change companies.

Do’s and Don’ts
Recruiters never want to hire any of the 3 L’s: liars, losers and loners. Prove that you are none of those by following these tips:

•DO NOT lie about or exaggerate your experience. Outright lying about experience or skills that you do not have guarantees you a spot on the blacklist.

•DO NOT pit fellow recruiters against each other. Contrary to what you might think, it does not increase your chances of getting a job. You can work with more than one recruiter, but not ones at the same company, unless they are at different office locations (e.g., MJW Careers Wilmington and MJW Careers Raleigh).

•DO NOT mass distribute your resume. Applying to too many jobs with the same recruiter or company makes you look unfocused and creates unnecessary work for them. Make every job application a meaningful one.

•DO remain courteous and professional, even if your recruiter is not. They are dealing with tons of applicants, so do not take unreturned phone calls or missed interviews personally. Do not attack your recruiter for this behavior; it only leaves a bad impression of you.

•DO always be interview-ready. Every conversation with a recruiter is an interview, even a casual chat at a networking event. Always be discussing your qualifications. What you may consider harmless joking, might rub your recruiter the wrong way.

•DO clean up your online presence. Recruiters check LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc. Even if it is old, if it is inappropriate, get rid of it.

•DO communicate what job you are looking for. Having a good relationship with recruiters does not mean you have to accept every job they present. If you are not interested, say so; it saves everyone time.

•DO build relationships with recruiters. Always keep your job options open, whether you are employed or not. This means keeping in touch recruiters at all times.

More Turnoffs
•Forgetting or missing scheduled interviews
•Making a faux pas during an interview
•Handling rejection badly
•Rejecting an opportunity after extensive efforts by a recruiter to arrange it for you
•Taking a counteroffer from another company
•Demonstrating poor business skills
•Publicly criticizing other people or companies
•Failing a background check (in which you cannot re-apply for a certain time period)

Removing Your Name from a “Do Not Hire” List
Negative notations beside your name can seriously derail your job search. Unfortunately, it is also very hard to discover or remove a bad mark. With so many candidates today, recruiters and hiring managers are even less forgiving. Getting back on their good side requires some extra effort.

Finding Out
•Speak to key internal contacts and colleagues
•Ask a reference-checking service to find out if a previous boss made unfair remarks about you

Correcting the Situation
•Demonstrate your true reliability and professionalism
•Offer detailed information about candidates for a different job opening and conduct extra reference checks as a courtesy
•Treat them to lunch or coffee
•Request honest feedback about becoming a stronger candidate next time
•Review a background check used to reject you and remove inaccurate records
•Consider switching industries or locations

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Jim on January 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Can you explain where and how to find a reference checking service? I did not know they existed.

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