Could You Be On Employers' Do-Not-Hire List?

HR blacklist hiringIn this tough labor market, it's challenging enough to get a job, even with the right experience and a spotless employment record. So what happens if you left a company on bad terms? Or you got caught in a white lie during an interview? Could that land you on a company's no-hire list or "blacklist"?

According to Fred Cooper, managing partner at Compass HR Consulting, "in the case of labor relations law, it is unfair labor practice to discriminate against -- blacklist -- employees who encourage or discourage acts of support for a labor organization, and one does not want the Department of Labor investigating an allegation of an unfair labor practice."

But that doesn't mean recruitment firms or companies don't have some form of a do-not-hire list. "Most employers maintain records of employees that are not eligible for re-hire," says John Millikin, clinical professor of management at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business and former vice president of human resources at Motorola. "This is usually because they have been terminated for cause. These would be difficult to appeal unless there were new facts that were not evident at the time the adverse action was taken."

What could land you on the list.

Cooper says there are a variety of infringements that could land someone on an informal no-hire list, including:

  • Former employees leaving under less than acceptable circumstances.
  • Job seekers who have applied numerous times to the same company, but for different jobs and using resumes that tell conflicting stories about their skills, abilities, education, etc.
  • Candidates who were interviewed previously and failed background or reference checks.
  • Applicants who gave such poor interviews that the time spent was considered a waste of time.

Word-of-mouth can wound.

Judi Perkins, career coach and founder of Find the Perfect Job, says that it's also possible to get on a no-hire list of a company you haven't worked at or applied to. "Underground references as I call them -- off-the-record ones -- can be equally damaging," Perkins says. "People who know each other through professional associations, relationships between a company and a vendor, and small industries where everyone knows each other can be instrumental in [causing] further damage to a candidate. For instance, Candidate A may have interviewed at Company A and been 'blacklisted.' Thanks to word of mouth, they're now 'blacklisted' at Companies B, C, D and E as well."

Can you repair the damage?

"With the current state of the economy and the number of potential applicants for each vacancy, unless it is a 'low inventory/high demand' type of job needing to be filled, and a former employee has the experience, education, training and skills needed, employers can be quite selective in deciding who to interview, and ultimately, who gets a company ID badge," Cooper notes.

Yet Cooper says there are some circumstances when you can get a second chance. "If the former or prospective new employee has turned their life around, learned from their mistakes, has matured and can somehow demonstrate that a virtually 'new person' is now asking for another chance, perhaps that second chance will be given.... The former employee can demonstrate they are not today the same person that left under less-than-favorable circumstances 'yesterday.' "

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When I was 17 I ended up on Gap, Inc's (Old Navy) blacklist, which I know for a fact is passed around to tons of other companies. I come into work one day and one of my bosses says I'm going to get fired if I don't give him a bj. I wouldn't do it so 2 days later I get fired. I have no idea what kind of notes he put beside my name but whatever he put has made me un-freaking-touchable on the open market. I might as well be a convicted felon. I know that Gap, Inc. list is whats hanging over my head because sometimes for my own amusement I'll apply to crap minimum wage jobs at places who will take anyone, like WalMart or Target. In 15 years I have NEVER gotten a single call back from those places after the interview. When I was in my early 20's I was very nearly driven to financial ruin because of this. Thank god I found some little mom & pop accounting firm who either didn't see the list or took a chance on me, or both.

Like I said, this has been a recurring nightmare for the last 15 years. All this because I wouldn't give my boss a bj while I was working some bs minimum wage job when I was 17.

December 20 2015 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Blacklisting should be a crime, except for those who have committed crimes themselves.

January 26 2014 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan Nunes

Disclosing "do not rehire" designations to other employers is blacklisting, and it needs to be outlawed unless that prospective employee has committed a criminal act. This is especially troubling in education, where school districts can make it virtually impossible for terminated teachers to ever work again, most of whom never did anything warranting termination in the first place.

September 08 2013 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C Valentine Mitchell

It's that darn place i worked for more then a decade ago...they keep sending paychecks and calling, Wondering why the heck i am not attending any of their stockholders meetings."

April 01 2012 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

anyone who doesn't get hired is on the do not hire list. Do we really have to explain that you gave such a bad interview ?

April 01 2012 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to f4180's comment

provided you got THAT far.

April 01 2012 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When will people start blacklisting employers? It works both ways.

April 01 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

If you work PT and the company moves that position to full time and add's a extra job they can either
offer you the job or fire you and hire someone else and pay them less.
Believe it or not you can be a excellent worker receive high marks during an evaluation no sick days
and still be terminated because the company wants to cut back to minimum wages for new hire.
Nothing can be done about if it's not a Union shop.Your history.

April 01 2012 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What employers value most in an employee: Desperation. In other words, they say it's a positive thing if you have kids, or a mortgage, or that you need to go back to school. The more debt and dependents you have, the more crap you will put up with from the job.

I've learned that taking few vacation/sick days, improving my education, coming in on time/staying late, and taking on extra responsibilities make no difference. It's either about ******* up and/or knowing the "right" people, and it's disgusting.

April 01 2012 at 2:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to downywoodp's comment

Nonsense, what they value most is skill and a work ethic. None of the things describe in the scond paragraph matter if you do crappy work.

April 01 2012 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

and you are right

April 01 2012 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Remmers

Let me ask something here in hopes I can get an answer. Over three years ago, I was laid off from my job at a small plastics manufacturing plant nearby. Initially, I was told it was due to lack of work.
However, a few months later when I went in to keep in touch with them to see if they may want to bring me back, I asked the owner if there were any other reasons why I was laid off. He told me he had gotten some bad reports about me. One was that I had made mistakes on the jeep handles I made for the Army's Humvees, the other was a sexual harrassment charge. I explained what happened with the handles, that it was the fault of the fellow who I taught to make them during my breaks & lunch and not me. The owner accepted that explanation. As for the harrassment charge, I explained to the owner the whole story, which he had not heard. Only about a third of it, and acted as if he'd never heard what I told him. He accepted my explanation for this too and then told me he'd be willing to bring me back the following week but we'd better talk to the supervisor first. He first had me retell what happened with the harrassment charge and this was the first he'd heard of this and that I'd best come back that Friday so he'd know better if I could. When I did, he told me that he talked to the girl I was charged with harrassing and she confirmed everything I'd told him including the fact that I'd apologized to her. Which I did. Not only had he not heard anything about the bogus harrassment, but he'd only heard about the bogus mistakes I'd made on the jeep handles three days before I had. Three months after I'd been laid off. It turns out that the girl I was accused of harrassing did NOT turn me in but another girl who only had about 1/4 of the story. I was not called to the office to refite these charges and neither was she. The owner went strictly on 2nd hand information. Since then, I have been unable to get but one interview in over three years for a job. I've applied everywhere including a fitness center looking for an assistant manager even with over 35 years in the industry, I couldn't even get a call back. Nevermind an interview. Now, if this isn't being blackballed, what is this because I'm certainly NOT applying for jobs that are out of my reach.

April 01 2012 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to David Remmers's comment

david , way too much info , you'll never get hired that way

April 01 2012 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to f4180's comment

What do you know about this subject? BTW, black-balling is a federal offense, the difficult thing is proving it. If, however, you do have credible information, find an employment attorney and sue the company. I've seen this accomplished numerous times with the offending black-listing employee fired and fined.

March 28 2015 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Well, you can always go to work at McDonald's or other restaurant as a grill cook or dishwasher.

January 26 2014 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C Valentine Mitchell

When they bring you on as a new hire, they always welcome you and say nice things like your a member of our large family now," However when they really don't need you any more, It's always... What ever happened to that were one big happy family thing ??? Got my answer... Or so I WAS TOLD...{{{Don't you know... We are one big happy family HERE and we SCREWED YOU SON.}}}

April 01 2012 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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