The candidate blacklist and how to end up on it?

Bojana Perović

Career coach & Talent Acquisition Specialist

The candidate blacklist and how to end up on it?
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What will you do if, for instance, you receive food that isn't fresh in a restaurant, or you don't feel comfortable due to poor service from the staff?

It's natural that you won't want to repeat such an experience, and you won't go back to that restaurant again. In other words, you'll cross it off your list, or put it on your "blacklist."

Something similar happens during recruitment. Recruiters often witness unpleasant experiences with candidates, and they want to avoid these in the future for various reasons.

Today, we're talking about the infamous candidate blacklist, a secret list that recruiters guard like a closely held secret.

What is the candidate blacklist?

The blacklist is a list of candidates with whom the agency or company has had a negative experience in the past and does not recommend for further employment.

There are two main reasons why candidates end up on such lists:

  1. They make the recruiter look foolish in front of the client or boss because the recruiter did not assess them well and failed to foresee potential risks.  
  2. They waste other people's time needlessly and without any remorse. And time is precious for all of us today.

Since recruiters generally know each other or move in similar circles and online communities, it is very likely that they will recommend good candidates to one another, but also warn each other about the bad ones. 

How can you end up on the candidate blacklist most easily?

1. Be late for a job interview, or even better – don't show up at all!

If you are more than 5 minutes late for a job interview, you leave the recruiter waiting (which nobody likes, including you), and you also risk encroaching on the time slot of the candidate after you. 

Being late indicates that you do not manage your time well, employment is not a priority for you, you do not value other people's time, and you are not mature and/or professional enough. The blacklist is smiling at you...

Once, I even had a candidate who was late for a job interview scheduled for 11 AM, and he showed up almost in pajamas, sleep-deprived and visibly tired, with the excuse that he had a wild night out in the city...

If you see that you will be late for a job interview, immediately call the recruiter and inform them that, unfortunately, you won't be able to arrive on time and provide a valid reason ("my grandmother died" and similar lies should not be used, because if you start working, sooner or later you'll mention your grandmother...).

2. Slightly "embellish" your CV

Mnoge kompanije sprovode background check odnosno provjeru referenci. Da si u startu znao da će se ovakve provjere sprovoditi, da li bi lagao u svom CV-u? 

Know this: if you write that you worked at a certain company, and it turns out you didn't – blacklist! 

Blacklisted, mate!

Any small, seemingly harmless lie or exaggeration in your CV threatens to ruin your reputation. The employer will find out sooner or later (just like the thing about the grandmother), and you will be in an awkward situation.

3. Apply for the same job through two or more agencies.

A recruiter is paid by the employer only when they successfully mediate the hiring of a candidate, and when that candidate passes a certain probationary period (during which the recruiter guarantees for them, hence it is also called a guarantee period).

Try to put yourself in the recruiter's shoes.

They direct all their time and resources towards you and your employment, only to later find out that you applied for the same job through another recruiter at the same time. 

In Montenegro, we say, "Whoever reaches the girl first, gets the girl," meaning that the commission goes to the one who manages to place the candidate first. This means that the unfortunate recruiter has not only lost their time but also the money for which they had worked in advance. 

Why would they want to work with you again? Blacklisted!

I know you're thinking that you have every right to look for a job in multiple places, and that's totally fine, as long as you've informed your recruiter that you've already tried through another agency or directly with the employer.

4. Apply for all jobs, even if you're not qualified for them

Just forward your CV, without an introductory message or cover letter, and do this whenever you see that the recruiter has posted a job opening.

Congratulations – you’ve just left the impression of someone who doesn’t know what they want.



5. Sign a contract or job offer, then disappear!

If after a job interview you receive an offer that you know you don’t want to accept, it’s simple. 

Don’t accept it! 

As we’ve already said, politely thank them and decline the offer!

Now the employer is back to square one, having lost a lot of time and trust in you, and possibly in the recruiter’s abilities. 

A candidate who can’t keep their word and fulfill their obligations is someone who is indecisive and, at the end of the day – a person that neither the recruiter nor the employer wants to work with anymore. Blacklisted!!!

There are some other situations that can land you on this secret list:

  • You have a criminal record
  • You openly use drugs
  • You didn’t show up on your first day of work (don’t laugh, it happens!)
  • You call every single day to check your status, write to the recruiter outside of working hours and late at night (or more precisely – early morning!) and if they don’t respond quickly, you bombard them on all social networks

It is very likely that if you’ve ever done any of the above, your name is already shining on one of these lists. 

What if you are already on the blacklist?

You can try to rectify the situation. 

Apologize, ask for another chance, and demonstrate that you are a reliable and professional candidate. 

Request honest feedback on how to avoid the same pitfalls next time and show that you can be a better candidate in future interviews.

If you don’t know how to do this on your own, schedule a free consultation and we’ll see if our small team of experienced mentors can help you with it!


5 Easiest Ways to End Up on the Candidate Blacklist

Marko desperately wants to get a job at company XYZ. 

He decides to contact 2 recruitment agencies to get his CV to the employer as quickly as possible. 

Agency "A" sends Marko's CV to the employer first and gets credited for that candidate.

Agency "B" is upset because they had no idea Marko was using someone else's help, so they swear never to work with Marko again, who has been BLACKLISTED by this agency.

However, at the last moment, Marko decides to accept a counter-offer from his current employer and declines the offer from company XYZ. Agency "A" is now also upset because they failed to mediate the employment and came away empty-handed. This agency also decides to blacklist Marko.

Six months later, Marko decides to try again to get a job at XYZ, but he gets a cold shoulder. He never receives a response, let alone an interview invitation. Now Marko is writing to agencies "A" and "B" but again receives no response.

Marko is now in trouble because two leading agencies have rated him as unreliable and undesirable for collaboration. 

This is just one of the fastest ways to end up on the candidate blacklist; read about the other 4 in the blog // link in bio @minutadoposla 


What if You're Late for a Job Interview?

Once upon a time, a candidate was late for a job interview scheduled for 11 AM and showed up almost in pajamas, sleepy, and visibly tired.

"I just woke up," he said... "had a wild night out in the city..."

You guessed it – he didn't proceed further...

Look, if you're late for a job interview by more than 5 minutes, you leave the recruiter waiting, and nobody likes that, including you.

Moreover, you risk encroaching on the next candidate's slot. 

Is it really that hard to leave 10 minutes earlier?

Being late suggests you don't manage your time well, employment isn't a priority for you, you don't respect others' time, and you're not mature or professional enough. 

The blacklist awaits...

Quick Recovery: If you see you'll be late for a job interview, immediately call the recruiter and inform them that unfortunately, you won't be able to arrive on time, providing a genuine reason ("my grandma died" and similar lies should never be used because once you start working, sooner or later, you'll mention grandma...).

Bojana Perović

I am Bojana and together with the Minuta do posla team, I have been researching careers and writing a blog about it for 8 years.

I am a certified NLB consultant, which means that, if you choose me as your mentor, with the help of a simple questionnaire I can peek into your mind, discover how you process information, make important decisions and behave in the workplace.

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