Yes, You Can Get Blacklisted At A Company – For No Good Reason

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flickr: striatic

The Wall Street Journal brings us a sad, sad job hunt story, one of vindictive recruiters and hiring managers and pretty much arbitrary decisions.

Essentially, you could be denied a job or an interview or a referral because you once made a stupid joke or because you annoyed a recruiter.

Sure, people who make totally boneheaded moves in their job search might conclude that they’re not going to get far applying at the same companies: the WSJ cites an entry-level candidate who forgot about her phone interview, then tried to do it while driving, “forgot” her questions about the company she was working with, and was also, apparently, a terrible driver, since she kept honking at people. (We’d love to hear this young woman’s side of the story, by the way! So if you’re reading this, speak up!)

But then there’s the guy who was turned down for a teaching position because he criticized the curriculum; the guy who got turned down for a job after he made a dumb joke about a drug test (“Just make sure to give me six days’ notice!”), and the guy who took a counteroffer. These seemingly minor infractions can leave you with a black spot on your resume that’s pretty hard to wipe off.

The worst story: A recruiter and HR person were chatting at a networking event; the recruiter pointed out a programmer on the other side of the room and said that he was “very bad in his presentation skills.” That secondhand comment was enough to get the HR person to blacklist the programmer.

It’s tough enough out there already without this kind of thing going on…sigh.