Can IT Consultants Be Blacklisted by a Staffing Firm?

Questions abound whether IT consultants can be blacklisted by a staffing firm. Is it true or just another vicious Internet rumor?

There’s no doubt that staffing firms can terminate IT consultants for breaking the rules or put your name on a “do not hire” list, especially if you quit without notice or offend an important client.

But do agencies really share the names of ousted contractors? Do they blackball professionals for petty offenses?

It’s a popular topic on Dice Discussions, so it’s time to set the record straight.

Rumor: You can be blacklisted for failing to return a recruiter’s calls.

Reality: True. Although it’s more likely that he or she will assume you’re on assignment for another staffing firm and deactivate your file.

Rumor: You’ve been blacklisted if a staffing firm stops calling.

Reality: True and false. Beyond a serious faux pas, the recruiter calls may stop because of staff turnover, a lack of suitable jobs or making unreasonable pay demands. You won’t know for sure, unless you ask.

Rumor: Recruiters won’t tell you if you’ve been blacklisted.

Reality: True. They’ll probably tell you if you’ve been terminated for committing a serious offense, but generally speaking, they’d rather ignore your calls than confront your question about blacklisting.

Rumor: Agencies share the names of ousted contractors.

Reality: False. Each firm has its own database of employees and applicants. However, roving recruiters, contractors and IT managers may be privy to your status and refuse to give you another chance if they join a new company.

Rumor: You can be blacklisted for complaining about a client, co-workers or the work environment.

Reality: True and false. Contractors are rarely blacklisted because an assignment doesn’t work out, but a staffing firm may retire your number if you constantly complain or have a series of bad outings. However, you can’t be fired or blacklisted for claiming sexual harassment, discrimination or filing a worker’s compensation claim because every employer is bound by the same employment laws and regulations.

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No Responses to “Can IT Consultants Be Blacklisted by a Staffing Firm?”

      • James

        You mean we don’t blacklist firms? There are certain firms I would never work for again, and some that have friends of mine that wouldn’t work for them again. And friends trade information.

        One firm tried to claim a sale that wasn’t there’s when I rejoined a team as a consultant and they told me “Pick from the following firms.” The firm felt since they were one of *three* that got me a job there in the past, they had a moral entitlement to the sale. They were wrong. If someone talks to me about that firm, I tell them my experience. A risk maneuver considering a company COULD sue if they felt you were defaming them, but I have never heard of a company taking the time or money to do that.

        If I was ever in power to blacklist/whitelist firms I get consultants from, this company would be on my list.

    • Jim McSwain

      Yeah, I like that. I’ve been going to school and didn’t have an updated resume. Invariably the couple of recruiters that called me over the past couple of years have asked me to update my resume and email it to them for a specific position. And then they never call me back to let me know one way
      or the other about interviewing for the position. They basically wasted my time!

  1. Eric Price

    Not only CAN they do all these things but they DO do all these things. In the past it maybe didnt matter as much, because turnover kept people from getting a permanent black eye. Now, with the advent of more and more electronic candidate tracking, thats not the case.

  2. Lucas

    With the extreme technology jobs shortage we are facing, a firm can do as they please. They have all the power. The Obama regime has even doled out another million outsourcing visas this year. Dire times indeed.

    • James

      I’m confused by the statement “extreme technology jobs shortage we are facing”. Based on your “Obama regime” comment, I assume you are here in the US. I still get 3-4 calls a day, without having an active resume on DICE, about .Net positions. It’s a GREAT market right now.

      • Richard

        With the current jobs shortage, companies want at least 50 qualified applicants for each position. So it is a 1 in 50 chance to get the position, and that is being generous. Many positions have over 300 qualified applicants. So of course recruiters will call about jobs, but they are trying to send over as many resumes to the employer as possible.

        • Richard, Lucas: I don’t see a jobs shortage in the **technology** market. In January, I put out my resume; I got four interviews and four offers within two weeks time, and these were for the jobs I wanted. As I said, I still get calls and emails multiple times daily.

          If anything I see a huge surplus in favor of the techies.

          Maybe I’m well-qualified with 15 years experience, but 3 years ago I couldn’t find a job to save my life.

  3. Bubba Smith

    They can blacklist all they want. There are more jobs right now than there are **QUALIFIED** people to fill them. If a recruiter is idiotic enough to blacklist someone good, it’s their loss not the consultant’s.

  4. Andrew

    Having watched a former colleague go through a complete career-ending meltdown because the project we were working on got stalled – I know that consultants get blacklisted, that consulting firms with multiple branches and sharing the same data know that this person was blacklisted, and that other organizations who inquire about this individual will find out that they were blacklisted.

    As far as IT consultants blacklisting recruiting firms – I have and will continue to do so. Examples that will get a recruiting firm blacklisted include:

    1. Having multiple people in the same office contact me about a position, asking the same questions over and over again and generally wasting my time without moving my candidacy for the position forward.
    2. Calling multiple meetings to meet with “hiring managers” in their office which amount to a 15 minute handshake and “How you doin’?”
    3. Having to explain to a recruiter just what it is that I’ve done when it’s plainly clear from my resume that “Yes, I know Windows – Yes, I know Cisco – Yes, I know VMWare” (in my job search, I’ve noticed that either people simply don’t read or they have no idea what they’re reading – which is a seriously bad sign for a technical recruiter)
    4. Inability to communicate in English – ran into a LOT of this as it seems that most “recruiting firms” are a storefront office, a business card and a boiler room/call center in India anymore.

    Point blank – if your organization doesn’t have it’s act together, sees fit to waste my time, can’t communicate or can’t understand my background, I don’t want anything to do with you.

    That said, I’ve found a number of good recruiters that I will deal with again if I ever need to – problem is, they’re not based in my geographical location, which makes things difficult.