Dear Nurse Beth,
How can I tell if I've been blacklisted?
Employers and recruiters would never openly admit to having blacklists as willful and malicious job obstruction is illegal. While there is no official, universal "blacklist", blacklists do exist and there are ways to unofficially give a poor reference. One sign of being blacklisted is to suddenly have a job offer withdrawn late in the process. Another is if your job search is unusually difficult in a good market.
Reasons recruiters and employers blacklist employees or potential employees are for bad behavior; excessive absenteeism; failure to show for an interview, insubordination and incompetence.
The policy in many companies is that HR can only answer yes or no when asked if a previous employee is eligible for rehire, without explanation. This protects the company from liability. Likewise, many employers will only divulge start dates, end dates, and titles.
In reality, a manager contacted as a reference can easily give a disparaging reference without really saying anything, by lack of enthusiasm or strategic inflection. It's not professional, but a manager could say"Oh, Sean? ........ya........he was ......ummm....fine" if they wanted to communicate that the employee was a poor performer. Or they could simply say "No comment", which has the same effect.
If you think a reference you are providing is giving negative feedback, do not use that reference. If you believe a previous employer is blacklisting you, you can reach out and ask for a 1:1 conversation. Ask what went wrong and how you could have been a better employee.
There are other reasons for job rejections. Employers may check your credit history and will check your social media postings. Make sure your resume is pristine and your interview skills are honed as they may also be the culprits.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!