I have a small recruitment agency and I want to improve the way of hiring the candidates at my office. I don't have enough budget now to for specific tools that manage the recruitment process - I am still using the old methods.

A candidate applied and we managed an interview, but then he wasn't enough good for the client. Later he applied again with another email address my colleague didn't recognize it was the same person till I saw him again and I remembered him...

I would like to put him on a 'black'list internally, to avoid mistakes like this again.
How do big companies or agencies do this? Just list his name? Multiple people can have a similar name and I don't want to affect others who have the same name. And as decribed, the candidate used several email addresses.

Can you explain me what to do in this case? What information should I maintain in my blacklist?

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    Related: Blacklisting resumé liars. – sleske Mar 1 '16 at 10:03
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    Some job application forms have a question asking "have you previously applied for a position with our company?". Honestly, you should be able to answer this question yourselves with an effective filing system (even with similar names). However, if you ask the applicant, it is an extra check you could make. Or at worst you could ask, "You applied here before; why did you write "no" on the application?" – Brandin Mar 1 '16 at 11:00
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    people can have a similar name So, add their birth date to your list. – user8036 Mar 1 '16 at 11:00
  • @JoeStrazzere yes but some they cheat in a good way. for example his first name is composed by 2 names so he use just one and add to it his last name and apply again with another email... i wanted to know how it works in the big companies with they deal with thousands of applications daily – azerty Mar 1 '16 at 12:24
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    @azerty E-mail should not be your primary identifier. Name, DOB, which university he/she graduated from, Mailing Address. Those things are less likely to change. If you write those four columns into a spreadsheet and then write the name of every applicant, you should be able to easily identify duplicates, even if there are "missing middle names" or changed addresses and so on. – Brandin Mar 1 '16 at 14:17

"Blacklist on your system" just means you have a column on your candidate database/spreadsheet/file with "do not hire" and a reason.

The solution here is not anything clever - it is just up to you to match up names with those you have already seen.

I keep a list of all candidates, how they did (I.e. Hire or Reject) and interview notes (required to hold for a year here, available for the candidate to read if they wish) so if someone re-applied, I'd be able to check what happened previously and decide whether or not enough had changed to make me want to see them again.

  • How do you keep track of "John Smith" or other common names? Some names may also be more common than you think. for example, I thought my own name was very rare, but it's actually very common outside of America, and not rare inside America either. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 1 '16 at 14:21
  • @RichardU Put a few additional fields in your database/spreadsheet with useful info from the candidate's application form. Put the things that are different among all candidates and which are unlikely to change. Those are the identifying characteristics. – Brandin Mar 1 '16 at 14:27
  • As Brandin says - that's very straightforward. My database has sufficient information to uniquely identify my candidates. Choose what you need :-) – Rory Alsop Mar 1 '16 at 14:28
  • @RoryAlsop Good planning on your part. +1 – Old_Lamplighter Mar 1 '16 at 14:38
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    I have done this for a long time. In earlier organisations I didn't plan this well. Lesson learned :-) – Rory Alsop Mar 1 '16 at 14:39

Do you not have a database of candidates? If so, there should be enough similarities in there to make a match when the candidate reapplies such as phone number. Ultimately you may just have to rely on name matches and the comments made by recruiters who've already dealt with him.

I think the essence of the question is not "how do I blacklist someone" but rather "how do I protect myself from someone committing fraud" and the reality is that in many cases, you really can't. I've always told people that "you can't protect yourself from a liar" and I honestly believe that. You can take steps to minimize the likelihood and the impact of one but ultimately you have to trust candidates to a certain until it comes time to verify.

It's unfortunate, but there are going to be people who try to get around your processes at the initial stages, but if you do your due diligence, they won't get very far. Yes, it's a time waster but it's not like you're going to do background checks before submitting resumes to clients.


In most countries, blacklisting people would be quite illegal and can get you major fines. Neither as an employee nor as an employer would I ever want to have anything to do with a company that blacklists people.

If you don't intend to blacklist people, don't even THINK about using that word in any internal or external communications.

  • i meant to blacklist the candidate just on my system so that the person who was lied about his resume or had a horrible job interview with us before so when he apply again i can get a notification that we had a bad experience with him. – azerty Mar 1 '16 at 10:23
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    In most countries, blacklisting people would be quite illegal and can get you major fines <-- citation needed? Google does not seem to suggest this to be common knowledge or common overall. – enderland Mar 1 '16 at 12:48
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    Possibly referring to this long-running story about blacklisting in the UK construction industry, perhaps? That issue was around a secret industry-wide database of "troublemakers" used to exclude people from employment (even with companies they had never worked for). The situation in this question seems quite different and it might be better described as flagging specific candidates rather than calling it a blacklist. Be wary of scope creep though... – barrowc Mar 1 '16 at 23:39

One of my products does exactly this sort of thing automatically as part of it's overall structure. Since it has to check all details against international financial sanctions and terrorist lists. It's pretty simple to make that portion.

Any database will do, one table has a list of undesirables, when filling in the client form a simple query checks all applicable details against the undesirable table and flags anyone who appears to be on it. You can then spend a few seconds digging deeper to see if it's just a coincidence or not.

It's much easier than messing around looking people up manually on lists.

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