Career Advice

How to Reverse Ineligible for Rehire: The Top 5 Tips  

When you leave a job, you usually expect to be moving on to a better situation. Whether it’s higher pay, better hours, more flexibility or a combination of more attractive benefits, you have a positive outlook about what the future holds.

Then things start to look bleak, and you realize that the job you had previously was pretty awesome. You humbly approach your old employer to discuss returning to your old post. Great news! They haven’t filled it yet.

But then comes the bad news. You’re told that you’re ineligible for rehire. You discover even more bad news. Any future employer who checks your references could find out that you’re on this dreadful list. Don’t give up just yet, though.

The following is information you can use for how to reverse ineligible for rehire.

What is Ineligible For Rehire Meaning?

how to reverse ineligible for rehire

The term “ineligible for rehire is interchangeable” with “do not rehire.” They both refer to the fact that a company will not rehire you. Essentially, you’ve been put on a kind of blacklist. You’ve probably heard that old Hollywood threat, “You’ll never work in this town again!” Well, that’s what ineligible for rehire is. But instead, they are saying, “You’ll never work at this company again!”

Ineligible for rehire is a corporate term that is used to flag an old employee’s records. It might as well be a big red stamp on the front of your employee records folder. Whoever reads it will see the big red stamp. The red flag is for the HR department, or for whoever is responsible for hiring at the company.

The length of time that ineligible for rehire stays in effect is meant to be forever. There’s no expiration date. There’s no caveat that says, “Ineligible for rehire until she comes to her senses,” or “ineligible for rehire until she agrees to a give up her corner office to the new guy.” Nope. It’s forever.

Or is it? Keep reading to learn how to reverse ineligible for rehire.

Ineligible For Rehire Reasons

how to reverse ineligible for rehire

Why would a company be so hostile as to flag your employee file with such a permanent label? Well, it turns out there are lots of reasons why people get put on a blacklist like this. Some of them may seem petty. Others are very serious, and make you feel like the person actually got off pretty easy.

Here are some reasons why former employees are put on an ineligible for rehire list:

  • Failure to give adequate notice when quitting – Think you can just pack up your Bobblehead collection and skate away from a job you hate without repercussions? Think again. Companies can retaliate by flagging your records with a do not rehire stamp.
  • Inappropriate behavior – If you’re found to be behaving in a manner that goes against company policy—or worse—federal or local laws, an employer may make you ineligible for rehire. This may include everything from sharing inappropriate images from your work email address to secretly sleeping in the office because your mom kicked you out of the basement.
  • Working with a competitor – Most companies place a high value on employee loyalty. Those clandestine meetings with your company’s biggest competitor didn’t go unnoticed after all. Don’t expect to be welcomed back after that.
  • Being fired – In a lot of companies, the simple fact that you were fired makes you unwelcome to return. Even if you were fired for something you think is petty, like being late too many times or setting the back room on fire while you were practicing your daily affirmations can make you ineligible for rehire.

There are innumerable reasons why a past employee might end up on a do not rehire list. Getting on that list is easier than getting off it. But soon you’ll learn how to reverse ineligible for rehire and all will be well.

Can an Employer Say You Are Not Eligible For Rehire?

The question must be asked, though, is this even allowed? Can an employer say you are not eligible for rehire?

Unfortunately, the term ineligible for rehire is not a legal one, nor is “do not rehire.” Essentially, they are just company directives. It’s a signal to the individual doing the hiring that you are “personal non grata.” In other words, if you say thank you, they won’t say you’re welcome. Because you’re not.

A company isn’t bound by any law to hire a person they don’t want to hire, including you. They don’t need any special permission to put you on this blacklist. So, yes, it’s perfectly legal for an employer to say you are not eligible for rehire.

But why should you even care about all this? If they don’t want you, and you have no intention of ever returning there, why does it even matter?

It Matters More Than You Realize

how to reverse ineligible for rehire

Whether or not you ever plan on returning to a previous employer, it matters very much if you are on their do not rehire list.

Even though a formal not eligible for rehire background check doesn’t exist, and even though your do not rehire status won’t show up in a background check, it can still come back to haunt you.

That’s why you need to know how to reverse ineligible for rehire.

Most businesses consider reference checks to be a crucial step in the recruiting process. A strong recommendation might elevate one applicant above another when it comes to making the final hiring choice.

The majority of businesses use a standard reference format. The question of “would you employ this individual again, and if so, in what role?” is among the most important ones.

What happens if the response is “no”?

Well, behind the scenes, what happened is that the job candidate was on the dreaded do not rehire list. The person on the other end of the phone saw the red flag and answered truthfully.

The end result is that the job candidate doesn’t get the job they’re applying for.

That’s why it should matter to you. You don’t want to be that person.

How to Get Off a Do Not Rehire List

Being on a do not rehire list doesn’t have to be permanent. There are ways to get that removed from your employee record. These methods don’t always work. But they work enough times to make them worth it to try.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying one or more of these methods.


how to reverse ineligible for rehire

Contact the company and ask to speak to your previous boss. If at all possible, arrange an in-person meeting. This might not be possible, but again, it can’t hurt to ask.

Be honest and genuine. Admit to your prior failings; don’t try to place blame. Take full responsibility.

Next, explain how you have learned your lesson. Give examples of how your mindset or your behaviors have improved since then.

Finally, explain how that do not rehire label is thwarting your efforts at getting a new job. Ask that it be removed from your employee record.

Let Time Pass

how to reverse ineligible for rehire

If that doesn’t work, try letting some time go by. Employee turnover might include a change in management or ownership.

If you’re able to talk with a new manager or owner, they may be willing to remove that ineligibility label. They may not find anything in your file that warrants it, or they might feel that enough time has gone by and you don’t deserve it. Either way, with enough time, you might be able to get it removed.

Seek Out an Advocate

If you or any of your friends have any connections at the company, ask for a favor. Have a higher-up get rid of the do not rehire label. Normally, it’s best to follow the chain of leadership. But when you don’t work there anymore and you have nothing to lose, it’s okay to go over a person’s head to get what you want.

List a Different Supervisor

If your old job had you working closely under two bosses, you could try pleading your case with the more sympathetic supervisor. List the “friendly” boss as your reference, and ask them to not mention the ineligible for rehire notation in your records.

Leave it Off Your Resume

how to reverse ineligible for rehire

Finally, as a last strategy, you can leave that company off of your resume. Since a do not rehire directive won’t show up on a background check, there’s no way a potential employer will find out about it unless you list that job as a reference. You might have to come up with a story of why there’s a gap in your job history, but at least you won’t be saddled with a do not rehire label.

In all fairness, everyone deserves a chance to earn a living. Being labeled as ineligible for rehire shouldn’t define your working life forever. Be proactive, and try one or more of these strategies for getting past it, or having it removed from your employment record entirely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a no rehire status last?

The ‘no rehire’ tag isn’t a forever thing. It usually lasts a couple of years, depending on the company policy. Some businesses could hold it for around seven years, while others might never remove it. It’s all about their individual policies, so a quick chat with HR could clear things up for you.

Reasons why the do not rehire list is outdated?

The ‘do not rehire’ list can be pretty old school. People change, grow, and learn from their mistakes. Plus, sometimes these lists can hang onto biases that should’ve been tossed out ages ago. Also, that super talented person you didn’t rehire years ago? They could be just the genius you need today!

How to find out if you are eligible for rehire?

Best way to know if you’re in the clear? Reach out directly to the HR department. An open, honest chat could do wonders. Don’t worry, it’s not a court trial, just a simple conversation about your status.

If you resign are you eligible for rehire?

Resigning typically doesn’t put you on the ‘no rehire’ list. As long as your departure was amicable and professional, chances are you’re good for a comeback. Just remember, leaving on good terms is like a nice goodbye hug—it always helps.

Can non rehire status be changed?

Yes, it can! The ‘no rehire’ status isn’t a permanent tattoo. Policies change, people change, and so can your rehire status. If you’ve turned over a new leaf, let the company know. Show them your growth, and they might just update that status for you.

If you are terminated are you eligible for rehire?

Terminations can make the rehiring game a bit tricky, but it’s not a total game over. Depending on the reason for your termination, you could still be considered for rehire. It’s always worth having a chat with HR. Remember, honesty and openness are your best buddies here.

How to get off a no rehire list?

Trying to dust off that ‘no rehire’ label? It can take time, but here’s what you do: Stay professional, prove your growth, and keep your skills sharp. Revisit the reason you got the status, learn from it, and make sure it’s a thing of the past. A heartfelt conversation with HR stating your case can also go a long way. People make mistakes, but what really counts is how we bounce back!

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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