Outsourcing

How bogus resumes raise questions about Indian outsourcing skills

Without tough measures by employers, the volume of dodgy job applications could hit confidence in India's outsourcing workforce.

The resumes of many jobseekers in India's outsourcing industry could contain more fiction than fact.

An estimated one in five job-hunters overstates his or her academic qualifications, embroider work experience or inflate previous salaries. This phenomenon risks raising questions about the quality of India's IT workforce.

Recently, the growth in the outsourcing industry has calmed down after the frenzied years when companies expanded at between 25 per cent and 35 per cent annual rates by hiring scores of workers each quarter.

Nevertheless, the industry is vulnerable to an increased threat of resume fraud because talent is still in short supply, and thousands of fresh entrants join the workforce every year.

Ernst & Young India, in a report released earlier this year, says there is a significant increase in incidence of fraud in the technology services industry, including in recruitment, over the past decade. Tricksters could get past the multiple safeguards and verification processes that even large companies have in place.

The larger companies have a multitude of checks and processes in place to trip up such tricksters. Leading outsourcer Wipro says it weeds out most of the bogus claims through a rigorous and stringent process, reducing fakes in its active database to one per cent from the industry average of 20 per cent.

"Wipro has a robust, evolved and scientific system to weed out fake resumes," said Deepak Jain, senior vice president and global head of workforce planning.

Authentication and verification

Besides internal safeguards, many IT companies typically use outside agencies for authentication and verification, says Ankita Vashistha, director for strategy and growth at offshoring advisory firm Tholons.

These issues have spawned a whole new category of such agencies. "Social media, too, contributes to increased vigilance of qualifications and presents a formidable tool for IT companies," she says.

When outsourcing companies handle sensitive projects for large banks and financial institutions, resume authenticity is closely connected with employee integrity, says Kris Lakshmikanth of placement firm Headhunters India. Reference checks then become a mandatory customer requirement. "Many clients demand that employees working on their projects have to be security cleared."

Still, many cheats go undetected in a country where well-paid outsourcing jobs are much sought after. Even those caught faking it are rarely punished beyond being terminated from employment - India's legal system is onerously slow.

In many cases, the police do not even come into the picture. Fraudsters get away and others are emboldened by the lack of action because the risk-to-reward equation is skewed.

Lack of concerted effort

The competition for talent inhibits resume fraud detection because companies are reluctant to share former employee details, such as salaries. There is no concerted effort to put out or collate a comprehensive database on fraudsters.

Some years ago, Indian outsourcing industry body Nasscom set up a National Skills Registry with over 100 companies as members to combat resume fraud. However, the database is incomplete and profiles of most job-hunters do not figure in it, negating its usefulness.

Many ambitious Indians write long resumes running into six or seven pages - including extraneous details such as father's vocation, blood type and passport number - against the accepted global practice of single-page resumes. It is a complicated challenge for recruiters and an unending headache for the industry.

In a market that is cut-throat for companies as well as prospective candidates, resume fraud weighs heavily on the credibility of India's outsourcing industry.

About

Saritha Rai is an India-based journalist and commentator who covers technology, business and society from her ringside seat in Bangalore.

22 comments
GoHomeVisa
GoHomeVisa

I don't think this is news to anyone. Slumdogs have been lying on their resumes for years now, everyone knows about it..so what. The only thing that is "news" here, is that people are finally realizing that that there are no "magic" hindoos, and that india is not full of IT talent/people who have gotten 10 years of seasoned experience in 6 months. It's not possible, and it never was. Only idiot managers in America wanted to believe in the magic indian fantasy, and now they have wake up to the bullshit...

Wakjob
Wakjob

Companies ruined or almost ruined by imported Indian labor Adaptec - Indian CEO Subramanian Sundaresh fired. AIG (signed outsourcing deal in 2007 in Europe with Accenture Indian frauds, collapsed in 2009) AirBus (Qantas plane plunged 650 feet injuring passengers when its computer system written by India disengaged the auto-pilot). Alcatel-Lucent - 9,000 laid off on 9/17/12. Started hiring large numbers of Indian workers in 2003-2004. Business "Severely drying up" American Airlines computer failure run by India, Inc. lost ALL reservations on 11/1/12 Apple - R&D CLOSED in India in 2006. Apple - Indian national and former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta charged with leaking Intel and Apple secrets over the phone. Australia's National Australia Bank (Outsourced jobs to India in 2007, nationwide ATM and account failure in late 2010). Barclays Bank - UK executive management was corrupted by Shriti Vadera, the Indian-origin economist. His advice led Barclay's CEO and other execs to rig Libor interest rates. Bell Labs (Arun Netravalli took over, closed, turned into a shopping mall) Boeing Dreamliner ES software (written by HCL, banned by FAA) Bristol-Myers-Squibb (Trade Secrets and documents stolen in U.S. by Indian national guest worker) Caymas - Startup run by Indian CEO, French director of dev, Chinese tech lead. Closed after 5 years of sucking VC out of America. Caterpillar misses earnings a mere 4 months after outsourcing to India, Inc. Circuit City - Outsourced all IT to Indian-run IBM and went bankrupt shortly thereafter. Cisco - destroyed by Indian labor, laid off 55,000 in 2012, going down the drain. Color - Bill Nguyen's startup raised $41 million for a mobile app without producing anything. You can bet most of that went to remittance-hungry foreign workers. ComAir crew system run by 100% Indian IT workers caused the 12/25/05 U.S. airport shutdown when they used a short int instead of a long int Computer Associates - Former CEO Sanjay Kumar, an Indian national, sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for accounting fraud. Deloitte - 2010 - this Indian-packed consulting company is being sued under RICO fraud charges by Marin Country, California for a failed solution. Dell - call center (closed in India) Delta call centers (closed in India) Duke University - Massive scientific fraud by Indian national Dr. Anil Potti discovered in 2012. Enron, WorldCom, Qwest, and Tyco all hired large numbers of foreign workers from India before their scandals. Fannie Mae - Hired large numbers of Indians, had to be bailed out. Indian logic bomb creator found guilty and sent to prison. Goldman Sachs - Kunil Shah, VP & Managing Director - GS had to be bailed out by US taxpayers for $550 BILLION. GM - Was booming in 2006, signed $300 million outsourcing deal with Wipro that same year, went bankrupt 3 years later HP - Got out of the PC hardware business in 2011 and can't compete with Apple's tablets. HP was taken over by Indians and Chinese in 2001. So much for 'Asian' talent! HSBC ATMs (software taken over by Indians, failed in 2006) IBM bill collecting system for Austin, TX failed in 2012 written by Indians at IBM Intel Whitefield processor project (cancelled, Indian staff canned) Intel - Trade secret stolen by Indian national Biswamohan Pani in 2012. JetStar Airways computer failure brings down Christchurch airport on 9/17/11. JetStar is owned by Quantas - which is know to have outsourced to India, Inc. JP Morgan - Outsourced subsidiary & IT integration to India in 2009 for $400 million, lost $2 billion in 2012. Kodak: Outsourced to India in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in Jan, 2012. Lehman (Jasjit Bhattal ruined the company. Spectramind software bought by Wipro, ruined, trashed by Indian programmers) London Olympics 2012 Security - Botched by India's G4S Medicare - Defrauded by Indian national doctor Arun Sharma & wife in the U.S. Microsoft - Employs over 35,000 H-1Bs. Stock used to be $100. Today it's lucky to be over $25. Not to mention that Vista thing. MIPS - Taken over by Indian national Sandeep Vij in 2010, being sold off in 2012. MIT Media Lab Asia (canceled) MyNines - A startup founded and run by Indian national Apar Kothari went belly up after throwing millions of America's VC $ down the drain. Nomura Securities - (In 2011 "struggling to compete on the world stage"). No wonder because Jasjit Bhattal formerly of failed Lehman ran it. See Lehman above. PeopleSoft (Taken over by Indians in 2000, collapsed). PepsiCo - Slides from #1 to #3 during Indian CEO Indra Nooyi' watch. Polycom - Former senior executive Sunil Bhalla charged with insider trading. Qantas - See AirBus above Quark (Alukah Kamar CEO, fired, lost 60% of its customers to Adobe because Indian-written QuarkExpress 6 was a failure) Reebok - Massive fraud and theft in India second in size only to Satyam fraud Rolls Royce (Sent aircraft engine work to India in 2006, engines delayed for Boeing 787, and failed on at least 2 Quantas planes in 2010, cost Rolls $500m). SAP - Same as Deloitte above in 2010. Siemens - Pentagon searches U.S. offices of Siemens unit 10/2012 for illegal payments to government officials (bribes). Siemens laid off most of its American workers in 2003 and replaced them with workers from India. Singapore airlines (IT functions taken over in 2009 by TCS, website trashed in August, 2011) Skype (Madhu Yarlagadda fired) State of Indiana $867 million FAILED IBM project, IBM being sued State of New York - Hired Indian-infested CSC in 1998 to build a new system, was 33 months late and $166 million over budget, a cost overrun of 47 percent. And then the system failed. So much for "they can do it better, cheaper, faster". CSC also holds the sole contract for NC's Medicaid system redesign. That project is hundreds of millions over budget and years late. India, Inc. is taking its time to maximize the amount it can grift out of America. State of Texas failed IBM project. Sun Micro (Taken over by Indian and Chinese workers in 2001, collapsed, had to be sold off to Oracle). Suzuki - Had to pull out of US car market in 2012 due to quality problems after moving its factory to India. Files for bankruptcy. Toyota - Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed, a native of India, sabotaged Toyota's supplier website, and stole trade secrets in 2012. UK's NHS outsourced numerous jobs including health records to India in mid-2000 resulting in $26 billion over budget. Union Bank of California - Cancelled Finacle project run by India's InfoSys in 2011. United - call center (closed in India) US Navy F-18 jet crashes into Virginia apartment building on 4/6/12 after outsourcing F-18 work to India's Tata. Victorian Order of Nurses, Canada (Payroll system screwed up by SAP/IBM in mid-2011) Virgin Atlantic (software written in India caused cloud IT failure) World Bank (Indian fraudsters BANNED for 3 years because they stole data). I could post the whole list here but I don't want to crash any servers.

Tinman57
Tinman57

Obviously if the resume is padded with crappola like fathers blood type, the person is lying about everything on the resume and/or can't follow simple English instructions. These type people shouldn't be hired to begin with. I don't think a lot of companies care how true the resumes are as long as they're getting that cheap labor. 4 out of 5 Indian Tech Support personnel can't speak English well enough to carry on a normal conversation, so how did they make it past their English interview, if they even had one at all? And do these companies give any training in public relations? Because most all of my dealings with Indian tech support has been with rudeness from the start. It has got to the point that when an Indian tech support answers the phone I immediately ask to be transferred stateside.

zeitgeist2012
zeitgeist2012

The recruiting agencies realize a big fee for hiring personnel on behalf of their corporate clients .In order to justify their fee they try to recruit racehorses where workhorses only were needed . Hence , to get their chances the workhorses trump up their qualifications lest they never even get the cut. Once they join the workforce ,they could cruise along with the workhorses and sometimes even thrive,when they work fully up to their potential.Only when they try to over-reach themselves into positions of racehorses that they get exposed. Its therefore very much the fault of hiring hifi recruiting agencies even for hiring personnel for routine lower level jobs for which lower educational or professional qualifications are only needed.Entrusting recruitment to a couple of smaller recruiting agencies, in case a large number of lower level personnel are to be hired will also help .

safwanmohd
safwanmohd

Points: 1. Outsourcing Companies are nothing but sweat shops where employees are a bit well groomed that is it. No real improvement takes place in a person, so What is expected in a resume if that poor soul needs a hike to keep in pace with inflation. Truth! that he/she does copy/paste/coding job or manage a bunch of copy/paste/coding workforce :D ha ha ha.... 2. Outsourcing Companies seek cheapest, fastest, flexible work force, which India Provides better than anywhere in the world. Simply said: Demand meets Supply. Its a joke to talk about fake resume in such an industry. 3. Every Outsourcing company that does business in India very well knows Present Indian Education System & its output - that this system produces copy cats and not active, dynamic and creative thinking brains (we are not talking here about exceptional cases). Com'on do your SIPOC - It is not fair to say that the OUTPUT is faking - It was meant to Fake because It was programmed to Fake. 4. Indians are chained to their bread. It would not be exaggeration to say, they still carry the slavery effect in their genes (200 years!) A boon to outsourcing companies - Ready made paradise of willing slaves (of course not to mention the weak labor laws, corrupt leaders,followers & delayed justice system). 5. Client in outsourcing Do not Like & Do not Do knowledge transfer, only task transfer takes place. So the Resumes by default reflect fake information because that resume has to meet the fake Job Profile that is created by companies. Simple: Nature always has its say. Demand & Supply. P.S: National Skill Registry is all together a different story - some other time.

alan.schuh
alan.schuh

I have absolutely no pity or sympathy for anyone that ships jobs overseas. In fact, I wish them the worst luck and employees.

maggie_t
maggie_t

I think we should all expect to ask and be asked questions about background, what work was actually done in prior jobs and make followup questions. In my case I was excluded from interviews with these because I asked questions that were not the 'standard' interview questions - but showed the weakness in alleged skill set. I asked questions like 'so, I see you were with xxx for 6 months and you made major updates to application yyy - were you adding new functionality or just updating or expanding existing rules?' or 'while you were at zzz did you take any of the aaa courses? when I worked there it was something they really wanted developers to take...' The manager wanted to accept the resume as complete and valid and my questions showed that the experience was puffed up and did not show a lot of engagement or in-depth knowledge of the applications that was reported. The developers were caught off-guard, they expected to be asked how to format a statement and instead were having to show that they could not perform independently and needed more support than our organization could give them. After a few of these interviews the manager went on to hire his compatriots without our review - and to the detriment of application correctness and SLAs.

zeitgeist2012
zeitgeist2012

Even the former CEO of the famous IT giant YAHOO was caught doing this type of fraud' which cost him his job after a year or so, when some of his staff detected it and reported .This is a world wide phenomena and no more any new thing .Happens when crash hiring is done , like in London Olympics where frauds got through with only a small proportion getting caught and removed even when the games was midway through. One of the reason is that the qualifications and experience-requirements also are unnecessarily hyped up, perhaps with an idea to get the maximum qualified person for future promotions, instead of just some one who has just the basic qualification with which he/she can do the job at hand properly. The candidate as well as the employer know that the job can be done even with half the qualifications demanded as necessary at that point of time.A smart person will pick up the rest on the job itself .Sometimes just a mechanic without even an engineering degree will do the job with a few years of on-the- job experience and gain expertise even better than an engineer who would be concentrating on acquiring an MBA for going into management responsibilities . At times ,I have been extremely successful with appointing smart lower qualified persons and train them to do a higher job which they later did it with scintillating results .The point that is being made is that if a person is keen to get the job and do it ,its that eagerness and hunger that matters more than the qualifications of a person who is only half interested in the job and who looks for greener pastures than on focusing on gaining expertise on the job at hand and improving upon it as a lesser qualified person or even a fraudster who might attempt to do to impress or to hide his fraud. So long as the job at hand is done efficiently and honestly ,the qualification or any minor fraud done by the candidate to get the job in the first place can be condoned confidentially from the point of view of the employer .provided the fraud is of such flagrant nature that it would affect the other employees.In fact the employer can overcome this impasse if he deliberately and officially downgrades the requirement of a higher qualification for the job, to accommodate the efficient fraudster in the organization for the benefit of the organization.

trailbarge1
trailbarge1

Seriously? It was the resumes that tipped people off? Do the people that hire these outsourced agencies ever sample the work that is actually done? Anyone that has recieved tech support from someone who can not make himself understood... anyone who gets code that does not fulfill requirements... anyone who has to fix solid models imported from overseas with unintelligible design intent... they all knew a decade ago how useless outsourced tech has been.

Shankarl
Shankarl

I have come across many such practices. To avoid such infiltrations way back in 2005-2006 we used to conduct online competency test using BrainBench. It helped us a lot. Layer I come to know from different sources that many never preferred to come to our company because they know they will be screened thoroughly.

jonrosen
jonrosen

This is, and HAS been one of the long-standing issues in outsourcing that in the end COST companies far more money than they save. Especially with all of the 'SLA' worries. When you take the time constraints enforced by some pretty idiotic SLA's, and the fact that many (no not all) of the Indians outsourced to do NOT know the English (or other non Indian-dialect) language well, much less the skills they SHOULD have... The SLA rates plummet and cost the company tons of money in payouts for failure to keep the SLA's up. This has been rampant for years. That people patently 'fluff' their resumes with BS has also been rampant for years, and why managers would think that people in other countries wouldn't do it is beyond me.

shannonmx9
shannonmx9

I wonder if any of your readers have similar experience with bogus CV's coming not from the candidate, but from the outsourcing provider themselves. In our screening processes, we've had candidates "bait and switch" with a highly qualified engineer do the phone screen and somebody entirely different show up for work. We've also had interview coaching, where the standard practice would be for a senior delivery manager to listen to the screening and then prep the next interviewee with standard answers - we usually caught this pretty quickly by changing the questions and the screeners quite often. I think the state of outsourcing now is actually pretty poor. I'm excited to see if Vietnam can step up into the gaps opening in this area.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

People have exaggerated or flat-out lied on resumes ever since Groo the caveman wanted to hire someone to butcher his mastodons. This 'news' would be equally valid if all references to specific countries and job markets were removed. News Flash: people lie to benefit their own self-interest. Also, grass is green, fire is hot.

abromfield
abromfield

"I'm excited to see if Vietnam can step up into the gaps opening in this area" - or you could just hire local talent and support your local economy...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That's all I ask. That's more than I got from those who cast negative votes but couldn't be bothered to say why they disagreed.

safwanmohd
safwanmohd

Out-sourcing is here to stay. The real questions to be asked are: What benefit in the long run will out-sourcing bring in its present model? Is it time to change the model? Why has out-sourcing failed to bring out world from its present financial crisis? or Why only MNC benefit from out-sourcing & why not nations? Will present setup of nations prevail or already new invisible MNC nations are in function? Why is the world scared of knowledge sharing? Why nations continue to be allowed to suck talent? Why no Talent Sharing?

abromfield
abromfield

The cases you describe makes it sound even more risky to outsource overseas. In these cases, the people hiring the outsourcing firms would be far easier to take advantage of due to the lack of internal benchmarks and expertise. Therefore, their preference should be along the path you questioned (e.g. same province/state -> country -> region). There is nothing wrong with outsourcing to your neighbouring country if you cannot find the talent in your own backyard. However, with the unemployment rates the way they are I find that incredibly hard to believe. I meet so many ex-IT professionals that were displaced from the field and are now doing something completely different.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and other major cities with a large local pool of potential applicants from local schools. Companies in smaller towns may not have locally qualified applicants in some fields. There are also those cases where a company is expanding into a new location. If it's the first in its field to enter that region, there may be no locals experienced in the company's competencies. Sure, they could relocate existing employees (assuming they're willing) and hire locally sourced replacements; the relocation costs may be prohibitive and they'd just have to find replacements for them anyway. How local is 'local'? A 50-mile radius? The same province / state? The same country? I'm not disagreeing with your preference for local talent, but there are plenty of cases where you may have to expand your search.

abromfield
abromfield

It's much easier to assess when the person is sitting in front of you during the interview and if hired, show up to work on a daily basis. It's much easier to assess when you know the educational institutions they say they've attended and probably have other employees who have attended those same institutions. Do I need to go on?