Should You Use Indian SAP Recruiters?

What This Article Covers

  • Understanding India
  • Negotiating with Indian recruiters.
  • Getting the story from an Indian recruiter.
  • Communicating with Indian recruiters.

Background

I wanted to start this article by saying that it is difficult to find trustworthy recruiters in general. After years of dealing with recruiters, I would estimate that around one in six are actually worth dealing with. However, after dealing with recruiters for around nine years, I have determined that there is one group of easily identify-able group of recruiters that are far worse as recruiters, both ethically, in their negotiation, and in their communication than the average. This is Indian recruiters. This article is really for independent contractors who are from the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, i.e. the developed world. For those independent contractors that are Indian or from a third world county, you know the score already, and don’t need me to point out things that are obvious to you.

Understanding India

In order to understand Indian recruiters, is important to understand India. I have been to India and to Pakistan, and have done reading on the history of the region. Essentially, India and Pakistan were bronze age societies prior to colonialization by the British. Colonialization was begun by the East India Trading Company (without authorization from the British Government), and was eventually taken over by the British Government. India has an enormous population (either soon to or already larger than China’s), and while the British brought some infrastructure, such as a rail system and postal system, most of the country remained undeveloped long after India won independence from the British. While India’s independence is a source of national pride for Indians,the country actually regressed. While the British were in India for their own advantages, the British were better administrators than the Indians that took over from them (since independence and up to the current day) and were less corrupt. India sits at 95 out of 180 countries on the Worldwide Corruption scale. (the US sits at 24, dropping roughly ten spots during the Bush Administration and not recovering our position a single space during the Obama Administration)

India is marked by extreme income inequality and racial inequality. India has a much large population than it has resources (there have been some attempts at population control, but they have been fiercely fought by the country’s Muslim population). This means that India is one of the most competitive places to grow up in, and makes the people naturally aggressive negotiators. For instance, in Indian universities, the competition is so intense that there are stories of a large number of pages ripped out of textbooks in the Indian university library, which of course prevents the other students from obtaining the answer. Indian ethics center around the family, and then become rapidly weaker outside of that unit. This is the common ethics in third world nations where there is great scarcity. This hopefully provides the proper mindset of Indian immigrants that then come to developed countries.

Negotiating with Indian Recruiters

Indian recruiters take their background in India and apply it to their approaches to recruiting. I am often contacted about contracts, however on almost every occasion, the rates offered by Indian recruiters are lower than the rates I am offered by non-Indian recruiters. This is interesting, because the final client is typically the same types of companies. I even received a lowball offer when the eventual client was a major consulting company (which I refuse to work for), and the major consulting companies charge at the top of the market in their billing rate. This Indian recruiters also waited until deep into the process to tell me that the prime contractor was Accenture.

I have concluded from this that Indian recruiters are simply attempting to take a higher percentage of the rate. This can be partially attributed to greed, but I think also relates to the fact that India has no history of respecting labor rights or labor’s value add to the process. Many Indians are treated terribly by other Indians and unless you are part of the privileged classes it is simply accepted. The US has a conception of the worker being an important component of production, India by in large does not. The US had at one time much stronger unions (now down to roughly 12%). India never had this. Those who would like to paper over this fact will point to Indian’s labor laws, with 50 national laws protecting labor, and more state laws. However, these laws are not well-respected by international labor bodies, and secondly, few laws in India are enforced. The upshot of all of this is that the Indian culture is for the person with the “gold” to be primary, it is considered ethical to get whatever can be taken from labor. Any person negotiating with an Indian recruiter or rates or other contractual details needs to understand this background. Indians in India prefer not to work for Indian companies, but instead prefer to work for US or European multinationals where they can be treated more fairly.

Getting the Full Story from an Indian Recruiter

I never feel as if I am getting the full story with Indian recruiters. I received an email from an Indian recruiter recently about a project in San Diego. I told him my rate and he said “we could talk about the rate,” which translates into “I can’t meet you rate but I will negotiate you down after you have invested time in discussing the role with me.” Once I got on the phone with him, he tells me “You realize this is a contract to hire position?”

I have no idea why I should have realized that fact, as it was never stated in our email communications. Perhaps this recruiter believed that I had extra sensory perception. I went back to double-check the our emails, and as I had originally thought there was no mention of “contract-to-hire” in the emails. I reject contract-to-hire positions as soon as I receive the email, so I would be surprised if it had gotten past me. After reviewing the email, I told him I would not be interested in the role and that he had clearly left this information out of our email communication, waiting to spring the information on me during a call. I told him to either communicate honestly or to stop emailing me. He never responded to the email. What I have learned is that dishonest people can never be reasoned with. Pushing back on them, simply makes them move on to the next target.

Communicating with Indian Recruiters

Indian recruiters have poor communication skills. This is not simply “some recruiters,” it is instead every single one that I have dealt with. This should not be surprising, as some Indians speak several languages, and while India’s official language, or at least the language of commerce and education is English, Indians will always have a second Indian language (there are different estimates of how many languages are commonly spoken in India. Sometimes I am told 13, other times Indians laugh at this estimate and they there are hundreds), however the upshot is that Indians spend far less time speaking English than do people in “real” English speaking countries. This also extends to writing, and it is well-known that Indians do not communicate in English very well, and in fact is one reason that the quality of documentation has fallen so much on IT projects. My view is that India does not have a very strong written culture, and that the focus is much more on verbal communication. As an example, when I worked at i2 Technologies (a company started by an Indian — Sanjiv Sidhu and Ken Sharma, two con men, Sanjiv Sidhu walked out with over $1 billion while i2 eventually cratered and was eventually purchased by JDA). i2 Technologies had a large percentage of Indian employees and the willfully poor communication on the part of Indians, no matter their rank or position was one of company weaknesses that eventually brought i2 down. For instance, an Indian director received an email that was not to their advantage, they would simply not reply to the email. Even if the issue was quite important, the email would sit unanswered. If directly confronted, the response was always that they were “so busy.” A few US born workers tried this stunt, usually pre-sales consultants or product managers who I caught lying to i2 salesmen and were not interested in having a conversation with anyone knowledgeable on the topic. However, the problem was far more prevalent with Indians.

Communication is one of the most important features of being a recruiter, which is why I openly question whether Indians can be effective recruiters outside of India. Why we have recruiters who are not first language speakers in the country in which they are recruiting is a very interesting question. Certainly, Indians this may not apply to Indians that were raised in the US or England, but the vast majority of Indians working in recruiting, and working in these countries in general grew up in India. Therefore, the Indian culture, use of language, etc.. is what applies currently.

Conclusion

I have stopped responding to Indian recruiters due to the reasons listed above. First, the trust is not there because I don’t feel comfortable negotiating with people with third world backgrounds, secondly I never feel as if I am getting a straight story, and thirdly I have never actually run into an Indian recruiter that was any good at the job. This may sound harsh, but if I were to try to work in recruiting in say Russia, and where Russian was my second language and where I did not understand the cultural norms and could not communicate properly with candidates (and where I was also trying to cheat them), I think others would be right in dismissing me as unqualified to do the job. I have wasted plenty of hours talking to Indian recruiters, and even explaining solutions to them, and it has really been a waste of my time. Therefore, my viewpoint has been shaped by real experiences, and remarkably consistent experiences. When I point out ethical and communication issues with Indian recruiters, this is not a small sample, and this does not apply to some of them…it applies to every one that I have worked with. This is why I both recommend to other independent consultants to ignore emails from Indian recruiters, but also for Indians to get out of recruiting, and move into jobs where they have a better fit between the skills they offer and the demands of the job.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_labour_law

Questions or Comments

No doubt some Indians will read this message and become offended. Even Indians who know in their heart that it is true and would never use an Indian recruiter themselves. Comments that protest this article under politically correct ideals will probably not be approved. They are tedious, and no one wants to read them. Articles on this blog are designed to describe reality, they are not designed to please all interest groups that comes into contact with them. However, comments that add something to the conversation will be approved, even if they disagree with the article.

If you have something insightful to add, please comment below as to your experiences. If you would like to send it to us to help us build our database of contracts, you can email the contract to [email protected]

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Alex
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Alex

Completely agree. You are rights for 10000000000 %. Thank You.

Kumar Patel
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Kumar Patel

if you use slumdog pimps ( recruiters ) to cold-call people for jobs – where they lie about their true names, the position, the salary, and where they are actually located ( not where they claim they are calling from, usually within the US ), don’t expect any professional people to respond to these very unprofessional solicitations

Vishnu
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Vishnu

when I get a call from an indian recruiter, their are naturally two ways you must go:
1) immediately hang up on them
2) spend a little bit of time toying with them and harassing them, and waste as much of their time as possible

Dolores
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Dolores

Thank you for saying what needed to be said. So many people are scared to do this.

Helen
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Helen

I just push the delete button on such recruiters . I really don’t get this idea of asking for the full SSN either.

Wakjob
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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). 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 –… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

yes, i am an Indian with over 10 years exp. in IT. Name withheld for anonymity. i will not comment whether this is biased or racial etc. but few facts. 1. University – paper stuff. What absurd thing. i bought m text books. 2. Communication. there is accent different and there are issues. But it may be better compared to people from countries who don’t have English as first language. 3. Again on your conclusion, you are getting stereotyped and accusing almost a billion and more people. You may not have the skill is selecting the right person. I don’t… Read more »

Maderchods Suck
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Maderchods Suck

whatever, go home and stay Raja, we don’t need your type here in the U.S. Go back to snakecharming and ear cleaning your poo-joo n**ger

Paul
Guest
Paul

I agree with just about every one of your theses in this article. I am an American and work in IT Strategic Sourcing. We all know how the Indians DESTROYED IT here in the USA for most Americans involved in it and I have found that they’re some of the biggest LIARS, CHEATS and THIEVES I’ve ever had the gross misfortune to deal with. I think much of what they do to Americans is their way of retaliating for being under the thumb of the White Man, i.e the British for so long. They are now destroying the staffing business… Read more »

MrX
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MrX

I happened to run into this article. I’m Indian and I have been living outside of the subcontinent lately (quite a few years). I may be a somewhat atypical Indian though for several reasons I will not go into here. I must commend Shaun’s power of observation, especially the bit about ethics being very family centered among Indians. And yes, it depletes at a rapid rate outside the “core network”. The British have exploited that Indian trait in their “divide and rule” policy, to strengthen their hold on India. In general we Indians have an integrity deficit. It comes from… Read more »

Tim J.
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Tim J.

The first thing that everyone needs to realize the vast majority of these so-called “recruiters” are NOT in the US. They work out of call centers in India. Read this: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Gk0gKjX5fK4J:www.workforce.com/article/20070824/NEWS02/308249990+indian+recruiters&cd=9&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari It basically works like, the consulting company errr. body shop subcontracts out their recruiting to a company in India. They take the body shops’s name and address and slap it on their emails so when you get it you think they are here. They have VoIP phones programmed with US phone numbers so it appears the calls are coming from inside the US. This is not the worst of… Read more »

Paul C
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Paul C

Regarding the employment agreements at INDIAN and OTHER IT and Temp Staffing Agencies. As a Contracts Professional I reviewed my own employment agreement with ARTECH INFORMATION SERVICES and found some pretty sneaky clauses that I successfully negotiated out. I have also negotiated several other agreements for friends involved in IT here in NJ and was also successful in removing clauses NOT to their benefit. I will be happy to assist posters here (for a small fee) with these agreements and for the time being, can be reached at [email protected] For those of you who are not familiar with contracts language… Read more »

Dee
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Dee

1) Watch out for made up names 2) Never expect that they fight on behalf of the candidate 3) Expect surprises, like 35 hours of pay for a 40 hour week 4) The women are generally better, but always seem at a disadvantage 5) The lower the ethnic group that person comes from in the Indian social structure, the more likely you will truly run into a ‘Sammy Glick’ (as in Budd Schulberg’s portrait of a social striver circa 1930s, ‘What Makes Sammy Run’. Steer clear of them, they will eat your breakfast and lunch without apology and never, ever… Read more »

Tired Of Indian Recruiters!
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Tired Of Indian Recruiters!

THANK YOU for starting starting this thread. I’ve been in SAP/IT for 15 years and for the past year I’ve become extremely fed up with the Indian recruiters. I am 2nd generation Indian and until about 5 years ago, I loved everything about India. Now working with many Indians and working through so many Indian Recruiters, dealing with Indian IT Directors, I am fed up. I feel like I never want to go back to my own country and feel ashamed that my background is Indian. Most consultants do not know that I understand and speak Hindi and on too… Read more »

Paul C
Guest
Paul C

An article at DICE just published contains news from MEG WHITMAN, CEO of H-P and erstwhile GOP candidate for Governor of CA that H-P will be laying off ANOTHER 27K employees worldwide with 9,000 of the victims being from the USA. At the same time, she announced that ALL of H-P’s India located employees are SAFE. I am a conservative, tend to vote GOP or Libertarian, but this is a case of the latest CEO of a company in trouble who just can’t figure out how to keep shareholders happy and make the company HUGELY profitable (see APPLE for an… Read more »

Vinny
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Vinny

I’m an Indian American and I completely agree with everything that has been said on this article. The very basis of recruiting is communication and when a recruiter does not have that than they have no business in recruiting. And in fact it goes much beyond recruiting, they have literally corrupted every field that they have touched. As an Indian American the activities of these foreign Indians has impacted me negatively as well. I have genuine 6 years of programming experience and graduated from UCLA with BSc in computer science. Yet during the job seeking process I have to compete… Read more »

RB
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RB

I would just like to remind you that you didn’t really have to work your way in becoming a US citizen. For that matter, probably your parents were able to come here through one of these legal means – the benefits of which you enjoy today. So, stop hating! While I agree that the Indian IT companies have ruined pretty much everything, I want to bring your attention to those individuals who have REAL work experience and a Master’s and / or PhD degree (from many good US schools) that adds value to the American economy. I would encourage you… Read more »

Chris Davidson
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Chris Davidson

I am a U.S. IT worker. After 13 years of working the same Systems Admin job, I decided to relocate across the country for better weather. I posted my resume’ on Monster, Career Board and Dice. Little did I know, I opened the can of worms with Indian recruiters. I have been barraged with phone calls from people that I cannot understand. Wanting me to commit to go on interviews, asking me to promise not to take other job opportunities if THEY choose to work with me. I have modified all of my online job profiles to indicate that Overseas… Read more »

smayton
Guest

Posting my resume on Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, etc… of course results in a barrage of calls from Indian recruiters. I used to place my phone number on my resume and within the contact info on these respective job boards. I stopped the practice, and as a result, I get emails only. It is interesting how one Indian recruiter recently wrote and said that he checked through all of my social media accounts (FB, Li) trying to find my phone number.

Paul C
Guest
Paul C

Shaun,

I have to disagree with you on the percentage of recruiters who are honest. I think it’s probably less than 1 in 10.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I email each indian recruiter back asking them to “NOW please call me IMMEDIATELY about this ASAP!!!” (indians respond shockingly well to even thinly-disguised urgency), and then list the phone number of the previous indian recruiter. This way I can have two idiots waste eachother’s time without wasting of mine. -Neil P.S. I have also been known to ask indians to call me back at their own listed Fax number, resulting in a barage of emails over the next day or two saying “I cannot get you, your phone just makes beep!” I email back asking what’s their fax #… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

This story is so funny, I am tempted to do it too. Glad to hear I am not alone to feel the pain. I feel so relieved to know there are other people who do not believe the story of not enough skilled US workers, which in my opinion has been invented by large corporations to pay 3rd world country wages. Obviously this has nothing to do with Indian or non Indian, as they are the first victims of themselves, blackmailed in order to get a visa. The problem of these unethical behaviors is that they are contributing to wipe… Read more »

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E. Kenol
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E. Kenol

Should you use Indian SAP recruiters ??

Comage
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Comage

Hi Shaun,

Came across your website, and it has definitely been a very clearly documented post about the reality in the world of recruiters (and especially IT as well).

This has been something that I have been appalled with, yet I hear no complaints from anyone on the Internet about…

Paul C
Guest
Paul C

Shaun: Just today, that is 11/6/13 and in the space of 30 minutes, I received 4 calls from Indian recruiters for the same job at Johnson & Johnson in Raritan, NJ. These were from Indian staffing firms that I had PREVIOUSLY told not to call me ever again. I’d even hit the unsubscribe button(s) on the bottoms of their emails. They don’t listen. One of them falsely reported me to NJ Unemployment and that I’d refused a job. This didn’t happen; what I did do was refuse to interview thru them for a job in NYC they wanted to pat… Read more »

Paul C
Guest
Paul C

Shaun,

Here is a link I found on a LinkedIn message today specific to IT and other staffing activities for Procurement by Indian agencies. Needless to say, the article and comments, re-posted by an Indian who was pointing out to his fellow Indian recruiters how negatively they are perceived by candidates here in the USA.

http://blog.computer-fella.com/job-advise/indian-recruiters/

I thought this might serve as an additional form of confirmation about your decision to just not deal with them (if only for language reasons).

Dee
Guest
Dee

I will one-up Paul C. above, in that I received, within 45 minutes last week, 12 separate contacts from Indian recruiters (including one non-Indian, and I don’t mean by name) on the SAME communications lead (marketing, not IT) position with Siemens in Tarrytown NY (not commutable for me). I think you’ll see that certain companies, American and European-owned, are working this system and not to the benefit of the worker. Some new twists here: **Certain companies, when they are trying to fill a spot, shop the position to every company they contract with, but Siemens like J&J has pushed this… Read more »

Paul C
Guest
Paul C

Shaun: I thought I would add another tidbit that is not necessarily the province of Indian recruiters. Many of the staffing agencies, to include those that are American owned that recruit for the big banks and the investment banks in NYC are now requiring what is called a “professional day.” A Professional day is considered 8-10 hrs. MINIMUM and I’ve been told that if contractors balk and try to leave after 8 hrs. because the professional day rate reduces the hourly rate by 20%, they are generally shown to the door. I tell staffing agencies that state that the client… Read more »

Dozer
Guest
Dozer

I am utterly appalled by the situation with Indian recruiters. Practically every SAP job posting on Dice is by an Indian recruiter, and the rates are such that a full time position pays more. Why would anyone sign up for this? How is this sustainable? Effectively, this lower rates for contractors while also reducing wages for full timers and potentially results in off shoring. They wonder where all the jobs went? America has shot itself in the foot. When you have a cockroach infestation, you can’t blame the roaches, it’s the environment that allowed them to multiply. Friends don’t let… Read more »

Dee
Guest
Dee

Here’s a radical solution to the Indian body shop business: end H1-B programs. I believe it could be done politically. Candidates calling for an end to H1-B worker visas and in fact all skilled visas except in qualified and narrow ‘genius’ programs (which are not H1-B anyway). Federal regulations start with the Federal contractors first: give them 120 days to end their programs starting on a specific date, 30 days for a plan, 90 days for their own program to hire and train American workers. Then spread it to any employer over 1,000 and encourage states to replicate. Oh yes,… Read more »

Goethe
Guest
Goethe

After posting my resume on dice and then reading this post, I came upon a highly applicable quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe translated in the “FIRST GERMAN READER” edited by Harry Steinhauer.
“The pseudo-wise seek to derive some advantage for themselves from every new discovery as quickly as possible by scheming to acquire hollow fame, either through propagation or by increase or by improving or by taking swift possession, perhaps even through pre-occupation, and by such immature behavior they make insecure and confuse true knowledge, indeed they obviously impoverish its finest result, its practical fruition.”

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Guest

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Paul C
Guest
Paul C

I agree with Dee’s proposal above. However, I would make it mandatory for ALL employment and require that the states follow suit under the Federal laws.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

NO, NO NO NO, & NO! I worked with an Indian IT Consultant firm once. I am NOT doing that again. When I did, I was “new” to the workforce. So I didn’t think much & just wanted a job as a software developer. What did I learn from my experience? 1. The company was non-existent. 2. I was underpaid 3. They never answered my questions or gave me straight-forward answers 4. The company’s location was in a banged up outlet mall with no name. An obvious scam! 5. The “president”‘s coworkers were all Indians! What did I learn? I… Read more »

Dee
Guest
Dee

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surely find cheap
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