Widespread fraud among outsourcing firms

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

A fascinating read:

The day at the office began with David giving a motivational speech to all the new trainees. Work hard, and the company will take care of you. He was unsure at first too, but now, he’s interviewing at Fortune 500 every day. We must have faith. We can all succeed.

To this day, I still feel that David’s speech was genuine. It felt like he was really speaking out of gratitude.

After the lecture, while eating a bowl of cup noodles, I made a series of searches on Google based on the conversation I had with David the night before. What I saw confirmed my suspicions. Webs of consultancies, sometimes under the same owner, abusing the H1B system, mass producing and dumping “senior” engineers into the market. There were articles and people on forums saying these companies create entirely fictitious resumes filled with all the trendy keywords loved by recruiters and hiring managers. These resumes would contain years of fake experience, endorsed by fake companies, the sponsoring company itself, or other tech staffing companies that are in on the secret. There were also claims about cheating in virtual interviews by swapping candidates.

I thought about what I needed to do next for a minute. Thankfully, I did not need VISA sponsorship. I also had the luxury of being able to fall back on my parents. Although I wasn’t sure if I could score another offer any time soon, it felt too risky to start my career on such a shaky foundation. Before long, I called my parents and booked a flight back home. Then, I began writing down everything I could remember about the last 2.5 days on my laptop.

Later that night, back at the apartment, I greeted Steve as he walked in. He told me he was out clubbing. After a few minutes, I changed the topic to the company’s practice of embellishing people’s resumes.

“What do you mean?” replied Steve.

“You know, I heard from someone here that they make a new resume for you.”

He reluctantly acknowledged that everyone gets the senior engineer title with five years of experience. He also explained, after some persuasion, that they sometimes have someone else sit in virtual interviews behind the laptop camera so they can write out the answers on the whiteboard in case people need help. I asked him if he went through the same process. Understandably, his response was a little defensive in tone.

Yeah, I did. But you have to know that this is just how it is now. You see all the Chinese and Indians out there working in tech? Now you’re telling me they all have five or more years of experience working for companies in America when they haven’t even lived in America for that long? This is just how it is. When they do background checks, they know too. They have to know. Because they see, they see that these people haven’t lived here long enough to have the experience, but they just don’t care. They even get government clearance too! The game is rigged. We just play the game.

He then pulled out the same check he showed me the night before.

You know, I had to fight with them because they wouldn’t pay me right. They kept trying to steal from me. I did the math. I counted up all the hours I’m supposed to be working this year and they were paying me a lot less than what they promised. So I went and talked to them about it and got a new paycheck. But it still didn’t add up right. So I went again and got a new paycheck, again. I’m not saying they’re going to scam you and call it good, you know. But you definitely need to keep your eyes open and make sure they don’t try any of this with you. Their goal is to make money, and you need to make sure they treat you right.

I asked Steve how much money he makes. He said around $50k. He was a green card holder.

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