Grossly exaggerated resumes secure jobs for most in Indian IT/BPO

"Conceptualized, planned and executed the anti-terrorist operation during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks" read a part of a former army officer's resume who has recently established contact with me. For one, he made it seem that he did it all by himself with minimum or no supervision at all when the reality is that National Security Guards (NSG) is always helmed by an IPS officer and never by an armed forces officer, as a tradition. Secondly, there is no scientific way to verify this claim as the operation was covertly planned and the blueprint would be gathering dust in a classified archive. Besides, other officers who were a part of this counter strike may not be amenable to divulging the nuts and bolts of the strategy including the key personnel involved to a third party, particularly a pesky background checker from one of the thousands of background verification firms that have sprouted like an unconstrained rash across India.

One can cut some slack to the superannuated officer of the exaggerated resume fame since he has obviously not been groomed to "nuance" his career highlights by professional CV writers and/or interview coaches but what about the average Joe in the IT/BPO space? Read between the lines of a resume of a junior level staff of any IT and BPO company and you will observe that in more than 60% of the cases, the individual has probably inserted the KPIs of his skip level manager, not merely his direct boss. Almost everyone in the outsourcing industry is trying to jump the queue as if these companies will evaporate in the next five years and the time to cash in is here and now. Knowing how mechanical the background verification process in India is, chances are that such CVs escape all filters. Add to that the complicity between managers of hiring companies and background screening firms and you have a recipe for even guys with totally fabricated CVs being hired. Business Today had flagged corrupt recruiting practices in IT & ITeS companies in a cover feature about four years back but nobody seems to have taken note of the pitfalls at play. 


On another note, the retired soldier's projection of himself as somewhat akin to a Rambo like figure rather than the regular Indian army officer who spends most of his career wrestling with an uncaring bureaucracy that denies him even the most basic creature comforts while deputed to a hostile terrain during service and adds insult to injury by doing continuous U turns on the rightful "One Rank, One Pay" demand of retired soldiers. Still, what a CV with such tall claims does is to provoke humor among those who review it and simultaneously takes away from the awe that most citizens (barring the majority of politicians, bureaucrats and anti national elements) hold the armed forces in.

While many of the operations of the Indian armed forces are now carried out in the glare of news hungry 24x7 TV channels, corporates continue to operate in relative stealth. Till a whistle blower comes along, TV viewers and print media readers hardly ever get to know of the innards of a company unless of course, one buys the painfully rehearsed statements from CXOs during earnings sessions as the gospel. After all, did not our paid media feature crooks like Harshad Mehta, B R Ratnakar, M J PherwaniChain Roop Bhansali & Ramalinga Raju on their covers repeatedly? 

So even as the former NSG officer gets singled out for his Superman like boasts, the scheming IT professional with a craftily scripted CV and a faceless executive presence melts into the mosaic of a technology company where managers often don’t know their subordinates by name or face or both, thanks to alarming attrition rates as well as a marked disinclination not to physically connect with staff.

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