Bangalore March 25, 2005
Praveen Bose False claims of experience and certificates have come back to haunt the HR managers of software firms again, thanks to the boom in the sector. With no dearth of people wanting to join a top IT company, some go to any extent of trying to ‘sneak’ in through straightforward false representation. The menace was last seen during the late 90s when the industry raced towards the dotcom boom. With companies again rushing to fill vacancies in the least possible time, there is no dearth of pretenders claiming to possess good software skills. “Forgery is again becoming common,” says Madan Padaki, co-founder of MeriTrac, an HR consulting firm that assesses candidates for firms. “This is primarily rampant among software professionals in the 1-5 years of experience band and not so much in other areas like IT infrastructure management or sales professionals,” Satish Chandra R, head - resourcing, Wipro Infotech, says. Synergy Infotech faced a peculiar problem when a software major headquartered in New Jersey contacted them to verify the credentials of a candidate who had applied to them. The individual had produced a relieving letter on the letterhead of Synergy Infotech. On verifying, Synergy discovered that no such person ever existed on their rolls and the letter was forged. “Currently we ensure that we do reference checks for all our new recruits. And during reference checks, we take care that we insist on switchboard phone numbers of the companies where the referee works instead of mobile numbers. This will ensure genuineness of the process,” added Chandra. This was not always the case and even now not everybody is so careful. Recalls Chiranjit Banerjee, general partner of PeoplePlus Consulting; “It was the H1B visa hunt during the body shopping era that set off the creative CV writing industry in India.” Candidates were short listed on the basis of their CVs that were often doctored (even by employers) and final selection was done through a telephonic interview. Hyderabad emerged a front-runner in this. In their hurry to deploy onsite resources for Y2K, US sponsors often did away with a personal interview of the potential candidate. Today, things are more organized with job sites and recruitment consultants. But these professional players only added “finesse” in the dressing up of candidates’ CVs. Indian IT companies are also a part of the game “showcasing their resources, whose who can barely speak two sentences of error-free English as champions to their US and other foreign clients.” To stop the menace, Padaki suggests some preventive steps. First is basic resume screening where a technical person does the screening and tries to detect any disconnects in the claims of the candidate. Then comes another step of test through technologies. These tests filter out the not-so-genuine candidates. Next comes CV validation. There is a template for each type of job and the requirements for it. As a proactive measure, Wipro Infotech used an external agency to do the background checks. This is done on a random basis to check the authenticity of the educational qualifications and the last two work experiences. Says Kulkarni: “If every sector grows uniformly and if there is an all-round boom, then such situations do not arise.” There are enough jobs for everyone to be happy without recourse to creative CV writing. But when individual sectors boom, all that companies can do is to be extra careful and vet CVs more rigorously.