- Indians are known for poor English skills, but Indians have dominated the US IT recruiting market.
- This article covers how this happened.
Communication is generally considered one of the most essential skills of an IT recruiter and any recruiter. Therefore, the question that needs to be answered is how Indians were able to take over the US IT recruiting market in the space of just a few decades.
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Communicating with Indian Recruiters and for the IT Contract Market
Indian recruiters have poor communication skills. This is not merely “some recruiters,” it is instead every single one that I have dealt with. This should not be surprising, as some Indians speak several languages. While India’s official language, or at least the language of commerce and education in 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 firm 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 ultimately 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 the company weaknesses that eventually brought i2 down. For instance, an Indian director received an email that was not to their advantage, and they would simply not reply to the email. Even if the issue were 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 salespeople and were not interested in having a conversation with anyone knowledgeable on the topic.
However, the problem was far more prevalent with Indians. This is because Indians are fundamentally dishonest. In decades of working with Indians, I have never run into an honest Indian, and the ones that I thought were honest later turned out not to be.
How Could Indians Take Over a Function They Are Terrible at Performing?
Communication is one of the most essential 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 fascinating 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.
Indians could take over the US IT recruiting market because they cheated. They used a strategy of applying corruption and degrading workers’ standards and successfully drove out most US domestic IT recruiters. This has allowed Indian recruiters to apply the same discrimination tactics they apply back in India to the US.