IT staffing companies are facing an incredibly hard problem of fake and inflated resumes of candidates that are desperate for jobs. While employers are increasingly turning to IT staffing and IT consulting companies to fill short term positions, this problem could result in companies giving up on using contractors- hurting the entire IT staffing industry.
These are the main reasons for the problems of fake resumes and what could be done to avoid them
When jobseekers are desperate for jobs and get rejected or never hear back when they apply because they lack a skill or the number of years of experience, some job seekers feel they might as well inflate their resume because in their minds, they start justifying, the job description is just a way to filter and unfair because really what difference does a couple years experience make and they may qualify if they include a few projects they did in school or on weekends. Then there are outright cheats who completely fabricate experience in the hopes of getting an interview call and somehow make it through the interview.
The reason for this is that Hiring Managers are notorious for asking for too much. It is unrealistic in today's hot labor market to expect highly skilled and experienced workers willing to eschew a fulltime job with health benefits, paid vacation and job security and instead work as contractors. Contractors are mostly people looking to 'break in' to a company, learn a new skill, just relocated, got laid off or teminated, or have some personal issues and contracting while they keep looking for a permanent job. While some contractors may be highly skilled and just prefer consulting, these are a very rare minority.
So if you are a hiring manager or recruiter, you need to realize that just taking a fulltime job description and posting its as a contract job is not going to work. Temper your requirements. If you need a senior developer, don't just say 10 years experience because you hope it will filter out people.
Companies are squeezing their vendors. For example in-demand clients like Apple and Walmart are asking for a 10+year experienced Java Developers in the San Francisco Bay area for $75-85/hr through a staffing agency. This means the staffing agency can only pay the contractor $50-60/hr which is at least 25% lower than the market rate.
To get a really qualified candidate the agency will need to charge the client at least $100/hr minimum. Unable to meet the customer's demand, some unethical staffing agencies especially the subcontractors to the large IT Consulting companies like TekSystems, KForce, or Infosys resort to embellishing a candidate's 5 years experience into 10 years experience. They figure in the best case the fraud doesn't get discovered and in the worst case they don't get the job.
To figure out realistic costs, clients should look at their fulltime employee's (FTE's) cost to company and base their contractors rates based on that. CFOs might want to clarify to Procurement to keep rates sustainable for long term goodwill with the best contractors and staffing agencies.
H1b and OPT visas
Candidates on H1b visas that are in between jobs and OPT visa (a visa that International students get when they graduate) candidates looking for their first job are the most desperate and often willing to inflate their resumes with credentials and experience they don't have. Subcontractors to Tier 1 staffing firms often lure these desperate candidates to inflate their experience in an effort to meet the low bill rates they need to meet.
The only solution here is for companies to require their staffing agencies to screen such candidates with serious consequences if any agency is discovered employing a 'cheat'. The Govt on its part should relax rules on transfer of visa holding candidates from job-to-job.
Large offshore companies like TCS, Wipro and Infosys have to fill hundreds of local positions everyday and don't have the ability to get visas for bringing employees from India. They also can't afford local consultants because the margins would be very low compared to their offshore resources and so they have to rely on the smaller sub-contracting companies that engage in unethical fudging of experience.
The solution here is for clients to stop allowing sub-contracting completely including for SOW engagements.
Job Board Anonymity
Job boards are anonymous and it is easy for fake resumes to be distributed with impunity. The worst case is that the candidate may clear the interview- perform poorly on the job and be fired, but if he/she works out, it is a very profitable engagement. The risk reward for resume inflation encourages some contractors to try this approach. Linkedin is somewhat reliable because profiles are public but is also now getting affected by this spam now. The only hope is for some sort of a trusted contractor rating system where the costs of fudging your resume are really high or impractical (like Linkedin).
OnContracting is building a curated freelance on-demand staffing contractor platform to take out the pain of finding good contractors with ease. If a client has a need, it should be as simple as logging into the platform, checking out who is available and trusting the person on the platform can do the job if they say so and their resume is not inflated.