If you recently posted your resume on to a job board you are likely to be inundated by phone calls or emails from recruiters in India. You are probably wondering how someone sitting in India got your contact details and is offering to get you a job with an American company?
The reason is that like Call Centers and Tech Support, Recruiting is now increasingly being offshored to India. Companies have discovered that Recruiting can be done well enough by employing recruiters offshore for a quarter of the cost of a recruiter in the US and so they are increasingly adopting this model.
People, unlike products are all different- they have different levels of skills, different life and work experiences, motivations, personalities, communications skills or salary requirements. Talking to them gives a recruiter a more human sense of the candidate. While it may be easy to find hundreds of candidates that match the keywords, it still takes two humans (recruiters and candidates) talking, to determine the best match between the job and a candidate. (until Artificial Intelligence solves this problem)
India has a trained, technical and large English speaking population that has experience in customer service, technical support and this made it ideal for recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Indians were already familiar with technology jobs, US culture and US companies so it was a very easy switch. Lots of Indians moved from lower paying call-center jobs (cost centers for US companies) to recruiting which are profit centers and therefore pay much better.
There are also more industry specific reasons driving this offshoring
In the old days and in the small company sector today, staffing companies have Sales persons call on companies, find open positions, have their recruiters find a couple of potential candidates and the hiring manager would hire one. Large companies have changed how they run their contingent staffing programs by hiring Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who are outsourced providers that manage the hiring of contract workers on behalf of the company. Large companies now bulk submit their open requirements to an MSP company with a daily list of open requirements. MSPs then transmit these requirements to a list of their preferred staffing companies. The staffing companies are expected to submit 2-3 candidates for each position resulting in each open position requiring 20-30 candidate resumes. If staffing companies can't keep up with the demand, they could get booted from the program.
So now there are 10 recruiters from 10 different staffing companies, looking for candidates that have a few keywords matched between resumes and the job descriptions. These recruiters are trying to hit their numbers in submissions. The really bad agencies/recruiters would rather spam the 100 keyword matched candidates, and hope that they get a few valid candidate responses from them, not caring about the 98 others that they disappointed. This leads to the frustrating incidents like offering ridiculous positions, rates or locations without even checking what the candidate is looking for as it takes time to read the resume. Multiply this by the millions of contractors that are placed in the US each year and you realize the scale of the problem.
Indian-American owned staffing companies are now some of the largest players in the US staffing industry and are often selected by Fortune 500 companies and government agencies who need to meet Federal targets of spending a certain amount of their purchases with minority owned businesses. Indian American owned companies also have a strong pool of H1b visa consultants that are needed to fill some of the most in-demand positions. These companies do the bulk of their recruiting through recruiters in India as they already have offices in India. Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai are the top locations for such recruitment centers.
Top Fortune 500 companies like Bank of America, Capital One, US Govt. entities, Multinational Consulting companies like Accenture and Deloitte, American staffing companies like Teksystems and KForce and Indian outsourcing companies like Infosys and Wipro have outsourced sourcing and recruiting to specialist Recruitment firms like Randstad, Addecco, etc. Many of these companies have expanded operations to India or use smaller India based RPOs.
For many of the consulting companies, staffing is not really a profitable offering and is done to get their foot in the door and then get the customer to convert that project into an offshore project, which is far more profitable. So they don't treat staffing as a competency that they need to build but something that they can outsource and use a subcontracting agency for.
However, with the high demand, competition, and low barrier to entry there are now a growing number of sketchy recruiting shops setup by ex-recruiters or businesses that hire anyone and play fast and loose with regards to spamming, lying about jobs, subcontracting layers or even embellishing resumes and work authorization papers.
Some inexperienced and unprofessional recruiters can be very curt and aggressive since they are hiding behind an anonymous telephone number and working for some unknown subcontracting company that doesn't need to be accountable.
There are a lot of good recruiters that can actually help you get great positions. You just need to be able to filter out the good recruiters from the bad. The following tips may help you separate the good recruiters from the bad.
If it is a contract position, first ask the recruiter if they are a Direct Vendor to the End-Client and who the End Client is? Most good recruiters will tell you clearly who they work for and who the client is.
You can also ask them who their 'Implementation partner' (code for Tier 1 vendor) is? If they say they are working through an Implementation Partner like HCL or Tech Mahindra, they are a subcontractor. Even though they sound really interested and eager to submit you, they will most likely just take your resume and dump them to the Tier 1 vendor and in most cases you'll never hear from them again. The reason they do this is a case throwing crap at the wall and hoping something sticks. They'll submit 100s of resumes to the Tier 1 companies and if even one of their candidates gets selected, they've hit a jackpot and get a referral fee. The followup in such cases if it ever happens will come from the Tier 1 vendor.
The best recruiters (in US or India) typically work for reputed staffing companies in the US. If their company is listed on OnContracting along with a list of clients, it means they are a verified staffing agency and they might be a legitimate option for you to get a contract job at one of their clients. If you don't see any direct clients listed on OnContracting, they are very likely a subcontracting company.
The better recruiters get straight to the point.
They will know the right way to say the job title (ES Ay P and not sap)
They will know that Santa Clara is in the South San Francisco Bay area and will be hard to get to from San Francisco or that Irvine means the job is in LA.
They won't hesitate in telling you about the client, the skills that are required, the rate they can pay, and how soon you can expect feedback or an interview.
Many good recruiters will be able to tell you about the Manager and what exactly they are looking for. A subcontractor's recruiter on the other hand will say things like 'I don't know' or 'I only know' or "I'll have my Account Manager get back to you".
Look for such staffing agencies and highly recommended recruiters on OnContracting to save yourself the trouble.