Indians and Lying

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by superstring01, Jul 30, 2012.

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  1. superstring01 Moderator

    I want to phrase this correctly. So I'll give a bit of a back story.

    In January I started my new career as an executive recruiter for the IT industry. I have a specialty in recruiting corporate executives for permanent placement along with hourly contractors in QA, C/C++ Programmers, Network Architects, Business Intelligence Analysts (esp. QlikView) and IBM software suite (Tivoli, AIX & Websphere). It's been an interesting ride and one that has the potential for being a career-til-retirement.

    So, my first day on the job my boss (who's a little crass) says, "Dan. Word of advice. Never trust Indians. They are all liars and will lie to your face and then lie again even if they are caught."

    I thought, "Huh. That was a little racist." And carried on.

    The next week I was at our corporate headquarters and an INDIAN recruiter from Ottawa said to me [to paraphrase], "Dan, this will sound weird, but take it from me as an Indian. Indian contractors will lie through their teeth. They are the biggest liars on earth." Which prompted an interesting conversation as to whether I could trust her.

    Anyhoo, over the past 7 months, I've experienced first hand the unique cultural difference between Americans and fresh-off-the-boat Indians that I'm trying to be scientific about. Some people will knee jerk and call it "being a liar" and -- frankly -- I sympathize. I really don't get some of the deception I get. And I know, some people like to say "stereotypes don't apply to everybody" and I hate to sound like a fucking racist, but it's really hard for me to come up with a single contractor that I've dealt with who I didn't catch in some kind of a lie. Typicals are:
    • Wanting to renegotiate the signed contract after the signature and after the close.
    • Telling me--constantly--that "they missed work for a sick relative and couldn't call."
    • Telling me that they have to fly back to India to get married.
    • Telling me that they were confused (when, in many cases, they read English better than Americans do).
    • Promise to be on time, but are perpetually late.
    I've had exactly 16 Indian contractors on payroll and 5 of them have had to be fired for being late. Another three have been suspended. I've interviewed at least three times that many (in the USA about half of all IT professionals--at least the high end programmers / developers I deal with, are from the Sub-Continent). The actual quality of work is generally good, but every communication with Indians is always them telling me whatever I want to hear, being uber-deferential and then either disappearing off the face of the earth or just coming up with some weird lie. I don't get it.

    Help me grow here. There isn't a "Working With Indians for Dummies" out there.

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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Part of it is a culture-clash thing, what with the telling you what you want to hear and being overly deferential. You kinda got to learn to read between the lines and look for the important cues. It can be a bit subtle, but with some practice you'll pick up on it. Unfortunately you won't be able to see the head-wags over the phone, which are a really important cue.

    Part of it is just that the contracting business has huge turnover, and doubly so the big offshoring companies in India, so the quality of any given team is going to be very uneven, particularly at the outset of projects. This kind of comes with the territory - the whole appeal of contracting people in India is that there are a ton of workers who will work for very little competing for the job, so you're bound to have to deal with some false starts and mismatches. Even the hiring people on that end can only do so much, given the pressure they are under to staff sometimes huge projects from a baseline of zero in a matter of days. The key thing here is that you will want to establish a long-lasting relationship with a set team of contractors, and then everything will go smoothly. It's in the initial phases of setting a project up where you pay all of the downsides of the whole system, in having to run through people that turn out to be flakes/idiots/whatever. Once you've spent a few months weeding them out, you're typically left with a highly competent, reliable team that you can depend on - do everything possible to keep that team!

    If the plan is to spin up new teams all the time and then let them go in a few months when the work ends, then don't bother. Instead, explain to your employers that the costs will be triple what they think, and that the whole thing will take triple the time they expect, because of these issues. Basically, they'll just end up having to re-do all of the work with local hires anyway, only by then they will be that many months further behind schedule. Some of the more impressive contracting houses will actually bill the first round of work on a per-result basis, rather than a per-hour basis, in order to assure you that they will do what it takes to deliver and get your business established with them. They will make this work by simply throwing bodies at the problem until they get enough capable, reliable ones to stick. Then once you have a good team spun up and are getting good results, they'll switch to a per-hour fee basis for the subsequent projects. This can work okay at protecting your initial investment and timeline, but you should still expect a lot of headaches and time spent educating and interacting with the contractors to get them really up to speed on your work.

    Dealing with the time differences on teleconferences is also a real treat...
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  5. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    No, I have seen a book called "working with dumbass racists" though, was that book about you?

    I would like to help you but you don't seem worth the effort.

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  7. Bells Staff Member


    I had written a post that addressed each of the points you had made, but decided against it. It can be summarised more succinctly.

    Have you possibly considered that the American working culture, where apparently no American lies or is ever late (dubious, but that is how you are coming across here) for example, is vastly different to other cultures? Have you given us a comparison to American contractors? No. How about people from other cultures? No. There is no proof of your claims in this thread. Instead, we have you attempting to racially stereotype a whole and very wide and varied group of people based on your supposed experience with just a few and claiming that Indians apparently lie. This site's rules are quite succinct on this matter and I would strongly suggest you acquaint yourself with it:

    6. Hate speech, defined as the vilification of a group of people based on their race, religion, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation etc. is not tolerated on sciforums.

    7. Stereotyping a member based on his or her membership of a group (e.g. his or her race, religion, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation) is unlikely to be conducive to civil discussion and will usually attract moderator attention. It is acceptable to point out similarities and differences among groups, but only as long as this is supported by argument or evidence.

    And sorry, but having a thread titled "Indians and lying" and then commenting about the very few Indians you have interviewed or worked with and claiming they all lie and thus, Indians lie, does not amount to you supporting your argument or providing evidence to support your argument.

    Mod Note

    This thread will be closed pending further Administrative review.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
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