H-1B: Offshoring bites back (or just bites?)

So what’s new with offshoring IT work nowadays? Have overseas costs begun to outstrip the value of offshoring? Has the U.S. economy triggered re-thinking the offshore strategy?

I’ve contended for a long time that as technical “stars” start to develop their careers in India and elsewhere, they’re not gonna be very happy staying on the farm… they’re gonna want to go live in the nice American enclaves, with nicer houses, more amenities, more… well, all the great stuff that stars deserve…

Then the whole low-cost-labor strategy flips around… and those stars move to the U.S. and… start their own shops here.

Well, tomorrow seems to be here today. A reader sends along this link from FierceFinanceIT: Time to sell India-based units? Note the controversy about how “Indian firms are up in arms about the Congressional proposal that would prevent companies with more than 50 percent of H-1B or L-1 visas from receiving additional visas.”

Who told you this was gonna blow up in somebody’s face? 4 Indian companies in the U.S. own more H-1B visas than the next 50 American companies have as a group.

Funny the role economics play in upending stupid policies.

Jobs, jobs everywhere

Toby Dayton nails the problem: Jobs, jobs everywhere, but not an offer to be had. Twitter is the new channel — companies are paying to tweet their jobs? Coke oughta get into the act: Post them under bottletops or on can lids. (Who cares if the job gets filled by the time you flip the lid? TheLadders doesn’t care about stale jobs; why should Coke?)

Look, don’t screw around. Own your own channel for advertising: buy a shirt fromt this guy. At least, when all is said and done, you have a shirt.

TheLadders wins a Webby!

A reader just called my attention to this, and by gawd, he’s right! The Webby Awards has awarded the Webby for Best Employment Web Site to… TheLadders!

Thought I’d celebrate by highlighting one of the recent posts (April 28) on this blog about TheLadders!

The Ladders posted a job in February for an IT Management job at Finish Line
in Indianapolis. I applied, and got a phone interview.

The interviewer asked me what salary range I was looking for. When I told
him 100 to 110 he appologies. He told me the position was only paying $76k
at max.

I paid for my “TheLadders” membership. Now they automatically renewed my
membership for the next 3 months for $75 and make it a point that the DO NOT
PROVIDE REFUNDS. We’ll see about this.

How do you spell SCAM?

Congratulations to TheLadders! And many thanks to that bastion of Internet Quality, The Webbys!

Double-0 Headhunters!

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Three years ago I reported on Deceptive Recruiting: HR’s last stand? The column was about John Sullivan and his sidekick Michael Homula, and their anything-goes, slimeball recruiting methods, all done up nice and pretty with a case study and many self-congratulatory pats on the back.

This week, The Wall Street Journal features the latest in rip-roaring, on-the-edge recruiting stories in Snack Vendor — or Undercover Job Recruiter? To Fill That Open Position, These Guys Go to Extremes; Stalking on the Ski Slopes.

Look out, boys and girls, these headhunters are exciting, daring, and they watch a lot of 007 movies. Some are ready to hang upside down from a tree like a monkey when you pass by. Why else would the esteemed Journal do a story about them? Headhunting is actually pretty boring, if you do it right. (Employers, listen up: Beware lest you retain a headhunter who turns you into the horse’s ass in the rear-view mirror.)

Let’s see what we’ve got here… and please post your own stories if you can beat these from the Journal… Think you know how to judge a headhunter?

One headhunter poses as a food-truck guy to spy on top talent at nearby companies. Another stalks an exec into the Montana wilderness to pitch a job while the guy’s fishing. Then there’s the headhunter who pays off a janitor to get a CEO’s phone number — for the phone in the exec’s private john. (“Uh, how would you like to talk about a new job? Or should I wait while you tug on the Charmin’?”) How about the headhunter who sits for a day-long shoe-shine, after he learns where his quarry gets his shoes polished, so they can “bump into” one another? The recruiter who poses as a waiter, approaches the candidate in a restaurant, and slips him a note offering $500 if he’ll talk?

Had enough? Wait — there are headhunters who will huff along behind you on mountain-biking trails (“Fancy meeting you here!”) and play ski patrol on the slopes, waiting for you to fall (“Can I help you get up?”)

Then there are headhunters who are boring, respected, respectful… and when they leave a message, execs return their calls.

: :

People are our most important asset!

Every day, somewhere in America, the chairman of a corporation stands in front of the stockholders, pounds his or her fist on the podium, and proclaims, “People are our most important asset!”

Meanwhile, back at the Human Resources office, a personnel jockey is shoving resumes through a key-word scanner like so many soup cans at the grocery checkout.

People are our most important asset.

Yah. Between a company’s public relations, investor relations, human resources, and marketing departments, American business has turned into a voice-mail menu system where your call is very important to us, and thank you for holding while we figure out what the hell to do with you.

Yah. You’re as important as the poor suckers who work for us and as important as the professional community from which we recruit… more suckers.

A reader drove this home for me the other day. Here’s the story of one “most important asset“:

Ford Motor Company ranks employees on a 4-tier scale which estimates how much management potential they have. I was a 4, the lowest. Essentially, an engineer forever. People almost never changed tiers… as though (imagine!) managers didn’t want to admit they might make a mistake in their initial rating of people.

Tier 1’s were “golden children” — they could screw up massively, but they still got promoted. Anyway, after finding out I was a 4, I wanted to move up the list, so I found Ford’s “Leadership Profile” web page — what they said they wanted in their employees as traits of future leaders. Things like: Read more

Craft an experiment

Ask The Headhunter is loaded with critiques about resume writers, Human Resources, career counselors, career coaches, headhunters, and every denizen of the career industry — including extreme career consulting, a.k.a., executive marketing. It’s simple: the industry lends itself to quacks and quick-buck artists. And there are a lot of them. But there are a lot of good practitioners, too. You just need to know the difference.

Nah, I’m not going to try and show you how to figure it out. I get taken by surprise myself sometimes, thinking someone’s a quack, and they turn out to be very insightful and helpful. All I can suggest is, check their references. (Yah, check their references! Turnabout is fair play. And smart.) Talk to their clients. Talk to companies who know them. Know who you’re working with.

(Okay, here’s one tip. Like headhunters, really good counselors know they’re operating in a field full of jargon and tools and techniques that are sometimes over the top. They approach their black art with a bit of black humor. They poke and prod before they administer their potions, and they might turn their clients upside down and shake them out to get a better look. They’re fun to work with. No fun, no dice.)

One of my buddies in the counseling biz manages a coaching program for a big non-profit called the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, where adventurous students earn MBA’s. Sara Tucker glows with enthusiasm, slides down bannisters, and makes career change sound like, well, something more than you expected it to be… I’d pay her for advice in a snap, but you can’t hire her — she’s too busy at Anderson coaching MBA students and alumni. (You could get an Anderson MBA, get a session with Sara, and move on, but that would probably embarrass her, seeing as it would be the most expensive coaching session on record…)

Anyway, I’m not offering any tips today, but I want you to see what career counseling is really all about. Pay attention; there’s a quiz afterwards. This video will perpare you for working with a counselor, and it will teach you that Lesson #1 is, you shouldn’t try to teach a pig how to dance. I’ll tip you off that Sara is just acting — portraying another counselor, Carrie Jameson, who crafted her own experiment and moved into another field… This is how one counselor says goodbye to another. But that’s beside the point. Remember, there’s a quiz.

Quiz: Complete the following sentence.

The point of career counseling is…

a) to get so good at it that you can use what you’ve learned to change careers.
b helping pigs find the right mudpit and giving them permission to roll around in it with impunity.
c) sliding down bannisters.
d) trying to figure it all out, no matter what it does to your brain.
e) none of the above. The real point is _________________________.

BONUS: Answer this one for 5 extra points, using terms introduced in the video.

What does it mean to craft an experiment?

Please post your answers below in the Comments box, and provide a full explanation. If you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs, indicate your type. If you just want a job, any job, skip the quiz and this post, and go to Monster.com. Or, you could go to TheLadders, but read this first. Happy careering!

(Best wishes to Carrie in her new nursing career. Many thanks to Sara for her sense of humor. Special thanks to the camera operator for panning across the bookshelf far enough to get the spine of my book into the video… yah, I replayed that part a few times, sorry.)

The salary dog

James Maguire at Datamation (the oldest IT publication this side of a PDP-11 manual) pointed me to glassdoor.com and asked what I think of this new web site that gathers and reports salary information in the information technology industry. His article is a fun read: IT Salaries: Glassdoor Reveals Tech Pay Figures.

This web site — funded by Benchmark Capital and run by guys from places like Expedia who oughta know better — collects tech-industry salary information from anyone who submits it. Maguire didn’t tell me this, but I heard a rumor that every morning a dog appears at glassdoor.com with a note in its mouth, and is promptly fed, stroked, and sent back out to fetch more data…

Come on, guys. This is ridiculous. But I’ll bite. Having information about who’s earning what at which companies could be useful, as long as you don’t let it effectively cap your own worth. Of course, glassdoor.com needs to make it over one big hurdle: Is the salary information it publishes legit?

Maguire asks this one question every which way, and my hat is off to the guy for keeping a straight face. And here’s a sample of the answers he got:

“We’ve got a bunch of technical and procedural mechanisms to vet the data.” When pressed, one of the founders demurs, “We’re not really talking about the specifics that we’re using.” (Cough-cough.)

Even Ambrose Bierce, owner of a recipe once more closely guarded than the formula for Coca Cola, revealed more than that, in Oil of Dog.

Let’s continue: Read more

Monster bash: Jeff Taylor ROCKS

Okay, I’m a sucker for dirt on Monster.com and its ilk. And I love to share it. A reader sent this along, after attending the annual CIO Conference sponsored by the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC), held in Princeton, NJ on March 28. (CIO’s are Chief Information Officers — the top information-technology dogs, at their companies.)

I recently heard the founder of Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, speak. Of course, he’s a successful millionaire and quite full of himself, sporting the obligatory dot-com founder’s “edgy” look — gel-spiked hair, salt-and-pepper goatee, trendy thick-framed sunglasses with vertical stripes (yes, I’m serious). He exhorted the audience to chant in unison, “WE ROCK!” and “HALLELUJAH!” to his callouts — as though we were in church — and insisted we take our shoes off and point them at anyone who hadn’t done so, to make his point about adopting new ideas. Although he’s retired from Monster and was there to hawk his new company, he of course traded on his fame as the founder of the “incredibly successful” Monster.com “job board.”

One problem. Read more


If you’re going to mail out hundreds of resumes to people you don’t know, or post your credentials on some web site, you might as well stand on a busy street corner and just hand out your resume to random passersby. You’re just as likely to find a job either way. That’s what I tell people who use conventional job hunting methods, and I figure I’m making my point. But there’s nothing I can think of that someone hasn’t already done…

Larry Dinsmore stands on corners with his resume plastered on his back. While I don’t know whether someone’s going to hire him right there on the street, he is doing something smart. Larry is meeting and talking to people, which beats staring at a computer screen and waiting for an employer to magically appear with an interview invitation. (This time-honored strategy was invented by personnel jockeys, aka “recruiters”, in big companies who sit on their butts waiting for the perfect candidate to magically appear on their pc screens. Nice work if you can get it.) Read more