Incredible stories about impostors and why these incomprehensible practices appeared at the interviews
A typical candidate in the version of overly zealous "hunters for impostors"
A few days ago, Philippe fillpackart Rankin published an article under the heading " Enough to suspect the developers of imposture. Learn to better interview ", In which he raised a very acute problem for the industry inadequate interviews. I read it, I was horrified, I read it again and thought: "Why does this stuff happen?" With this question, I went to a pair of familiar HR specialists and director of Crossover Russia Vladimir vme Yeronin (which eventually resulted in an article in the blog) and, as it turned out, the feet of such unpleasant and incomprehensible practices grow, as usual, not from our own hiring culture.
Unfortunately, the trend for blind copying of everything and everything, "so that it was no worse than in the West," is alive in 2018 as well. And if in foreign companies such things can somehow be justified by closing their eyes to the degree of marasmus, then for Russia and the CIS many of the mechanisms developed by overseas counterparts are generally inapplicable. That's just not all HR-specialists and managers understand this.
In fact, in our region, in fact, there are almost no impostors, and everything that Philip Rankin wrote in his article is fair. I do not know whether this is due to the culture or general level of shame that is inherent in our society, but almost all the stories I heard were related to people from Asia and Hindustan.
So, if you think that impostors in IT do not exist and nobody will have the right to pass an interview on Senior Java without having sufficient skills, then welcome to the cat, I'll surprise you.
Ferdinand Demara - the greatest impostor in history.
I think many heard about this character who, through forgery of documents, deception and even staging his own suicide, appeared and subsequently worked as a civil engineer, deputy sheriff, prison director, psychologist, lawyer, teacher and even a surgeon on a warship (and conducted several successful operations and stopped the epidemic!), without even having a secondary education. The list of "professions" of Demara is extremely extensive. But Ferdinand's story is an exception, in which the impostor possessed exceptional resourcefulness, phenomenal memory and, more often than not, coped with his role.
Modern impostors, basically, are looking for only large and easy money with minimal effort. And they can be obtained in IT, it is important only to hold out for a couple of weeks, especially if the work is remote.
History number 1. The Java developer pipeline
Offline impostors are less and less. They have to spend their own resources, you can pierce at an interview, and then you need to go to work. And if the fraud opens in an uncomfortable time, then you can
The hero of this story comes from India. Objectively, it's hard for Europeans to distinguish not only Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and so on, but in general all people from southeast and central Asia. We used to pay attention to other features of appearance, no racism, just a fact.
In Crossover, faced with a situation where, at a certain point, Java developers of different levels (right up to the Senior) began to mass fail in the first weeks of work, which are allotted to the so-called On-board or banal understanding of the project. All the magic of the situation was that at the stage of the interviews everything was fine! And the tests passed well, and during the interview with the immediate supervisor, the candidate showed confident knowledge and full prof. availability! I had to understand.
First it was revealed that all developers who suddenly forgot everything they knew about Java and in general about IT were from India. At the disposal of managers were resumes, photographs and random shots from the staff webcam. Verification of documents did not reveal any crime: quite real people, with different surnames, age and so on.
The fraud was revealed quite simply. One of the hiring managers looked more attentively at his "developer" who suddenly "forgot" everything he knew at the interview, and realized that this was not the person with whom he had spoken before starting work, although very similar to him.
Tests and interviews were held by a real specialist, and a specialist of a sufficiently high level. He found compatriots resembling himself, after which he applied for Java positions on their behalf, which he lacked in Crossover, applied CVs to other people's photos, knowing that there were many Europeans and Americans in the company and successfully passed all the interviews. Since the onboarding period is 100% paid from the first day, the thing was more small: the impostors needed to simulate the activity as long as possible, so that they would not have questions for at least a couple of weeks (payment takes place weekly). Thus, a very real specialist collected a whole "mini-OPG", which was pretending to be developers, getting a real salary for it. Thus, about 10 people were "employed".
The saddest thing in this situation is not even financial losses, but temporary losses. The timing of development, of course, was not disrupted, but the situation turned out to be unpleasant. And it was not revealed right away, simply because no one could even imagine that such a scheme was possible at all.
History number 2. Difficulties of translation
Tell me honestly, everyone is happy with the transliteration of his name-surname in official documents? I'm constantly confronted with the fact that instead of Aliaksandr (translit from the Belarusian), I'm called to call Alexandr, Alexander, Aliaksander and so on, who is in that much. Once I was even nearly allowed on the plane, because the inviting party did not believe the photos of the passport's reversal and decided that I should be "Alexandr", good, I was accustomed to such accidents in my native airline and put on board. And if you have the letter "I" in the name or surname, then there is a hell going on, from the banal "Y" to the combinations "IA", "YA" and even "JA".
Another loophole developer used this loophole. Well, he was not an impostor in the full sense of the word, yet the person was an expert, but the greed for profit was stronger than the voice of conscience.
Once a Pakistani man noticed that he has two different identity documents, in which his name-surname is written a little differently. An ordinary person would either change one of the documents, or decided not to exploit this "vulnerability", but not our hero.
He filed two applications for his profile, attaching various documents, according to which it turned out that the position was submitted by two different candidates. Our Pakistani man successfully passed the testing and the interview phase, after which he started working on "two fronts". The situation adds to the fact that even though he got into different teams, he managed to get under the same development manager (who supervised several teams at the same time), which slightly accelerated the process of disclosing fraud.
Unlike less clever cheaters, our Pakistani was aware of both the tracker and the possibility of shooting from a webcam, so he approached the process of double employment with the mind. At different positions, he worked at different times, changed his appearance a little through his hair, put the laptop at different angles for the "developer number 1" and "developer number 2" in order to reduce similarities, stably changed before the start of work.
It ruined him that a person is physically unable to work productively 80 hours a week (two to 4? of course). And if his first "avatar" showed acceptable code, then the second force was not enough. He worked in this mode for a little over a month. Perhaps the Pakistani would have retained one of his positions and would have been fired for only the second, where there were drawdowns based on the results, but it was ruined by the fact that, as mentioned earlier, he managed to get under the leadership of one person. When the manager began to analyze what was happening, he looked into the documents and looked more closely at his two unstable beginners, the deception unfolded.
History number 3. Twin brothers
Everyone in his childhood dreamed of a twin brother who would go to school for him. There are also stories when the twins exploited their similarity and one of them was blown away for two at the exam or at interviews. Approximately the same situation happened with two twin brothers from India, which we have already mentioned.
It all began quite everyday. New candidate, tests, interview, successful start of work. However, in a few weeks something strange began to happen: the developer turned off the tracker, returned in a few hours and instead of the excellent code began to write some strange game. Then this phase stopped, the tracker was turned off, and the "next" cycle was returned to a "good" developer-professional.
To the shame of management, the first thought was that the guy drank black, that's just thumping. Then, in a drunken state, he sits down, he gets something completely wild, he goes to sleep, after which he recalls everything that he knows about working out on a sober head. And during the interview, the candidate denied in every way the fact that he periodically falls into an inadequate state, and his calls and correspondence with him spoke about the fact that the version with alcohol or other substances is untenable.
After careful investigation, analysis of correspondence and activities, it was possible to scrape together the arguments in favor of the fact that two different people work from one account and take the brothers to clean water. On a completely logical question, why it was necessary for a professional brother who was quite a good developer, the last clear answer could not be given.
Instead of morality
In general, there are very few impostors in the CIS territory. There are "great combinators" in our society, which, following the precepts of the classics, are making progress to their thorny paths, but their number fluctuates at the level of statistical error. And there are more than enough other than IT for their activities.
Personally for myself, I made a simple conclusion: the fight against impostors in IT appeared initially in large companies, which are interviewed by hundreds of people every week, including remotely. Hence, stupid questions, and several stages, and testing. In the case of large organizations that are constantly in need of developers and are experiencing staff shortages, this approach is partially justified: it is much easier for an impostor to get lost in a dense stream of candidates during an interview with a large international organization.
Therefore, when Western companies entered the international remote labor market, they began to look for ways to identify incompetent job seekers and cut them off at the interview stage. The only problem is that a bad example is contagious, and the realization, more often than not, is lame on both legs.
All HR, with whom I spoke, unanimously state that many companies in the CIS openly go too far in terms of searching for impostors. Infinite adventurers are typical for less prosperous regions. And if in Russia the vacancy with salary fork from 6 to 10 thousand dollars causes suspicion and skepticism, they say, "there is a catch! I can smell it! ", Then in India, Pakistan or conditional Bangladesh this same vacancy with the same fork raises excitement and elements of mass hysteria. Just because for them a weekly check of 1000-2000 dollars equals earnings per year and for the sake of its receipt many are ready for anything.
Interviews in small and medium-sized companies with the presence of a physical office, which are built on the principle "we are trying to weed out impostors" generally do not make any sense, as there is no point in limiting developers in using search engines. A developer is a person who has not only a large amount of knowledge, but also the ability to quickly find and interpret information found. It's trite because programming languages are constantly evolving, new tools, frameworks and practices are emerging. So if you are asked at an interview obtuse, in your opinion, questions, you need to look at the size of the company.
If the company is large (international), then, most likely, this is a general regulation for all branches and, it is likely, even the interviewer will not be delighted with what is happening. But if the company does not pull the international one, then, unfortunately, you faced tycoons who visited a couple of overseas trainings, read some smart books for hire, but did not understand that everything written and told is not about them. Have not grown yet. That's from these employers really should run without looking back.
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