Annoying Recruiters

In a follow-up to my blog post Low-rate recruiters – The bane of my existence, Michael Bramante (website) wrote me a hilarious email that I wanted to share, with his permission.  I have had many similar experiences as his:

I’ve worked alongside plenty of Indians in my career. They’re as likeable and competent as anyone else. Indian recruiters on the other hand are the bane of my existence and the worst thing to happen to the I.T. industry since the black plague. Typically they’re rigged to autodialing terminal/headsets calling from some sweatshop in Mumbai or Bangalore using a U.S. V.O.I.P. number to look as though they’re calling from the U.S.

I unfortunately have had the displeasure of dealing with many of these Indian recruiters. Most of the recruiter calls I get are Indians. Normally the conversations don’t last long. A few times, when I’m bored or out of sheer morbid curiosity, I’ll drag out the discussion until its grisly demise. The following dialogue is a composite of conversations I’ve had with Indian recruiters the elements of which I’ve suffered many, many times. Imagine the recruiter speaking in a rapid fire almost unintelligibly thick Indian accent.

I.R.: Ello this is Ganesh Gupta calling you from A.I.T.R. (Annoying I.T. Recruiters). How are you doing today?
Me: I’m ok.
I.R.: Yes I have a position for you. Are you interested?
Me: It depends.
I.R.: Ello?

For some reason the say ‘hello’ when they mean any number of other things besides hello including: ‘what?’ or ‘would you please clarify?’ or ‘can you hear me?’ I like pretending they mean ‘hello’ as in the greeting.

Me: Hello

I return the ‘greeting’ and they think I can’t hear them or don’t understand what they’re saying.

I.R.: Ello?
Me: Hello
I.R.: Ello?
Me: Hello
I.R.: Ello?
Me: Hello
I.R.: Ello?
Me: Hello

This has actually gone on much longer than this. The passive aggression can be quite satisfying. Eventually I’ll give in and get the conversation back on track by letting them know I can hear them.

I.R.: Yes I have a position for you. Are you interested?
Me: It depends.
I.R.: It depends?
Me: That’s what I said.
I.R.: Ello?
Me: Where is it located?
I.R.: You live in Washington, DC?
Me: Where…is…the…position…located?
I.R.: Yes the position is located in b..boom foc, Wyoming.
Me: I think it’s pronounced ‘Bum F*$k’.
I.R.: Oh sorry yes. Are you interested?
Me: How much does it pay?
I.R.: What is the lowest rate will you accept?
Me: What is the highest rate you are willing to pay?
I.R.: What is the lowest rate will you accept?
Me: What is the highest rate you are willing to pay?
I.R.: What is the lowest rate will you accept?
Me: One million dollars per hour.
I.R.: Ha, ha, oh no. I am sorry the most we can pay you is dollar forty per hour.
Me: One dollar and forty cents per hour?
I.R.: Yes.
Me: One dollar and forty cents per hour?
I.R.: Yes.
Me: I think you mean forty U.S. dollars per hour.
I.R.: Yes.

This is significantly less than I can make anywhere in the U.S. It’s not uncommon for them to say the word ‘dollar’ when they mean that the amount is in U.S. dollars…not rupees.

Me: Is this on a W-2, 1099 or corp-to-corp basis?
I.R.: Yes.
Me: I’m asking you a question. Is the rate on a W-2, 1099 or corp-to-corp basis?
I.R.: Yes.
Me: What is the duration of this project?
I.R.: Hello?
Me: What is the duration of this project?
I.R.: This position is two months.
Me: What is the job title?
I.R.: JAVA developer.
Me: I’m not interested.
I.R.: You are not interested?
Me: I’m not interested because I’m not a JAVA developer. I design and build database systems. I’m not interested in relocating to Bum F*$k, Wyoming. The rate is too low. The duration is too short.
I.R.: We can pay one dollar forty-two per hour.
Me: I’m still not interested.
I.R.: Is the location of Bum F*$k, Wyoming ok?
Me: No.
I.R.: It is not ok?
Me: That’s what I said.
I.R.: But the position is two months.
Me: Two months is too short.
I.R.: Two months is too short?
Me: That’s what I said. Also I’m not a JAVA developer.
I.R.: You are not a JAVA developer?
Me: That’s what I said.
I.R.: Oh I see. Ok thank you. (click)

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
This entry was posted in Consulting, SQLServerPedia Syndication. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Annoying Recruiters

  1. Christopher Weeks says:

    I don’t normally, literally, LOL while reading my RSS feed. But today, I did. Thanks!

    (And just to be clear, it’s funny because it’s true!)

    • Jack Boexe says:

      What is more amazing he obviously could understand what the man was saying. I can’t ever understand their “English”. As far as I know they are asking for my heart to be donated while it is still beating in my chest.

  2. Renee says:

    That is funny and sadly very accurate. The best one for me is when they mispronounce my name again after I’ve corrected them. Click. End of conversation. Also, I am from Wisconsin, trying to make them say Kaukauna and Milwaukee is hilarious. And I make them spell it.

  3. Will Fadel says:

    James, I am still dying of laughter since I read this. I had the same exact “dialogue” you shared on this post numerous times with multiple recruiters. Although the Indians from “New Jersey” seem to stick out the most, I have had similar experiences with “non Indians” as well. Thank you for sharing. This is going up on FB wall.

  4. Steven Neumersky says:

    I do not even answer the calls. If it is that important, they can leave a message……which I will not understand anyway. Emails are just as bad.

    However, as I have gotten older, I really enjoy the entertainment of a passive aggressive approach, and you have nothing to feel guilty about since you are “technically” speaking as if it is a regular conversation.

    Knowing “f**k you” in their native tongue….or maybe, “would you pay your parents the same rate to raise a genius like yourself?”, or “did dad pay the same rate in creating you in the first place?” is a major plus when you want to get your true feelings across. The best thing to do is keep them on the line for ten minutes and, right before they close the deal, ask “Ever watch the show “PUNKED?” THEN HANG UP. THEN, WHEN THEY CALL BACK answer “Pete’s Whorehouse. You provide the bucks, we provide the f**ks.”. If necessary, follow up with “Ello?”…..

    Good luck!

    • HIEU Q PHAM says:

      I told them, in the Hindi dialect that I learned from Google Translator, to shut up (choop pra hoh). It’s pronounced exactly like that.

  5. Jon Tupitza says:

    LOL… I mean I really can’t stop.

  6. Devendra Shirbad says:

    I appreciate healthy humor but after reading this article, at some level I do feel that the article (including follow-up comments) are against (intentionally / unintentionally) the Indian ethnicity. ‘trying to make them say Kaukauna and Milwaukee is hilarious. And I make them spell it.’ and ‘Ever watch the show “PUNKED?” THEN HANG UP’ are definitely not constructive feedback or comments.

    Indian Recruiters might be annoying but a point that you must understand that English is not our first language and if we misspell or pronounce a word wrong, it should be corrected by you (native language speakers) and encouraged further for attempt made.
    According to the most recent census of 2001, 29 ‘languages’ have more than a million native speakers, 60 have more than 100,000 and 122 have more than 10,000 native speakers.
    Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 21 “scheduled languages”.

    India has a rich and most importantly *adoptive* culture. We accepted all these languages and people in a unit called ‘India’. We adopted English language and Western Culture as well. Sadly, the same is not true vice versa.

    • Sudip says:

      Have you got any idea how ‘adoptive’ US is. Recently in a oath ceremony I attended there were 1081 people taking oath for citizenship representing 180 countries. No doubt its called a melting pot. I salute your patriotism but sorry can’t agree with AITRs disturbing. Its a norm in US to send an email and then followup with a telephonic conversation if I show any interest.

    • OverwhelmedbyIndianRecruiters says:

      Really! Now. The US is not adoptive, that’s a laugh. Land of the free, melting and all that happy stuff. Not sure that the fact that Indian having many languages and English not being a native language and the rich culture has anything to do with the annoying recruiters. Yeah we poke a little fun, it’s out of frustration. I am positive Indians to the same about Americans, well I am positive the rest of the planet does it too. The beauty part is Americans don’t take it personally. I will agree Indians are adoptive or a least try to be, maybe better techniques and education dealing with westerners in the IT field.

  7. Steven Neumersky says:

    …..said the guy to the melting pot…….

  8. Will Fadel says:

    Devendra, I agree some reactions here may be considered a bit much. However, for most people the issue is not about Nationality or ethnicity. The reactions elicited here (the way that I see it) are 2 fold: 1) lack of professionalism and 2) the blatant dishonesty. People should not misrepresent themselves to make an honest living.

  9. I totally agree with “Will Fadel”.

    After checking this dialog, I could totally see that, the “I.R.” lacks professionalism, knowledge and basic communication skills. I guess, he seems to be having this conversation only for the sake of his job.

    And after reading this sentence “Me: I’m not interested because I’m not a JAVA developer.”, …. this is funny that I.R. didn’t even care to provide enough information about the call in the first place to “Me”, otherwise this could have been avoided and “Me” could be happy 🙂

    Funny, thanks,

  10. Kim Fernino says:

    This is hilarious!!! I must get 7 or 8 calls per day and I never pick them up. When I listen to the VM, it’s someone claiming to be ‘Steve Jones’ or ‘Felicia White’. Those fabricated American names just as good as Ello…. you made my day – thanks!!!

    • HIEU Q PHAM says:

      I had similar experience, too. After refusing their annoying calls for a while, the I.R’s got wiser and masked out their names to sound like Jeff Mohan or Samantha Pedramine, sort of an “unIndianize” technique to get me to reply to their call, but I really like the iPhone feature of doing its best to convert speech to text before I even actually listen to the messages.

      The questions I have are:

      Why do they have so much connections into our companies (the big ones in particular)? They kept calling me for 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month contracts from Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

      Are US big IT companies running out of domestic choices that they resort to Indian Recruiting firms to bring in resources?

      Where are US recruiting firms for all of these opportunities?

      There must be a reason for all of these self-declared “global talent management” firms to behave this way.

  11. Tom Meta says:

    So true. Forget about providing any paragraph-level response — they won’t understand. And it’s a standard template. Recruiter: what are you looking to make? Me: 150K. Recruiter: client can only do 125K with benefits. Me: OK. I’m getting offers for 150K with benefits so … I’m not interested. Recruiter: what’s the lowest you can go? Me: 150K. Recruiter: How about 140K? Me: I can’t. I’m pursuing other opportunities. Recruiter: OK. How about 145K? Me: sorry. I can’t. Thanks but I’ll pursue other offers. Recruiter: OK. 150K with benefits. Me: I thought you said the client can only do 125K. Recruiter: We are going to take the cost on our end.

    They then send me a covenant not to compete plus a salary confirm. I rewrite the covenant to be less restrictive. I send both back.

    So far, I haven’t had any progress with the jobs from them. Maybe b/c they get someone a lot lower.

    • James Serra says:

      You will never hear back from this recruiter. They are not interested in placing you. They only want your resume. See my blog “Resume Hoarders”.

  12. WhistlePig says:


    Indian recruiters are there for only one thing, they are processing LCA’s for major corps who are looking to acquire cheap labor. They have no job to offer you, there is no job, it has been placed already. It is only the paperwork of invalidating a number of American applicants to process the paperwork with the DOL. Do not answer them! Do not reply because according to our governments convoluted logic declining a job by one applicant is reason enough to import a worker.

    • HIEU Q PHAM says:

      I have been thinking about that governmental mechanism you mentioned. Although I am not easily convinced about conspiracy theories, this one begins to surface in my thought process because of the recent talks about how the filthy rich US companies wanting to legally bring in cheap STEM labors elsewhere using the fabricated reasons of not having enough domestic STEM workers.

      I am only an engineer who has little interest in politics. However, I think political games are catching up with me. Like many other US workers, I take the hit and grind my teeth to keep looking for other opportunities on my own.

      Thanks to our big brothers in Washington D.C who seem to think that we are OK all this time.

  13. Christopher Weeks says:

    Now, that last comment is crazy. As pervasive as the lousy Indian recruiter is, there are also plenty of fine ones. My wife and I, and plenty of people I know are placed by Indian recruiters at least occasionally.

    • WhistlePig says:

      Lol, I am nowhere near as salty as the other comments about the Indians themselves… All I offer is that the 9 out of ten times I am contacted by one it is for the purpose of bringing someones relative to the U.S.

      In general, the American recruiter is easily 10 times as douchey as the foreign counterpart.

      Sure, I was also hired by a large Indian outsourcing firm once too, I worked for them long enough to notice that I was applying for jobs I had no business asking about on the opposite coast so they could process more LCA’s, without even knowing about it.

      I have also been to the foreign worker ghettos maintained by a major cable company such that they can maintain a semi diverse store front, while running the boiler room across town.

      I just don’t talk to them from doing the numbers where I actually end up getting a shot at it, which is funny because supposedly they contacted me in the first place.

  14. Peter says:

    i did go to some offices in India which are mostly related to consulting/ IT. The basic part they miss is we can’t or will not understand what they speak, the accent is terrible (try to copy to be exact). They hire employees for an average of $250/month with basically a little or no communication skills at the least. The pay rate is definitely pathetic for us (employee or consultant as they say).Thanks to their so called implementation partners who are a major part in our IT projects for a long time. The so called clients/Sub-vendors keep a hefty share of the consultants pay rate and offer a pathetic rate to the vendor companies, who in return try “fishing” in any of the job boards for a much lower pay rate which includes their part of profit share as well . I say we should blame the companies for outsourcing the projects and even if they do, they should make sure to employ guys who can speak proper English and make it easy for us even if we get us a job or not. i don’t blame anyone based on their ethnicity or nation.

  15. AngryBird says:

    It is the biggest scam , I have lost out on few good roles becasue I could not reach to the “REAL” job messages on my machine

    Half of the time the roles are crappy or duration is too low

    You have to speak to one Indian , and then 1 more Indian who cheaps out even more

    1 Job opens and then 50 Indian recruiters are calling for same role over and over and over again like Zombies

    I would like Ban be placed on international recruitment calls , as these folks have no manners or skills.

    I hate filling out their stupid skill matrix , after 10-15 years they want me fill these little cute charts. That is your own job recruiter.

    I don’t want that Butter Chicken Job , stop calling my number. I want to get call from local folks and companies. No middle man stealing my salary

  16. Stephanie says:

    Does anyone have Indian recruiters ask for your SSN right away? That has happened to me a number of times, but I respectfully decline. Recently, I pursued by a local company I knew and worked with who wanted to submit me for a position (and they didn’t ask for my SSN). Same position, the Indian recruiter asked for the SSN.

    • HIEU Q PHAM says:

      Yes, all I.R firms asked for my SSN, and I informed them that it is illegal to ask for people’s private information in the US, and that they are not conforming with US laws here, and they must not be located within the US continent.

      They just hung up.