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The Profits and Pains Of Outsourcing; The Videoconference Job Interview

Melinda LigosDEC. 6, 2004

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Chetan Shah is executive vice president of technology of Synygy Inc. in Conshohocken, Pa.

We enacted an offshoring model about two years ago and it's been a challenge. Synygy provides solutions to help organizations provide compensation software and services, and we were looking for a way to be able to build more products faster and cheaper. Our clients were demanding more products, but they didn't want to pay top dollar.

So we opened up offices in India and Romania to handle software development and business processes. We have about 500 employees, and 35 percent of them are offshore.

The hardest part of setting this up was finding the right candidates. The hiring process begins in the United States. Everybody has to apply through a Web site, and the applications go to our hiring managers here in the United States. They had to have a lot of training to learn how to look at a foreign résumé. For instance, technical degrees vary from country to country, so these managers had to learn how to decipher everyone's credentials.

Once a résumé is approved, candidates receive an e-mail link for taking a couple of tests. Then comes the hard part. There are two rounds of interviews: the first takes place with Synygy employees in the country where the applicant lives; the second is done through a videoconference in which our American managers participate. Everybody speaks English in the interviews, but the accents can be very difficult to understand. For instance, in India, all of the candidates are English-educated, but their accents vary wildly, depending on which part of the country they're from. We always have a local human resources person sitting in the room to clarify any miscommunication.

We've been able to handle problems like this by seeding our offshore offices with experienced Synygy people who can bring the company's proven processes and procedures to the offshore operation. We knew going into this that this was going to be the key to doing it right. As told to Melinda Ligos

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