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Most of the projects in Indian major IT companies are outsourced. The standard practice to get a candidate on-board is to follow a series of interviews, one of which could be with the client where one or more techies from their onsite client end are the interviewers. Sometimes, someone from the offshore team gives a basic idea about the clients' expectations and guide the candidate. So far so good.

There is this one company where the prospective project manager sent me the audio recordings of previous such client interviews with other candidates. I went through one of it, got a good idea of what the client wants, and during my actual interview, I answered exactly what s/he is looking for and in a more sophisticated manner.

The client was thoroughly impressed with me, gave a wonderful feedback and the result was that the company offered me a good salary package.

I consider this as one of those cases where we know how to answer to get a job. Yet, I have a bigger dilemma.

This would sound like a huge favor to me from the management. If things go wrong in the future, they might always come back and tell me that they have guided me appropriately to crack the client interview. I am talking about the typical Indian management mentality where 'I have done this for you- you need to oblige to us, always'. This could come across as a hypothetical one, but it cannot be ruled out either.

I was wondering, how wise is it to become part of such organization. btw, the salary offered is indeed handsome.

P.S: PM is the PM of the company I am interviewing for.

Client is the client of the company for whom that company is providing service.

  • Do you hear about any disclosure about the recording in progress during the begging part of the audio clip? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 3 at 9:30
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    Be aware, background recording (without disclosing recording in progress) may be simply illegal. – Sourav Ghosh Apr 3 at 9:32
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    I am very confused about the relationships between you, the Project Manager, the clients, "this one company", etc. Can you clarify who you work for? – Gregory Currie Apr 3 at 9:36
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    What a mess. Ok. So you wish to be employed by company A, to be contracted out to company B. To be employed by company A (to be contracted out to B), you need to pass an interview for company B. The person who gave you the recording was your prospective PM from company A. You want to know if it's wise to be employed by company A. – Gregory Currie Apr 3 at 9:46
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    @WonderWoman Company A will be getting their kickback from the contracting fees. You won't owe them anything. – 520 Apr 3 at 10:00
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Indian here.

I think even for Indian companies this is a little too much on the shady side. I have seen people having notes about what questions were asked in the client interview, to help someone crack the interview, but have never seen a recording. And I would think this recording was not made with the knowledge of the client, which makes it unethical. I would consider this a red flag.

Also, it seems like the company has to take permission from the client even to hire an employee, which tells me company does not have much say in the project running. Most of the big/good companies in India it is not the case - You can get hired without client interview.You are interviewed only by the company techies/managers. After you are hired, there may be a client interview to join certain projects, but that is a different thing. I would be wary of joining this company because the unethical practices might run deep.

  • Thank you Manu. It did seem very strange to me, as you can tell by my comments! – Gregory Currie Apr 3 at 12:26
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There is probably a significant cultural element at play here, but what I would say is that the PM gave you information to assist you in getting hired, so they probably have an expectation that you don't know everything you said in the interview.

Their reason for helping you is quite clear. You getting a job has helped them too.

If this happened in the western world, I would be tempted to also say "Stay Away" but these kind of thing may be prevalent in the industry you're in, and where you are from. I would consider using a taped recording to become prepared to be ethically questionable, however you've categorised it as "one of those cases where we know how to answer to get a job", so there is probably a difference of understanding in what constitutes ethical behaviour.

Maybe the next step for you is to have a chat with your employer and see what the next steps are to get you the knowledge they helped you fake. If they are dismissive that's one thing. If they have a grant plan how to make it all work, that's another story.

Also, keep in mind that you have a recording of the interview, which is proof of fraud. They probably have a lot more to lose than you at this stage.

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With the risk of oversimplifying the statements, I have to say

I consider this as one of those cases where we know how to answer to get a job.

should rather be

I consider this as one of those cases where we know what to answer to get a job.

i.e., the correct answer to the questions. That's what should get you the job.

Given the description, it's a red flag to me.

There would be no circumstances you need to know client preferences before attending the interview. If you're trained to answer certain questions which you're not supposed to know, then, in every form, this is inappropriate.

  • Your technical / domain knowledge is not going to be influenced by client preferences.
  • Your behavioral skills are also not going to be affected by client preferences.

Moreover, if you claim to "know" about project details / workflows / best practices for the client before joining (and having necessary agreements signed) and working for a client, that would be a sign of a data / security breach, so there's no way you can benefit from knowing those information.

One possible "advantage" of having those recordings, can be imagined, as to "have an idea" of the required knowledge for the job, but that's part of the job description already, is not it? So, the recordings are not worth it, anyways.

Moreover, the day to day work is not limited by topics of discussion in an interview. It may need to expand far beyond what was covered in one interview session.

So, bottom line, there would be no advantage the company can expect by passing those recordings to you. Rather, I'd see this as a poor an lame attempt to somehow "clear" the interview process.

I can't say about the whole company, but I'd stay away from that manager and that team.


Note: As you clarified in the comments, there is no disclosure about the interview recording at the beginning, that can make possibly make the whole recording this illegal, as in may parts of the world, attempt to record any A/V communication without explicit notice and consent from all the attending parties, would be illegal. So, it's not only "taking favors", you may end up being "guilty by association".

Stay away.

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IMHO, to get a job and to do a job are often different things.

Person can be qualified to do the job, be actually best for it with skill-set, attitude and experience, but not interview well. Or client may be looking for specific wording / answer to specific question and candidate qualification would not come through as clear as they should.

In short, i don`t see it as a big issue in case you as employee for the project is perfect fit

  • The questions asked were pretty standard ones; If joined, I am confident of my capabilities that I would be able to take up any other topic/task that is different from the ones asked in the interview. This is usually the case in the industry here. – WonderWoman Apr 3 at 16:13
  • Also, by standard I mean the usual ones, but I presented it in a more sophisticated manner. – WonderWoman Apr 3 at 16:14

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