One of the most pervasive problems with SAP or any other ERP project is the sheer amount of fraud. It is so rampant with such huge financial effects in any other area it would be seen as organized crime. I’ve previously written about SAP consulting screening methods and required skills, but there is one key method to filter through the huge number of frauds–, simple experience verification.
Few Staffing Firms Do ANY Type of Skills or Experience Verificaiton
Many organizations that have SAP periodically need experienced consultants to help with specialized requests, requirements, new functionality, or to occasionally backfill employees. Because contract staffing is not a key portion of their business they turn to staffing firms or recruiters. Unfortunately too many of the staffing firms and recruiters have only one interest–, to collect a paycheck. Very few of these recruiters care about how they get that payday so it is up to you as the customer to ensure you are not getting ripped off.
There is no incentive for them to carefully screen candidates–, no background checks, no former project verifications, nothing. A recruiter’s goal is to get them through the interview and have your organization hand over the cash. The cheaper the resource they can find (i.e. read “fake”) the fatter their margin if they can convince you to use them.
The consulting fraud in the SAP arena (and ALL of the business application space) is widespread and out of control. For more background and information on some of my experiences with this you may wish to see some of the following posts:
- Screening and Interview Methods to Find the Right SAP Consultant
- Screening and Interview Methods to Find the Right Consultant – Part 2
- A Cautionary Tale About SAP Knowledge Transfer
- Corporate and Personal Liability for Fake Consultants
- SAP Technicians or Experts
- ERP Consultants: Is the Promise of Knowledge Transfer just part of the Sales Pitch?
- Successful SAP Project Team Composition – Technicians or Experts?
- The Consultant Certification Ruckus
Think I’m joking about the fraud and the negative impacts on you comapny? Take a look at an actual timeline of consulting horror stories at a real company where an internal employee periodically posts some of the horror stories http://sapmesideways.blogspot.com/. Although the employee at that company does not say they are dealing with frauds, con artists, fakes or “SAP freshers,” I’ve seen this so many times that if that company checked these “con”sultant’s backgrounds I could guarantee a very high percentage of SAP fakes or “freshers.”
There is no incentive for staffing firms to carefully screen candidates–, no background checks, no former project verifications, nothing.
Protecting Your Organization from the SAP Fakes and SAP Frauds
You can do at least one small thing to protect yourself. AFTER a staffing or recruiting firm has submitted a candidate demand they include references, from the last 3 projects listed on that consultant’s resume. The ONLY references I accept are client resources, still at those organizations, and on an e-mail address that is clearly at that organization. If they cannot provide these then my immediate assumption is they are a fake. If the staffing firm doesn’t get the message you will not accept fakes then do not do business with them EVER!
The ONLY references I accept are client resources, still at those organizations, and on an e-mail address that is clearly at the organization.
Think about that a minute, even if you miss out on someone who has the actual experience you are looking for, do you really want to pay those kinds of rates for someone who was so uninspiring that no one even remembers them? What about their consulting skills? Were they a bump on a log that hid in the background and made little or no contribution to the direction or success of the SAP project?
Step by Step to Find the Real SAP Consultants
If you decide to use a staffing or recruiting firm, make it a hard requirement that they provide ONLY candidates who can provide an e-mail reference STILL EMPLOYED at each of that consultant’s last 3 clients. This is basic employment verification stuff but few if any of the staffing firms do this unless you insist it is a requirement. And nothing less than a direct verification from someone who is still at that organization will work. I have heard many “stories” about how they have some other reference, or the person left and are now working at “XYZ” company instead. Would you accept that from a permanent employee candidate?
The next step, AFTER the 3 prior project references still at those companies (on the company e-mail address / domain) is copy that portion of the resume listing that consultant’s experience at that company into an e-mail message to their reference. Send the message with a notice they used this information on their resume to indicate their experience and you would like to know if they can verify that the candidate’s experience is consistent with what is listed. If they can not, or will not, then that is the end of the screen for that person. I do not bother to waste any time with a phone screen until that verification step is complete.
What are some of your thoughts or suggestions for screening out the fakes, frauds, charlatans and con artists?