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A few weeks ago SAP Mentor Jarret Pazahanick posted a blog titled ‘SAP Consulting Fraud – Disturbing Example’.  It described a bold attempt by a prospective consultant to co-opt somebody to sit a phone interview on their behalf.  The blog drew an astonishing number of views - over 8000 after three weeks, with over 100 comments.   Printing the blog along with comments in PDF format generates a 40 page booklet.  This is on the extreme end of skills misrepresentation, but the issue of skills in the marketplace is a topic close to my heart.   

The real-life experiences that community members posted as comments to Jarret’s blog make for compelling reading.  If you don’t wish to read the 40+ pages of comments, here is a summation …

  • Several examples of resumé fraud, with people finding copies of their own resumés under other people’s names circulating in the industry
  • Frustration by several commentators that customers don’t take enough accountability to check the quality of candidates. For instance Nathan Genez makes a heartfelt comment … “I swear, the customers don’t seem to care.  They hire these folks, and then even if they realize that they’re no good, they don’t kick them off”
  • Finally the commentary re-ignited frustration with SAP’s own certification programme, with a view by commentators that it is perceived more as a revenue earner for SAP than as an authentic attempt to lift the general quality of skills in the marketplace.  As Jarret states in his blog comments … “In a perfect world SAP certification would be like Cisco where customers could use it as a way to help validate a consultant’s skills…”

So I invited both Jarret as well as fellow SAP Mentor Jon Reed (who had a previous life as a recruiter) to share their latest thoughts in a recorded Google+ Hangout conversation.   I must say these two are really passionate about this topic, and I hope it shows in the discussion.

A breakdown of the conversation follows:

00:00            Introductions

01:28            Jarret Pazahanick’s recap of his blog

04:25            Jon Reed’s initial thoughts on the issue

06:25            Importance of technical interviews by customers

08:00            The bait and switch problem

09:05            Multiple levels of fraud

10:58            Testing applicants

12:35            Social persona as a fraud screening device

16:42            Outrageous examples of fraud

18:32            How do people legitimately break into the SAP consulting industry?

23:15            Value of certification?

24:45            Final thoughts – what can customers do better?

PS.  Sorry about the rather abrupt ending – the recording software on my computer crashed during the hangout!

We spend much of our mindshare in the SAP community focussing on the latest SAP products, tools and techniques.  But one thought that occurs to me is that SAP’s future success may be as much determined by the attitudes and quality of skills of SAP practitioners (whether they be in-house, or professional service providers), as by the quality of SAP’s own product innovations.  If customers, recruiters, and system integrators simply improve their efforts to ensure the quality of candidates they engage, then we should expect to see better implementation outcomes.