The Problem with Hiring Indians
No, not Native Americans.
People from India.
And not those from India that can speak English without an accent.
I am talking about those emigrants that have moved here from India and speak Indian English.
Oh, shut up — I’m not going in that direction. Calm down!
I’m talking about companies, who have hired Indian English Indians, and use them to make calls.
Here’s the story and then you will see where I’m coming from.
Today, on average, we received 3–4 SPAM phone calls. The majority of those spam calls, IF YOU CONNECT TO THEM, have someone in India answer and try to scam you out of whatever they are trying to scam.
Today, I get a call from my tax preparer. Unbeknownst to me, she has has someone from India working for her.
“Hi, can I speak to Mr. Blaine?” says the lady with an Indian English accent.
IMMEDIATELY, my hackles rise and I’m pissed that 1) my phone didn’t say that this was a spam call (it does this about 50% of the time), and 2) that I didn’t get the usual scam recording saying “You’re car is illegal and the ATF is coming to take you to prison UNLESS you hit “1” now and give us your social security number…”
I like the recordings, at least I can hear the scam that is being pitched. And, of course, I am also “one of those guys” that DOES hit #1 to speak to them, and then carry on a 15 minute conversation about the weather before they realize that they are not going to get anything from me and hang up.
The majority of those conversations are with people in India — with the Indian English accent.
So, when my tax preparers assistant called me, I got defensive and almost hung up immediately (I didn’t, and let it play out — and thankfully I did, as it was confirmation on some info).
And that is, unfortunately, the problem. Scammers have made us all defensive and figuratively (and literally) HATE a phone caller that has the Indian English accent.
And it’s NOT the fault of the emigrants (those American citizens who are trying to work hard here and get ahead).
But this leads to bias. Right? If I pick up the phone and someone on the other end answers and has that accent, I’m on the defense, because for years people with that accent abused me by calling…every day…all day…
Talk about a diversity issue in a company!?! I bet there is research that shows individuals, in call centers, who have an Indian Accent, are hung up the most.
And it’s not their fault!
I have no answer to this. I don’t care how “non-biased” you claim to be. After years of getting these calls, there is a majority of us that initially react on the defensive when someone speaking Indian English comes on the phone.
I have had incredible people work for me. Many with that accent (and many other accents as well) and even they, as American citizens, HATE getting those scam calls. They HATE having the accent. They know that the bias is there (every dinner or party that we would go out to, there was always the joke with my staff: “You aren’t one of those people that call me at night are you asking for my social security number are you?”)
I don’t know what to say or do. I want to help, but, I can’t — unless I can become a CEO of a phone company, say that diversity is important in my company and that, because of these scam/spam callers, people are being discriminated against because of their accent, then, maybe I can help.
We can say over and over that we aren’t biased against people who have the Indian Accent, and maybe we won’t be, for an hour, until we get that spam call that gets through.