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How to 
distinguish between a 
CBT and CAT?
 

About Body Shopping Companies: 

Most of you must be toying with the idea of going to the US through a body shopping agency. Body shopping means, you join a company based in India, the US or in both places. 

This company sponsors your H-1 and sends you to the US immediately or after a few months of training. In the US, they will place you as a consultant with one of their clients. 

The critical point here is that the recruiting company is only a mediator. It finds an appropriate company and places you there. Such companies may not have any project, products or services of their own.

Problem With Bench Period:

The real problem with body shopping agencies is in the much dreaded "bench period". Bench period is the time when you work with this company and await placement as a consultant. 

As I mentioned earlier, the parent company that hires you is exclusively a placement agency. It does not have any work of its own to be entrusted to you. Some of them will pay a salary for some time but then they stop. The bench period with or without the salary is very frustrating. 

As the US economy is slowing down now, the number of people on the bench is very high. One estimate is that there are more than 65,000 people on the bench today. 

So, how should you act intelligently to avoid such slack periods in your career?

Practical Solution

1. Treat going to US as another career choice and do not attribute any more value to it than that:

Most students go to US or want to go to US because of the craze they have for the US. Please don't become one of them. Going to the US was difficult 10 years back, is a lot easier now and will become as easy as going to Delhi from Chennai in 10 years. 

If that is the case, why go there taking a big risk and putting your career on hold for some time. Consider All Options I suggest you to consider all the prospective options you can choose from: 

  • Admission in IIT, 

  • Job in a good Indian company and 

  • a job in this body shopping venture.

Do not stay focused on the last just because it involves the US. Think which of these options will give you a better career five years from now. Think objectively and let the dollar power NOT disturb you. There will be more opportunities for you to go to the US after 5 years, than now. 

So, your aim should be to make the best possible career choice either in or outside India. 


2. Enquire About Company Background:

To check whether going to the US for a job is the best option or not, you have to find out the following about the company that recruited you. Do not join a recruiting company/agency without checking its background. Get a feedback from people who have already joined the company. 

I suggest that you contact a person who is working with the company and on the bench. You can get these addresses either during the interview or through enquiries after the job is offered. People on the bench may sometimes tend to give negative picture about the company.

So, think twice before depending on their versions. Use Web Based E-mail Facility It would be wise to use web based e-mail facility (like Yahoo, HotMail) for this purpose. You may not want an employer to know about your enquiries.

3. Check-List:

Okay, this is a list of all the details that you need to find out

  • How many employees does the company have?

  • How many of them are placed in project lead positions and how many are in entry level positions in other companies? This gives you a very good idea of your growth while you are working for the company.

  • How many of them are currently working and how many are on the bench? Needless to say, the companies with high bench/work ratio are your last choice.

  • What is the average bench period for each programmer?

  • How many clients does your company have? Even if your company has all its employees working, if they are all working for the same company it is not good. This is because, the entire company can get on to the bench at once! The companies which have a wide clientele can accommodate you very fast in one or another of their companies.

  • What is the reputation of the clients of your company? The most common path taken by most people who go to a company through body shopping is to try and get a permanent job in that company. So, a company that you get placed in is very important.

  • Is your parent company giving you medical insurance? in the US, medical bills can be very high and one should have insurance. A good plan costs anywhere from $100 to 500 a month. 
    So, you must check whether you have to pay it from your salary or your company provides it.

 

4. E-Query Content:

Obviously, you do not want to ask all these questions in one mail.

Split your mail in to three to four communications. This will make it easier for the person answering your mail and may also create a bond between the two of you. Don't forget that he/she could be an important friend once you land in the US.

The following is a template that you can use to write the mail for these queries.

 

Dear XXX,

Let me introduce myself. I am XXX from XXX. I have been offerred a position in XXX company. Though I am delighted with the oppurtunity, I have a few questions that I want to clarify. I feel the best person to answer these questions is someone who has gone through the process, i.e. YOU.

I would like to get some more information about the company from the employee's perspective. How many people are working at this point in our company? Are all of them posted or do many of them are still on the bench? If many are on the bench, what is the average bench period in our company.

As you can see, these are the questions that you might have had when you were making the crucial decision. I am in one way glad that, you can probably clear all my doubts. I can also promise that I will maintain strict confidentiality.

Thank you very much for your help.

Regards
XXX


If you have a contact's company e-mail ID and not a web based ID, do not ask any questions in the first mail.

 

Dear XXX,

Let me introduce myself. I am XXX from XXX. I have been offerred a position in XXX company. Though I am delighted with the oppurtunity, I have a few questions that I want to clarify. I feel the best person to answer these questions is someone who has gone through the process, i.e. YOU.

As these questions may take some of your valuable time, I would like to send them to your personal account like Yahoo or HotMail. I request you to send it to me.

Thank you very much for your help.

Regards
XXX

So, be pragmatic and logical while chalking out your career plans. Do not allow yourself to be herded to the U.S. I am sure that anyone in the PlaceMentor family belongs to the former category.

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