Crossover, or Crossover for Work as you’ll find it listed on Glassdoor (with a whooping 3.3 rating) and social media, brands itself as a leading global employer — a sort of ‘Robin Hoodesque’ employer that connects the high paying US jobs with the low earning, talented people, around the globe.
Crossover will promise you a virtual utopia, where you’ll get to work with the ’Top 1%’ global talent, you’re in charge of when and where from you work, you’ll get to develop professionally by working with the newest, smartest, most impacting technologies in the universe and, most importantly, you’ll get a full-time, permanent, remote role.
As a former employee, who’s still in touch with former colleagues and bosses, allow me, please, to call BS.
Now, before you label me as a disgruntled employee and go check your wall for new kitten photos, note that since my contract was terminated a year ago, I started a new business (my third), and am happily living my 30s doing less and earning more than I ever had. In fact the only reason I’m writing this is that I’ve got enough time on my hands to worry about other people.
Since my first stint with Crossover, almost 3 years ago, a lot has changed. They’ve become a helluva lot more visible both online and off by creating content or organizing events. They’ve also (supposedly) changed the hiring process and they promise a better-than-ever candidate experience. Reality, however, will contradict them on every step so let me tell you what I’m on about.
If you’re an IT professional currently searching for a job, and you’re based in India, Pakistan, Russia, Poland, Romania, Latin America or the Philippines you’re sure to have come across a job ad for a Crossover role. Naturally, their online presence extends much farther than the above, but these are the preferred countries of exploitation given the dreadful local job markets and the ever-developing talent base.
In case you somehow haven’t seen their ads, look for clean and crisp sponsored Facebook/LinkedIn posts and you’ll stumble upon one in the next 5 minutes.
So you’ll click on one which will take you to an Eventbrite registration page and you’ll register for the ‘Hiring Tournament’.
Hiring Tournaments are the next big thing for Crossover. The new and improved hiring process, that’s exactly like the previous old and damaged hiring process to the T.
You’ll then be invited to be present for a Zoom based webinar at a fixed, and likely crazily improper, hour such as 10AM UTC on a Saturday where a Brand Ambassador who speaks appalling English will tell you all about how great Crossover is. You’ll get to watch a 15 minute video of Andy Tryba telling you how work is transitioning to the Cloud and so should its payment.
Fun fact: Andy Tryba, Crossover CEO, Co-Founder and seemingly good guy, has taken a backseat role within the company, with most decisions now being made by ‘purely numbers guy and man-who-makes-jackals-tremble-in-their-sleep’, former(?!) AUREA SVP of Engineering, Andy Montgomery.
Then you’ll hear a hiring manager talk about the job, while carefully tiptoeing around the more difficult questions during the QA section of the webinar, and you’ll be invited to start your application.
The premise is that you’ll only have roughly 24 hours to complete said application and you’ll get your feedback as early as the following Monday. Naturally, both are lies. You may complete your application over the course of however freakin’ long you want and you’ll receive your results whenever an Account Manager has enough time to reject you, which in many cases can be longer than 2 months.
What you don’t learn (and this might actually be exclusive throughout the whole of the Interwebs) is that your resume will be graded, likely by a team of unqualified chipmunks called Recruitment Analysts, before you even attend the event. You’ll either receive a 100 score or a 1, based on your experience, qualifications and the RA’s mood that day. You can’t even imagine how many people get marked ‘100’ one week only to receive a meager ‘1’ the very next week, without the requirements changing the slightest.
The next bit takes the cake, because if your resume was internally marked as a ‘1’, even if by mistake, you can part waters and shit gold during the assessment, you won’t be hearing back before next Hanukkah. If, however, you’ll score well on your resume and do a decent job on the assessments you may be granted the privilege of making it into the Crossover Marketplace. Don’t pop the champagne just yet though, there’s a few more hurdles.
While Crossover will boast tens if not hundreds of clients and there’s always a huge reported demand for any of the roles, only a few people get invited for an interview and fewer still make it onto a job, but we’ll get back to that later.
See, what you need to understand is that Crossover makes money by selling its services to other companies. That hasn’t been going great. Consequently, most of Crossover’s clients are the companies that make up the Trilogy group, Crossover’s parent company, or the ESW Capital group who owns’em all. Since moving money from one pocket to another doesn’t really make you profitable, Crossover’s marketing strategy for 2018 is to show prospective clients that their tournaments are massively successful. To do that, they source incredible amounts of candidates (regardless of quality), hence the aforementioned ads, and then send much more than they’ll ever need into the Marketplace. That way, when the Sales department finally sets up a meeting with an external client, they have some nice, shiny, massively inflated numbers to show.
So hey, you’ve went through the process and you’ve made it to the Marketplace. You’re almost home-free with a cozy, new, flexible job in your back pocket. Or are you?
Crossover will tell you that once you’re in the Marketplace your profile will be visible to all hiring managers looking to hire for that role. Uhm…no. Most profiles end up being ignored for eternity, even though there’s an internal 45-day standard for interviewing marketplace members. Another thing no one will tell you is that if you’re passed on over the course of 3 interviews you’ll never, ever, see a Crossover job. Ever.
Anyway, say you overcome this. It’s your luckiest day ever and you get invited to an interview. If you’re fortunate enough to share a language or nationality with the hiring manager, there’s little left for you to do. The final interview will be a formality and, even if you bombed the psychometric evaluation, you’re likely a shoe-in for the job. If you’re not, the final interview will be just as grueling as every step before it and then you’ll be left waiting for the decision: usually the same dry ‘NO’ you get at every other point during the process.
Please, under no circumstances, DO NOT expect personal feedback. That’s not in the culture.
But let’s not forever dwell on this negative path. You might, through the grace of gods, stumble upon one of the few capable managers in the organization like I once did. They’ll make you comfortable during the interview, you’ll get to highlight your qualities and you get hired.
You start your job and you relish in the steep learning curve and dynamism of it all. You thrive in the fast pace and constantly changing processes, you live for your metric and you’ve finally found a place where your skill-set and intelligence is valued. Don’t you worry now, it’s really short-lived!
If your team is doing great, your manager will soon be reassigned to a corner of nowhere, never to be heard from again. You’ll probably get stuck with an interim manager for a while and it won’t be so bad. He won’t know anything about your team and playbooks so you can’t count on anyone to answer your job related questions, but you’ll get a chance to show off your versatility. Your metric will be fluid and no one will truly care about it.
A couple of weeks will pass and now would be a perfect time to wear your brown pants because the storm’s about to hit.
You’ll get a new manager who barely speaks English. His job is dependent on your numbers and, since he just got hired, he’ll cling onto his seat with the same desperation you see in the eyes of caged animals during a flood. He’ll make it clear during your first meetings that he won’t hesitate for a second to throw you under the bus if that means another week’s pay check will come his way.
You’ll find that your once logical metric has been changed to something no one but him understands. You’ll find that your metric will be affected by the performance of others and no one cares about the underlying issues preventing you from reaching it. You’ll find that your flexible schedule is no longer flexible so you switch to polyphasic sleep to cover all the time-zones. You won’t be enjoying your travels too much since you’ll be always on the job to satisfy your ruler.
So now, your permanent, full-time, flexible job is keeping you caged inside your home, your once-upon-a-time oasis of quiet and serenity. You haven’t learned a single skill since you started and, after paying your own taxes, you find the salary to be quite unconvincing. Does that sound grim? Well hold onto your socks, because there’s more!
There’s virtually no chance to get promoted so, even if you’re lucky enough to keep your job after all that, you’ll see inflation rummage through your earnings. There’s no health insurance, paid leave of any kind, no 401K or pension fund or any other benefit. You’ll only get paid for however much you manage to work in a week, so if there’s just 2 hours’ work this week you’ll only get 2 hours worth of pay. Oh, and, just so you know, security within Crossover is rather lax, so you may find your personal info is being accessed by some less than trustworthy people. Thank God they’ll only get to know everything about you, including how you look, due to the photo timecards.
But while you’re struggling with all that, you’ll receive an email from your boss’s boss’s boss asking you to post something positive on Glassdoor or create a happy testimonial to spice up the shitcake.
So yeah, Crossover will hire people and they will pay you on a weekly basis. Everything else you hear from them…well, take it with a grain of salt, will you?