In This Issue

Robb Kundtz, STRe Solutions Director of HR & Legal Practice, discusses our responsibility in the workplace to do the right thing and report unethical business behavior.   full article
This quarter our Recruiter Relations section discusses how candidates with frequent job changes are perceived by hiring managers and offers tips to hiring managers when evaluating candidates with frequent job changes.
Candidate Tip #103  Hiring Manager Tip #103  full article
Robert Kundtz, Attorney & former Chief Administrative Officer joins the STRe team.   full article
Go Green! STRe has a few ideas for ways to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions... go green

Articles

Establishing an Ethical Business Culture: So Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?
by: Robb Kundtz, STRe Solutions Director of HR & Legal Practice

If you are reading this article, the answer is simple...YOU ARE!

In the past, Corporate America was looked upon to have a greater involvement in the well being of the community. This was all part of the social responsibility movement of that time which was based on moral principals. Little did we know then that the activities of a few organizations e.g. Enron, Tyco, and World Com, would bring to bear on us not just the personal responsibility to do the right thing, but to have our every move monitored by 3, 4, and 5 letter organizations (SEC, IRS, ERISA) not to mention the impact of the 409(A) legislation and the phenom created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Most of the legislation provides guidelines for the behavior of an organization. The question then still remains to be answered by the individual...What am I to do? The establishment of an ethical business culture within an organization cannot merely be legislated, nor can it be established from the top down or the bottoms up. It is not solely the responsibility of the Board of Directors or a corporation's CEO. It must have life breathed into it by each one of us.

So what does one do when something does not appear to be right? REPORT IT...Tell your supervisor; tell someone of authority. The honor code is instilled in students at many of our finer academic institution and service academies. If we want our next generation of leaders to practice that behavior, why shouldn't we?

While reporting a potentially unethical situation is not a bad starting point for all of us, we can not disregard the pressure of potential retaliation by the organization. We all have seen examples of this in the Tobacco, Oil, Airline and Technology Industries. And even as Tony Soprano would say, "Don't be a rat." Well get over it and do the right thing or, before long, the external control of our every move and decision will be legislated, as was the Whistle Blower Statute, and eventually grind us to an organizational halt.

As this brief article is intended to highlight the question of ethical responsibility, it should be noted that a great starting point exists for each of us within Corporate America. That is to embrace a Standards of Conduct Policy that includes a Conflict of Interest disclosure program. These programs are strictly voluntary and are developed and implemented by the Company. They are designed to provide an opportunity for an individual to disclose their own potential conflicts of interest as opposed to reporting the malfeasance of the Company or that of another. If your company does not have one, a wonderful opportunity exists for you to take a leadership role in installing one.

As part of a corporate driven program, the completion of a well crafted conflict of interest form, by an inventory of appropriately included employees, provides the perfect opportunity for an individual to report a potential conflict regarding him or herself. All conflicts are not inherently bad. Once disclosed, it is up to an organization's reviewing committee to decide whether or not the behavior can continue and that decision is then communicated back to the employee for appropriate action...cessation, modification or approved continuation.

After all, whether the question is about your own behavior and interests or that of another that you have observed...REPORT IT! The reporting vehicle, be it legislated or voluntary, matters not. By doing so, the organization, its employees and the business community in general will prosper and the moral compass that guides us all will be true. The responsibility for establishing an ethical business culture rests with each of us.

Many wonderful books have been published on this subject. Should you like to receive a list of a few of them, email your request to me at robb@stresolutions.com.

Candidates and Hiring Managers: Maximize Your Experience with Recruiters
Our highest priority at STRe Solutions is building long-term relationships with both jobseekers and hiring managers. The Recruiter Relations section of our newsletter offers ongoing tips to help you maximize your experience with a recruiter, regardless of whether you're seeking top talent to seamlessly join your team or searching for the ideal position.

This quarter we highlight the issues of job hopping, or what is sometimes referred to as railroad tracks resume. How should a hiring manager evaluate a candidate who has seemingly had a lot of jobs in a short period of time? And, what should a candidate do to overcome this issue and use it to their advantage.

Candidate Tip #103
Changing jobs may be harmful to your career. Switching jobs too often can be frowned upon. You may have no choice if your company is acquired or your division is moved across country. But, quite often, you chose to change jobs for reasons that may not be viewed as positive by a future employer. Be sure you can defend the reasons you changed jobs. "All the execs were leaving" may be true, but it signals to a prospective company that you may leave for a similar reason if they hire you.

When considering a job change, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Do I like what I do each day?
  2. Am I fairly compensated?
  3. Is there a future here?
The answers to these questions can help you decide if you should contemplate looking for a better opportunity. Ideally, try to change jobs within your current employer--then you get new experiences without the rail road track effect. Also, it takes about 18 months to master a job, so leaving before that signals trouble.

Finally, a new job should offer you the opportunity to put your current skills to use, and an opportunity to learn new skills as well. Fair compensation is important, but don't be greedy. And remember, if a prospective employer is offering something that is too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful!

Extra tip: If you changed jobs often due to unexpected business conditions, note it on your resume. Employers won't check to see if your employer relocated their accounting organization or went bankrupt in the dot com bust.

Hiring Manager Tip #103
If a resume shows frequent job changes, should you eliminate the candidate? First look at what the candidate has to offer overall. Does the candidate have the requisite skills to do the job? It is possible that the job changes were warranted? Ask your recruiter (internal HR or professional recruiter) to assess the reasons for changing jobs. A good executive recruiter will not present a candidate whose job history is questionable.

As you examine the reasons for leaving a job, also look at what attracted the candidate to the new position. You can learn a lot about a candidate by understanding what motivated them to join a company.

Candidates who change jobs frequently fall into two categories: 1) the impatient or 2) the experienced. The impatient candidate has moved for boredom (they'll do it again), or a bad political situation (no patience), and has no loyalty to the company or their manager. The experienced job changer has optimized each situation and taken away a lot of good experience. Sometimes a candidate who has worked at 3 jobs in 6 years has far more experience than someone who has been at the same company for 6 years.

A backdoor reference can be very useful in these situations. Don't automatically eliminate a prospective candidate whose resume has too many jobs. Learn the reasons for the job changes first. And trust your gut. If this is the right person for your organization, you will know it.

STRe News
Robert Kundtz, Attorney & Former Chief Administrative Officer Joins the STRe Team
Robb Kundtz joined STRe Solutions in February, 2008 as HR and Legal Practice Director. Most recently, Robb was Senior Vice President at Retirement Capital Group, and he is a former Managing Director at David Powell, Inc., a Silicon Valley based Executive Search and Consulting firm. He has over 25 years experience as an officer at several major Silicon Valley high tech companies including Seagate Technology, Fujitsu and Atari.

Robb has a BA degree in Business Administration from Kent State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law. He served two terms on the Board of Directors of St. Andrew's Episcopal School and currently is a member of the church Vestry and chairs the Joint Master Facilities Committee. Robb serves on several profit and not for profit boards of directors and currently is a planning commissioner for the city of Saratoga, CA.

STRe Fun
Here are a couple of ways to do your part to help the environment:

Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by

  1. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with a compact florescent bulb
  2. Adjusting your thermostat by 2 degrees in summer and winter, saving up to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year
  3. Turning off electronic devices you're not using. Unplug electronics from the wall when you're not using them.
  4. Properly inflating tires will improve gas mileage by 3%. Not only do you save 12 cents a gallon, but each gallon of gas saved prevents 20 pounds of carbon dioxide waste
  5. Walking a mile--saving one pound of carbon dioxide for each mile you walk instead of driving
Click here to calculate your carbon impact on the environment:
www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator