Software

What should I do: My company is careless and unethical

There are a lot of reasons you shouldn't trash former employers in interviews. But one TechRepublic member asked if you should tell a recruiter when your company may actually be doing something illegal.

There are a lot of reasons you shouldn't trash former employers in interviews. But one TechRepublic member asked if you should tell a recruiter when your company may actually be doing something illegal.

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I wrote a blog this week about why you shouldn't trash a previous employer in interviews. The blog prompted a TechRepublic member to ask me this question: What if your employer is not doing the right thing, and you want to leave because of dodgy practices?

Here's the e-mail:

"I have recently taken over as the IT Manager for a Medium sized global consultancy company. When I first arrived, everything seemed fine; there were projects that needed to get done, a new office to open up overseas and general looking at the network and infrastructure we had. Everything seemed fine, project budgets were approved and things seemed to be moving forward quite nicely. Well, about two months into the job, I started getting phone calls from credit controllers and the vendors I used about why they have not been paid. You can probably tell where this is going. To make a long story short, my company is really bad about paying their bills or really purchasing anything. I have since decided to move on since I really can't get the job done without some money. I have been asked why I am leaving, and I state (to recruiters anyway) that 'my company is just not paying the bills, so I do not feel comfortable with the current climate.' I don't think I'm 'trashing' the company, just stating a fact. Is this really a wise way of going, or should I find another excuse for leaving this company after five months?"

My original advice holds true here, perhaps more so. Don't trash a former employer. "Not paying their bills" borders on an accusation of illegal practices, and you really don't want to go there. Our readers may have some more advice.

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We'll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

8 comments
feral
feral

Just tell the recruiters that you are not getting the job satisfaction. If they ask why then tell them a lack of resources. Be careful when stating they are not paying the bills, this could come back and bite you big time. Especially if the company is publicly listed. Cheers

C'Town LarryMac
C'Town LarryMac

In this particular case, I think I would just tell interviewers that my employer was having budgetary issues that made me feel threatened in my current role. It's not a quantum leap to think that a company that can't/doesn't pay creditors will be downsizing or cutting salaries soon.

J.D. Keith
J.D. Keith

That might not be a good answer. It leaves open the question of, "Where would you fit best?" And that can be a killer. Finding a way to express that you have accomplished your goals thus far and come to the conclusion that it is time to move on can be a daunting exercise, especially with a very short tenure in your current position. When answering questions about my decision to move on to my next opportunity I let potential employers know that I have worked very hard, and very diligently to create an environment that serves the company and suits my professional and personal needs, but that personnel limitations or worrisome budget constraints (or other issue) are a concern at my current job, but that I am looking for progress and improvement and the chance to grow beyond the limitations of my current employer (notice the limitations are the employer, not mine). Let's face it, we've all had jobs where it turns out that co-workers just don't fit together - people move on. It's not something for anyone to be shy or embarassed about - and remember: you aren't the only one out there with this kind of experience among your skills. Dealing with awkward or uncomfortable situations makes you better able to deal with good ones in the future and better able to avoid bad ones. On the matter of spending, it's best not to get too deep into any company's business practices when interviewing with prospective employers. Don't make judgements either on your current employer, but when you do recieve those creditor calls (and I have, many times) refer them to the appropriate person in the accounting department. AND don't be afraid to take up payment practices with the Controller or CFO to get a better understanding of their positoin. But remind them that it is damaging YOUR reputation with vendors that trust you and that provide excellent services with the expectation of prompt payment. Keep in mind too, that in the near-term we are likely to see customers stretching credit terms to the breaking point and beyond. The economic downturn has created cashflow issues that will reverberate and trickle down to every company and will likely affect employment and compensation in the future, so let's look on the bright side. We have a job. For now. Good luck.

T.Walpole
T.Walpole

When interviewing a candidate to join my team, the last thing I want is someone who might bring with them a bunch of negative energy. Sure maybe their former employer deserves the criticism, but it could also be that the employee was the problem. How am I supposed to know? It's just not worth taking the chance of hiring the wrong person.

ls1313
ls1313

I'll take a stab at this: What about "My current situation is just not the best fit for me." That would be true - apparently you don't count dodging creditors among your professional skills. :) It's also non-committal and doesn't slam anyone's ethical practices.

ls1313
ls1313

I will definitely have to remember that answer the next time I'm interviewing! I hope the original poster gets a chance to check back and sees your post. Not only is it very good advice, I think the "worrisome budget constraints" phrase might give him or her a good chuckle. Sounds so much better than "buncha deadbeats!!"

prosenjit11
prosenjit11

A strong advantage of the negative energy is a positive approach towards efficiency. Sometimes the negative energy draws many a queries which may not have been thought of or discussed ever in the history of a country or an organisation. Example: Revolutionalising Soviet Union to Commonwealth of Independent States and a New Russia with Gorbachov on Perestroika. DO U THINK SOVIET PEOPLE LOST STALIN FOREVER ? ARE THEY NOT HAPPY TODAY MOVING NEGATIVE ON CAPITALISM AND GOING WITH FREEDOM.