ExecutiveBiz spoke to senior leaders at some of government contracting's most powerful firms to find out whom they turn to when they need an executive position filled, and compiled the 10 recruiters you need to know.
To get a sense of their positions on government contracting, we asked the recruiters for their take on the current state of the industry and where they see it going in the future.
What is your take on the current state of the government-contracting field?
“The overall state of government contracting is as exciting as it has ever been, and provides tremendous opportunity for qualified and savvy government contractors. There are, however, a few caveats that will help sort out the winners
from the losers in this segment of the market. One of the most common issues that I hear from my clients in government contracting is the fact that it is increasingly becoming a low-margin business, with much greater exposure and risk than similar contracts with commercial clients. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important that government contractors have extremely experienced subject-matter expertise in all areas of doing business with the federal government, including business development, sales and contract pursuit, negotiations, and especially contract delivery where the real profitability will be determined. Ensuring that the people in your company who are making these decisions have the appropriate experience and expertise is one of the largest challenges facing government contractors. Government contractors who are well-prepared to handle these risks and challenges will perform well in this rapidly-growing marketplace.”
Do you have any predictions for the future of the business?
“Overall, we see the future of government contracting as very strong, but with continuing focus on low margins and high risk. Our focus will continue to be on information technology and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the area of our greatest expertise at Aegis Consulting. We see the future as very bright in this segment of the market, but it will be dependent on recruiting and retaining the best and brightest people. My clients are indicating to me that one of their greatest challenges is in hiring and retaining the right talent and competing with the commercial sector to do so. These government services providers who are pursuing federal business must be able to add value and understand their clients' specific needs, build relationships, and maintain trust over the long term. This requires deep experience and expertise from a relatively small pool of talent. Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, has established six priorities for technology in the federal government. Two of these important priorities are infrastructure, and security and privacy. His infrastructure initiative will transform the way the federal government operates and help it become more ‘citizen-centered.’ Security and privacy concerns will cause the federal government agencies to design and implement privacy protections and controls any time they collect, use, share, retain, disclose, or destroy citizens' personally identifiable information (PII). Each agency must design and implement its own privacy program, providing significant opportunity for contractors in this segment of the market.”
What sets your practice apart in the field?
“Aegis Consulting is a boutique, retained, executive search firm specializing in the information technology, outsourcing, and professional services markets across various industries and functions, with a specialty in the public sector and firms who specialize in government contracting, including both federal and state and local governments. Our mission is not to be all things to all people, but to be experts focused on recruiting senior management and key technology, operations, and business development executives in select markets. We limit the number of searches we take on in order to provide this high level of service. Such focus affords us time and resources to dedicate to preferred clients while ensuring a full-market view of candidates with few off-limits restrictions. Aegis Consulting assignments are always handled by a principal/partner and are not relegated to an associate. The partner dedicates individual attention to the search from start to completion, and even afterward. We are at our finest when finding strategic, difficult-to-locate-and-entice individuals for those situations when cultural and contextual fit are key to the executive's success. We also have extensive experience in helping to staff the core executive management teams for new groups, divisions, or practice areas, as well as recruiting professionals with in-depth expertise in the ongoing convergence of strategy, marketing/sales, and technology.”
Are there any recommendations you can make to executives looking to enhance their personal brand?
“While the concept of a personal brand may be new to some senior executives, there are a few simple steps anyone can follow to establish a meaningful personal brand. The first step is to spend time thinking about the strategy for your personal brand. This includes figuring out what is your ‘sweet spot,’ that is when does the confluence of your strengths, what you enjoy doing, what motivates you, and how you relate to people come together to give you significant career satisfaction? Now, you are ready to think seriously about what you want your personal brand to communicate. This involves determining your long-term goals, and even a vision and personal brand statement. At its core, a personal brand is nothing more than communicating who you are, what you do, and who you serve. Once you have this, don't undermine your message with a lack of consistency. With the myriad ways available to communicate today, your message should be consistent and cohesive every time it is communicated. A good next step is to create a LinkedIn profile, if you don't already have one. If you do, make sure it is current and has a recent professional head shot. Your profile should include the personal brand statement you have developed, a professional resume, and references including those on LinkedIn who have recommended you. Ensure you update it as often as necessary to keep it current and accurate.”