Posts

MilSpouses | Value for Business

As the local unemployment numbers continue to be a record low rates and we all talk about the war for talent, unicorn candidates and the ridiculous salary expectations for some of the workforce, there is a pool of talent that is often overlooked…the Military Spouse (also known as: MilSpouse).

Why should you consider these folks?  Our initial response is why not?
Off the top of our heads:

• Change agents
Businesses change quite a bit and who better to understand and go with it than someone who is used used to packing up their stuff and moving to a completely new environment every few years?  These folks don’t scare away from change…they sometimes crave it.

• New Environments
MilSpouses go into completely new environments all the time.  They can adapt and mold to their new circumstances, quickly.  They don’t waste months trying to figure out the new clients or getting up to speed on new technology.  They immerse and they adapt.

“Figure it Out” mindset
Often MilSpouses are on their own while their spouse is serving.  They don’t know all the answers, but they can figure stuff out in a hurry.  This extends directly to their work.  We don’t hire folks who know everything…we hire folks who are smart enough to know where to get the information needed.

• Community
While a MilSpouse can absolutely figure it out, they also are great at adapting and relying on others in their community.  Need something done?  They will organize and support with precision.  There is nothing a group of MilSpouses can’t tackle.  This extends to their teamwork approach.  MilSpouses are unique in that they can be a rock star individual contributor, but also play quite nicely on a team.  Did we mention that they are adaptable?

As you struggle to fill your team, ask yourself if you’ve overlooked one of the best sources of employees in the business.

And a quick note to MilSpouses out there – There are employers out there who value the above.  Not every job needs to be 40 hours a week, nor does it need to be done in person.  Don’t put your own career on hold because you feel there aren’t companies that understand your needs.  Work with employers who understand your value.  “MilSpouse” does not equal unemployed or even underemployed.  Know your value, keep your skillset up to date and seek employers who get it.

 

BOOST Recruiting

Contact BOOST and let us help find your next unicorn!
[email protected]

Introducing BOOST LLC

BOOST was founded to support GovCons as they get to the next level. After reinventing the wheel many times and banging our heads against numerous walls, we have learned what works and what doesn’t. We love working with executives who want to see their organization grow and who value advice from those who have “been there, done that.” We want our small clients to outgrow us. We want our large clients to use us when they need us and then call us back for the next project. We want you to sell your business for the multiplier you want. We want you to be successful.

www.boostllc.net

Be Very, Very Quiet… We’re hunting Unicorns…

The definition of a unicorn is a mythical beast that looks like a horse with a horn projecting from its forehead.  However, in this context, we’re talking about the ever-elusive purple unicorn; something that is highly desirable but difficult to find or obtain.  In the recruiting world, companies are always looking for the purple unicorn, but is this reasonable?  Unfortunately for the hunters, the answer is no.

Of course, every employer would like to check off every box on the “requirements for the job description” section. Yet there are very few individuals (if any) who would match every job description perfectly.

As a recruiter, here are a few pointers on how to come close to finding the unicorn:

• Review the job requirements. This step is the most important. You will want to be sure that you have captured everything that the person will need to do as well as any specific knowledge, skills, and abilities or KSAs.

• List the requirements from most important to least important. By ranking the requirements, it provides good insight into what are the “must-haves” and “need to have” for the role.  Of course, we want it all, but there is no perfect person or job out there where everything will match 100% of the time.

• Be sure to know the difference between what you want and what you need. Having too many requirements and expecting the individual to have all the KSAs is unreasonable.  By knowing what you want versus what you need, you are in a better position to identify where compromises can be acknowledged to get closer to the individual that would best fit in the organization.

• Be willing to compromise on the KSAs. In some roles, especially for the high-tech positions, certifications are key.  We have found that in some cases, years of experience can be swapped out for certain certifications. In addition, by knowing where you are willing to compromise you will open up the target candidate pool to find those diamonds in the rough.

• Hire not only for KSAs but for cultural fit. When considering hiring someone, make sure that the person will fit into your corporate culture as well as function within the team.  We cannot stress enough that making the wrong hire can be extremely costly to the bottom line.  It is estimated for a role that is considered mid-career it can cost an organization upwards of $50,000 or more.  That is a lot of money and time that has been invested in hiring someone who doesn’t “fit” the company.

As mentioned, hunting and hiring the purple unicorn can be difficult if near impossible.  There are a multitude of factors to consider such as cultural fit and understanding what is really needed to do the job.  When we are hunting the unicorns, we use the mentioned bulleted items to open up our candidate pool to find that diamond in the rough because he or she, just might be the purple unicorn hiding in plain sight.

If you’re looking for purple unicorn search support, let us know! BOOST functions as a boutique recruiting firm, with customized, targeted recruiting efforts for your billable positions, C-suite or corporate positions. Give us a shout, [email protected]

 

Military Spouses as Employees | Part 1

The following is the first in a two-part piece discussing the challenges and strengths of being, hiring and working with military spouses.

 

Military Spouses are among the most dedicated groups in our nation. It is not easy to understand or imagine their struggle as one half of a highly dedicated and honorable partnership.

I recently watched a show about a military attachment where there was local unrest about a war. A military spouse (mil spouse) stood up to the protestors outside of a prominent military base, and asked why they weren’t supporting their troops?
The leader of the protestors asked something to the effect of “how do we know that the troops even support fighting this war.” The mil spouse responded, “how do we know you have a sense of honor?”

In that one question, she hit a very pertinent nail on its head.
Why do mil spouses make great employees?  Honor.
They have it and that same honor is instilled throughout their families. Honor is the backbone to many of the desired features of a “model” employee. From there you can include the characteristics of someone who is reliable, trustworthy and has a good work ethic. These are highly marketable and employable qualities.

Here’s the challenge for mil spouses:

  • They move constantly
  • They are readily tasked with rearing their children alone as a result of the active duty service member’s obligations

Here is a solution:

This challenge is surmountable! Do they have skills they can do from anywhere? Simply because they have a license in one state does not mean they are doomed when the PCS (permanent change in station) orders arrive. Consulting is a viable career option that adds schedule flexibility.

 

BOOST provides back-office support services such as accounting, bookkeeping, contracts, and recruiting. While our niche is GovCon, it can be learned by the “right” type of employee. One that is willing to work for the knowledge. Based on the criterion we search for, a mil spouse could be a fantastic addition.

For spouses lacking skills in back-office services, there are a variety of programs to assist with career advancement. A specific program that teaches GovCon back office skills may not readily exist there may be an opportunity for a non-profit to boost mil spouse employment.

*For Example See MyCAA at military.com that describes tuition assistance for spouses of
E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2 members.

If you would like more information regarding the opportunities for mil spouses as employees for BOOST or some of our trusted partners, please connect with us on LinkedIn or email [email protected].

 

 

 

*From https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-career-advancement-accounts-financial-aid.html

Hiring Green Graduates

May is a time of year where we shed off the drab winter blues and look forward to the warmth of springtime.  May is also a time for college graduation and students hoping to start a career in their primary field of study.  It is estimated by The National Center for Education Statistics that roughly 2.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2019.  For employers this is an untapped market of bright, new talent; however, most of these individuals will not have enough on-the-job experience to qualify for jobs in their field of study. That begs the question, how do you as a small business, tap into this talent pool knowing that these graduates may not have internships or relevant job experience?

Here are a few tips to navigate the waters of the Green Graduate:

  • Create an internship or externship program.
    Provide opportunities where students and graduates can obtain on-the-job (OJT) training in their degree program. By creating these types of programs, individuals can get their foot in the door and showcase their talent, while you have the opportunity to evaluate the individual on their merits. When setting up an internship or externship, be sure that it is legally compliant with Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines.
  • Determine if certain job requirements can be reduced or if coursework and projects can be considered as experience.
    Some job postings are identified as entry-level positions only to require that the individual must have some experience.  Try to be loose in what you identify as years of experience. In some cases, especially in the IT arena, there are bright and rising stars in the field who have completed numerous courses and projects that could potentially be counted towards meeting the experience requirement.
  • Be thorough in your interviewing.
    Successfully interviewing candidates is the key to any good hiring practice. Be especially thorough with green graduates, as  you are taking a chance with someone who might not have enough experience or track record in doing the job.  Get to know the candidate and learn what their career ambitions might be, as well as their overall maturity level.  By gauging their ambition and maturity level, you’ll be able to assess if the candidate is ready to make the jump from college grad to being part of the professional workforce.
  • Once hired, provide training.
    Regardless of where you are in your career, it is necessary to consistently attend training and development programs simply because technology or best practices are changing at a rapid pace. This is especially important for the green graduate. Providing OJT will allow the employee to acclimate to the industry and provide opportunities to network with other professionals. Additionally, OJT will also help you as an employer, guide the green graduate to success in a demanding career.

BOOST knows GovCon HR and recruiting and how to incorporate new graduates into your staff We function as a boutique recruiting firm, with customized, targeted recruiting efforts for your billable positions, C-suite or corporate positions. We also help companies build a culture where employees want to work. If you need HR or recruiting guidance email [email protected]

Meet Avantika!

BOOST LLC is thrilled to announce that the team is growing.
Please give a warm welcome to Avantika Singh!
She will be supporting BOOST’s clients with her specialties in government cost/price volume expertise, strategic pricing expertise, price to win,  financial model development, financial analysis, federal contracting, metrics/measurement reviews, forecasting and more.

We took some time to get Avantika’s thoughts on the following:

Three pieces of advice for growing govcons: 

  • Always be ambitious
  • Business is meant to be grown
  • Don’t get comfortable in your own zone

What/Where is the best resource for growing your network? 

The best resource for growing the network for me has been word of mouth referrals as a consultant.  When you do good work, people trust you and recommend you, so person to person or business to business referrals have been my biggest resource.

What is your “hot take” for finding success in your industry? 

It is important to make mistakes. You don’t learn if you keep winning. Yes, it’s obviously great to win, but making mistakes and losing on a few bids gives you the best experience for long-term success.

What is the most surprising experience you’ve had working in the govcon community? 

What surprised me in this industry when I first started was how close-knit and small it really is, despite having large behemoth companies and small mom and pop shops. It seems like the same usual suspects intersect at various points, and it’s a very good community overall.  Reputation actually matters, don’t burn bridges, and collaboration is the way to go…even with competitors.

Seven Tips for Navigating 4Q18

As we start into the last government fiscal quarter, it is feast or famine time. Some have hit the beaches, getting some much-needed R&R and family time. Some are heads-down in proposal mode, worried about when the next one will hit. Others are in purgatory, the stretch between proposal submission and proposal award, with their fingers crossed thinking about the to-do list should they win.

All in all, summer is notoriously a time for going all out or taking off in the federal space. The battle rhythm is hard to hit. Here are some key points to consider, if only for your sanity.

  • Proposal Hell – make sure you’ve locked in the proposals you plan on bidding this summer. If it isn’t in your pipeline and you haven’t been tracking it, you aren’t ready to prime.  Don’t burn out your team on a bluebird, low probability win. You’re going to need them for your must wins.
  • Proposal Heaven – It’s late in the game, but make sure your templates are up to date and ready to bang out. Opposite of above, be ready to turn a bluebird subcontracting proposal over quickly. If you are doing less of the heavy lift, take more risk and bid more. This is where your templates can greatly reduce effort and your team can respond with agility. Besides, some percentage of revenue is much better than no revenue. Expand your book of business without needing to prime everything.
  • Pricing – As you close June’s books, have your folks review with leadership actual vs. planned for the first half of the year. Is your multiplier running as you expected? Does your pricing strategy for the summer need to be adjusted? Do it now before you turn in those bids. What is the impact for your proposal? Where can you tighten up? Impact on Operations (particularly CPFF work)?
  • Recruiting – It’s a tight market and it’s hard to compete for key folks. Be aware of summer schedules and be flexible as an employer. If they can’t interview in the next two weeks, it’s not necessarily because they aren’t interested. Adjust your expectations for days to hire.
  • Leadership and Recruiting – It’s a great time to schedule those pipeline candidates for coffee where you can. They want to interact with leadership, not the recruiter. Take the time to touch base so when the contract award hits, you can move quickly.
  • Mental Health – This is important for everyone. Take the vacation, take the time off. Get off your phone and dear god, stop driving your team endlessly. If leadership can’t take a vacation and check out for a bit, what have you done wrong in your business? Delegate, empower and document. This goes for CEOs to administrative staff. Absolutely no one is irreplaceable. Create an environment where taking time off is actually a good thing, not something that is frowned upon.
  • Be Efficient (a tip from Courtney Fairchild of Global Services) There will be a great deal of opportunities arriving at the end of the fiscal year buying season, but working smart will save you valuable time and energy. Looking ahead at forecasts; touching base with current government clients; having up-to-date GSA schedules with all the services and products you offer, and being mindful of micro-purchase thresholds can provide meaningful wins and cash flow.

 

Before you disconnect for a bit- get everything in order to jump back in well-rested and energized. If you find you’re a little light on recruiting or pricing preparation, let BOOST know. We’re happy to jump in and have a conversation with you to see where you can tighten up and delegate when possible. Email[email protected] and let’s talk.

Why Pricing?

BOOST is excited to announce the launch of our new strategic pricing initiative, designed to support your proposal pricing needs and provide Price to Win strategy that incorporates all back office functions. We want you to win work, grow and succeed. Strategic pricing can get you there. 

Pricing impacts absolutely everything in an organization. If you haven’t been thinking about it strategically, or have just relied on your accounting shop to pull together a spreadsheet, you are going about it all wrong.

Here’s what I mean:

Capture –

  • How much does this customer have in the budget?
  • What did the incumbent bid?
  • Is it worth it to pursue this strategy?
  • Is this a profit play or increase past performance, new client, new offerings?
  • Impact to teaming decisions and teammates?
  • Did you know that Capture “owns” pricing? They’re ultimately responsible for the bid price.

Proposal Team –

  • What key personnel do we bid?
  • What type of labor mix will show the customer that we can deliver?
  • What price will come in competitively?
  • How do we price our solution?
  • How will our competitors bid?
  • How will we ghost weaknesses?
  • How can the pricing volume help win themes?
  • Other volumes impacted by price, such as SB volume, Contracts volume?

Recruiting –

  • Who are the key personnel and how can I ensure exclusivity (if possible)?
  • What is the geographic location, skill set and salary rates we need to start pipelining beforehand and hire in execution?
  • Greening plan? Innovative hiring solutions for continuity of ops over the contract years?
  • What flexibility do we have on credentials?
  • What type of benefits can we offer to supplement for lower base salaries?

HR –

  • What training do we need to offer to current staff?
  • Who can move from existing work to new work, allowing for career path?
  • How do we manage the workforce needs of the new team?
  • If changing badges, how do we ensure they understand our culture, benefits, etc.?
  • What is the cultural impact to the organization?

Operations 

  • How soon can we transition fully and hire?
  • Will we be stuck managing a team of unhappy badge changers?
  • What is the impact to the other projects if we trade players?
  • How can we keep the customer happy with a new team?
  • How can we hire the talent we need at the salaries we bid?
  • How do we overcome a small (or non-existent) annual increase and keep the team motivated?
  • How will the contract type affect performance metrics? Should we account for risk in the bid?

Finance –

  • What is the cost to hire, how quickly will we hire and what are the cash flow requirements?
  • What will be the impact to margins?
  • How do we deliver for maximum profits?

Leadership 

  • What does the win do for us in the marketplace?
  • Can we deliver operationally and do so profitably?
  • What is the impact to our culture that we need to recognize?

Shareholders –

  • What does this do to the company’s overall position within the industry/market?
  • What is the financial impact?

Absolutely everyone in an organization is impacted (directly or indirectly) by the pricing strategy that you employ on the bid. It goes without saying that to start, you’ve got to win. But the need to win MUST be tempered with the above impacts. Winning a poorly priced bid for headaches in execution is NOT worth it. Do not fall into the trap of “must win at any cost” mentality. It can wreck culture, margins and reputation.

For all the above reasons, we are extremely excited to announce our strategic pricing shop. We’ve got 10+ senior pricers that cover practically every agency, who have won billions. As we push towards fiscal year end, utilize professionals who can help you think through all of the above and win.

Recruiting During Proposal Season

Soon proposal season will be upon us…along with writer’s block, visions of past performances dancing in your head, cost volumes, long nights and lots of coffee. But, the most enjoyable of all is resumes, sourcing, contingent offer letters and recruiting.

Government contracting recruiting is not like commercial recruiting.  The talent pool is small, the salaries are low, the lists of qualifications are long and the skill sets are specific. Proposal recruiting is its own version of fun with key personnel, vague requirements and candidates who get cranky when they hear you are recruiting for a proposal.

Whether recruiting for a proposal or a funded job req, the usual question is whether you recruit with in-house recruiters or if you utilize an outsourced recruiting firm (or individual recruiting consultant). There are several pros/cons to consider when outsourcing:

Pros of Outsourced Recruiting

  • You can use recruiting support only when needed, which can keep costs down
  • Recruiting firms offer the benefit of an expanded network
  • The resources of a qualified recruiter result in finding candidates faster, also important in proposal recruiting
  • Recruiting firms can keep the client confidential in postings, which is especially beneficial in the intelligence community or when recruiting for proposals

Cons of Outsourced Recruiting

  • For proposal recruiting, you are expending costs that you may not recover
  • You still need to add the cost into the indirect rates
  • Outsourcing can add additional time to the process (i.e., bringing a recruiter up to speed, learning your culture, etc.)
  • Better upsell of your company when you directly deliver the message

There is no right/wrong answer when it comes to determining how you will conduct your recruiting.  Both insourced and outsourced offer benefits and advantages.  Outsourcing costs more, but allows you to focus more efforts on different areas (proposal writing, business development, etc.).  If you have the staff available, insourcing can save costs and give you more control over the recruiting process.

BOOST and Apertus Partners are conducting a workshop through the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce GovCon Initiative on May 31st at 8:30 on Recruiting in the Intelligence Community.  Come join the discussion on recruiting challenges, case studies of successful internal recruiting from a local GovCon, the price of recruiting and recruiting diverse candidates in the Intel space. Ross O’Rourke from IC-1 Solutions will present on his company’s experience with internal recruiting in the intelligence community and Dat Nguyen, a BOOST recruiter, will speak on his experience with diversity recruiting in the intel space.

Register here.