The Ermi Group loves working with our strategic partners, and welcome Evan Scott as this month's guest blogger.

Evan Scott is the CEO and a founding partner of the executive search firm ESGI. The company, based in Alexandria, Virginia specializes in working with private sector companies who sell products, services or consulting to Federal, State and Local Government. The firm assists these clients with recruiting senior level executives for their key positions.  He serves as Chairman for The Membership Committee of The Homeland Security and Business Defense Council, serves on the board of The Washington Chapter-USO and is active at AFCIA, NDIA and Infraguard. Learn more about ESGI at

Dear Mr/Ms. SES,   GovCon Executive

Your Next Job May NOT Be Out There Waiting For You…

By Evan Scott

People choose to begin or build their careers in the public sector for a variety of reasons – a commitment to a program or series of programs, a desire to serve the public interest, loyalty to a particular government, and even national pride/patriotism for some. Further, a career in the public sector typically carries with it a number of benefits – greater job stability, a more defined path to advancement, exceptional benefits and retirement plans.

However, despite the widely recognized benefits, a growing number of senior public sector executives contact us with questions about careers in the private sector. These individuals tend to feel as though they have worked hard and made their mark at their organization or agency and simply want to pursue a new challenge. Perhaps they have twenty or twenty-five years at a particular agency or military branch and can leave with a pension, but feel they are too young to retire. Others indicate they are tired of the “politics” or frustrated with the inability to move between agencies.  Regardless of the reason, it is an increasingly familiar path and it is a move that often proves rewarding for individuals and organizations alike.

In the private sector, when we work with senior level executives they typically have many years of business experience and we discuss the pros and cons of leaving one company to join another. On the other hand, when we sit down with an officer from the armed forces or executive from DHS the discussion is quite different.

When considering individuals from the military, companies assess the candidate’s ability to move from a command and control structure to an environment that requires them to influence people at all levels in the organization. In business you can’t “command” people to perform and this is where business leadership is critical. We have many examples of senior officers responsible for large commands, and most companies simply do not recognize this as applicable to their business. However, companies do recognize the value of credibility with, and access to public sector decision makers. There are many companies inside and around the beltway who recognize the value in having highly regarded military personnel carrying the corporate logo on their business cards.

Over the last twenty plus years, we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of experienced professionals who have served the public sector with distinction, but have reached the difficult decision to leave and join the private sector. As with any important career move, it is important to plan ahead. The following is our short list of things to consider when developing your own personal transition plan:

By now, it should be clear to you that the private sector environment differs considerably from the public sector. The transition is not always an easy one. However, despite a sluggish global economy, the demand for executives from public service has not slowed. Just remember that with these jobs come new and specific expectations. Be very sure you understand how your new employer will measure your success.