Posted on March 29, 2011
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Doug Munro, Staffing Director at Interferometrics – DoD & Intelligence Staffing Expert
• Doug Munro, Staffing Director at Interferometrics
• LinkedIn Profile
• Corporate Website
• Office (703) 227-8415
• Cell: (202) 957-4620
• Email Doug
• Music: Depeche Mode, Sade, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Coldplay
• Books: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, Shutter Island, Black Hawk Down, The Road, The Da Vinci Code
• Movies: The King’s Speech, Do the Right Thing, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather, Good Will Hunting
• Television: The Wire, Fringe, Cougar Town, American Idol, and Modern Family
Over the last three years one familiar and often visited friend has been Doug Munro. Though we haven’t met in person as of yet – social media has provided a varied platform for our ideas to be shared, and more likely than not … our own strong political views. Suffice to say our views on the day’s events are rarely in agreement but a touch of enjoyable spice to the day’s dialogue. Our chats make the mornings lively. Passion for love of country is a wonderful thing, and coincidentally – it’s his day job. Doug specializes in the DoD and Intelligence Community niche of staffing. In all our exchanges, he is the willing sounding board and he does so with wit, charm and above all, grace. It is a pleasure to give that written word another venue and to concentrate on Doug the personality, Doug the professional and as a friend to community. I am confident we will be hearing more from him in the months ahead and jump in together in the driving process.
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Doug
Doug: I’m blessed with an amazing family. I’d been married once, but eventually divorced and as time went on I started making peace with the idea that it might not happen again. I had a full, happy life but wasn’t getting the “thunderbolt” from anyone I was meeting. I met my wife through a friend and she was a bit intimidating; she was so gorgeous I found it hard to form sentences around her, but I finally summoned the nerve and asked her out. She said yes and we’ve been together ever since. Beyond her obvious beauty, Michelle has a passion for life that colors every part of the world we’ve built together. I tend to be fairly laid-back and her emotional fire and unwillingness to accept stagnation in life are great counterpoints to that; she helps me to keep looking ahead and demanding more out of life. My love for her is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
We have a seven year old son and he is a piece of work: loving, charming, bombastic, and of course happily destructive! It seems like I blinked my eyes twice and William turned seven. He makes me wish I could wrestle time into slowing down, but watching him grow and develop into an amazing little man is an incredible journey. He reminds me every day how important it is to hold onto our curiosity and sense of amazement about life.
We also have my wife’s eighteen year old daughter living with us. She came to us three and a half years ago after living with her father for a good part of her life. It was definitely an adjustment to have a teenager suddenly appear in the house, but Natalie is an extraordinary young woman and I am fortunate to have had the experience of developing a unique bond with her. I could not love her more if I had been there when she was born. She’s off to college in the fall and I know I’m going to miss her terribly.
We’ve also got an adopted cat named Hannah and a poodle named Heidi. We’re fortunate to have a wonderful network of friends and we love to have a full house, so there’s always plenty of noise and laughter in our home and I love it!
Six Degrees: What do you do outside of the industry to enjoy some R&R?
Doug: To be honest, I’ve lost touch with some hobbies in the rush of family life. With a full load of work and responsibilities I find the most rewarding pastime to be time spent together. We love to explore and are fortunate to live in a place that is close to some truly fascinating and beautiful locations, so we take day all the time. We travel well as a family, so whether it’s a short trip or an extended vacation we have a blast. I have personal interests in politics and history; living in DC is amazing in terms of all the history and museums available to us. He probably enjoys it more for the treats he ends up getting, but William and I love exploring the museums around town. When babysitting arrangements permit, Michelle and I love sampling the wide variety of exceptional restaurants in DC and some drinking and dancing around town with friends (Michelle dances and I drink, a perfect pair). I love movies and see as many as I can; in fact, Michelle and I’s longest standing date is watching the Academy Awards every year.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Doug: I started in 2001, so I have a big anniversary coming up this year. I’ve learned so much and seen so many changes that it feels like it’s been much longer!
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Doug: I’ve done a lot of things to make a living over the years. I’ve been a Bartender, a Bar Manager, a Mortgage Broker; I’ve even done voice-over work. I was looking for a change back in 2000/2001 and realized that living in Washington, DC it might make sense to get into something related to politics. I did some work in the national fundraising office of a Senate campaign, but wanted more. I connected with a gentleman named John Miyasato, who is a very successful political consultant here. We talked about the political arena for a while, but he brought the conversation back to a technical recruiting firm he owned and eventually offered me a job. I knew NOTHING about recruiting or Information Technology, so it was quite an immersion. Most of our clients were in the DoD and Intelligence Community, which added another interesting element. It was a great fit from the start: the connection to people, the fluid nature of IT, and the excitement of supporting mission-critical efforts. I was fortunate to find my way into that job and the subsequent corporate recruiting positions I’ve had; the beauty of the whole experience has been that I have learned a great deal from some very savvy people, but have also been thrown into the deep end of the pool along the way and had to figure out a lot for myself. That combined education is invaluable.
At Crossroads I began as a recruiter, but the role was more like what we’d refer to now as a Sourcer, though it wasn’t as sophisticated as that. I had a knack for making strong personal connections with candidates, so I quickly progressed into full lifecycle recruiting and then into account development and management. Selling prospective clients on our value-add was challenging at times, but helped thicken my skin and has helped me in subsequent roles, even where business development wasn’t a direct component of my work. I was getting my first lessons in Information Technology at the time, so the combined necessity of building a knowledge base in IT and learning to recruit successfully was challenging in the best way imaginable. The other layer was that most of our clients were in the DoD and Intelligence Community space, so I had to learn the intricacies of clearances and recruiting in classified environments. We would tackle any challenge, so the Crossroads years allowed me to recruit for the full range of IT disciplines and up to the highest levels of clearance.
From there I moved to be Manager of Recruiting at Integrated Communications Solutions, a Federal Systems Integrator specializing in Network Engineering, Information Security, and Information Assurance. It was a wonderful exposure to the corporate side of the fence. As an agency recruiter one of the challenges was to get as much information as possible from the client; beyond that, I would often chafe at a client’s inability to make the offer I wanted for my candidate. Once I got to ICS the walls came down and I was able to see everything. I participated in proposals, learned how pricing was done, became more knowledgeable about bill rates and wrap rates and how they affected competitive bidding, gained intimate knowledge of the relationship between government COTR’s and contractors, and most importantly was able to see directly into the details of the requirements. It was also my first deep foray into Cyber Security and that proved fascinating and enlightening.
I recently joined Interferometrics as Staffing Director and it qualifies as my most unique challenge to date. I’ve been tasked with creating a recruiting model nearly from scratch, so I’ve been able to apply all of my experience in a condensed time frame. One of the intriguing elements to this position is that Interferometrics provides both services and a unique product line-we are one of only two companies in the world that produces an effective Transmitter Location System. We have a history of unique scientific and technological accomplishments to go along with the services we provide and it differentiates us from many companies in our space. Of course, I’m still sourcing IT and Analysis specialists with high-level clearances, but the tangible value of selling a product as well is exciting to me.
Six Degrees: Tell us more about work on behalf of Interferometrics, Doug.
Doug: In the past I have been in charge of recruiting teams and the chance to mentor and collaborate has been very rewarding, but at Interferometrics I am a one man show. It is a challenge to build a foundation where none existed and help craft a brand and culture that sells our unique place in the industry effectively while simultaneously doing full lifecycle recruiting to fill very specific positions with high-level clearances for our existing contracts. That, however, is also the most exciting element of the work, the chance to build something from the ground up. The company has been in business 30 years but has never had a dedicated recruiting component, so I get to build the sand castle myself.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your recruitment industry career?
Doug: I don’t think there was one event so much as an evolution. Job boards and the internet have been around for some time, but the last few years have seen an explosion in the ways that people connect. Social media is likely the most obvious area and I was admittedly a little late to the party and am still soaking up as much as I can. Integrating LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook into a cohesive web of connection and information exchange has changed the model dramatically. It has accelerated the pace of information sharing and changed the way candidates and recruiters interact. We’re able to paint so much more vivid a picture with these tools and I believe it’s made all of us more discerning in our professional choices, while at the same time putting so many more choices in front of us. The level of connection available to us now is unprecedented and it has become imperative to navigate that universe effectively.
Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Doug: There was a Vice President at Crossroads named John Capozzi whose influence still sticks with me for a few reasons. One, he was always looking for another way to get things done, constantly thinking out of the box. It’s very easy to get stuck in rote practices-they may even be successful-but it’s important to keep looking for a different path. He was also incredibly persistent. Phone calls, emails…he stayed after candidates and clients alike until there was resolution. Too often we meet with a little resistance and become frustrated; even if the outcome is negative, it allows you to move forward and hopefully learn something in the process. Our president at Crossroads, John Miyasato, was also a great tutor. He had a very analytical mind; he was able to break a situation down into its components and simplify the approach. He also taught/forced me to be self-analytical down to a fine point. Every call, every email, every blog should have a reason behind it. I find myself still sometimes writing down what I want to accomplish before making a phone call, then checking myself afterwards to see where I succeeded and where I could have done better. I have John to thank for that. From both of them I learned the importance of effective communication and how each layer builds to the next. Even as the ways and means to communicate explode the basic rules still apply; a phone call is better than an email and a personal meeting is better still. With each layer we are able to deepen the connection and minimize misunderstanding.
Beyond that, there are people like yourself Dave; you, Glenn Cathey, Stacy Donovan Zapar, Marvin Smith, Gerry Crispin, people who are constantly pushing the envelope on how to source talent and create a brand and culture that evolves with the technologies that are emerging. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet any of these folks in person, but their influence is significant. Their constant quest for improvement and growth, coupled with their willingness to share their knowledge, is both inspiring and instructive to me.
Six Degrees: What other companies’ recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Doug: I have a lot of respect for Sodexho, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft to name a few.
Six Degrees: In what aspects are they superior?
Doug: I believe the common threads are innovation and engagement. They are constantly tweaking their model and trying new ways to attract and retain talent. The engagement aspect starts in their recruiting approach; they’re transparent with information and maintain steady contact throughout the process. It extends to the structure of their corporate environment; they’re inclusive, receptive to new ideas, and allow the employees to have a tangible stake in creating the company they want to work for-I think that attitude bleeds into everything they do.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future?
Doug: Given the arena I work in, the Federal budget is a big concern. Drawdowns in the DoD and Intel budgets will impact all of us in this space. Work is being eliminated, bill rates are being squeezed, government agencies are crossing contractors over to Fed positions, and one of our challenges is going to be guiding candidates through that evolution. Changing jobs isn’t going to mean an automatic pay increase any longer, so how do we explain the situation and how do we differentiate ourselves from our competition in the pursuit of talent? There will always be work in these arenas, but we are going to have to be aggressive and creative in the way we market ourselves and the ways in which we engage and reward our employees.
Six Degrees: Have you broadened your involvement within the staffing industry?
Doug: I have not had nearly the opportunity I would like to attend conferences and share information with others in the staffing industry. Typically I have attended job fairs targeting the talent pool I’ve been sourcing, specifically cleared candidates. I also attend industry-related events like AFCEA and DHS-sponsored events in DC. One of my goals is to get more personally involved in the larger staffing community, but I haven’t become a media mogul just yet!
Six Degrees: How did the recession effect your particular industry niche?
Doug: As an industry I would say the primary effect has been the increased pressure on the DoD and Intelligence Community to pare down their budgets and transition their contractor workforce to a Federal one. As bill rates get squeezed in such a competitive marketplace it becomes even tougher to vie for talent. We’re still asked to provide candidates with exceptional experience, high-level education, industry certifications, agency-specific backgrounds, and the highest levels of security clearance civilians can obtain. Yet in order to aggressively bid for work, even work where we might be the incumbent, we have to slash our rates and that often makes it difficult to pay the salaries to which candidates have become accustomed. It’s an ongoing challenge to create a broader compensation package and attractive culture to make our company stand out from the crowd.
I was personally affected by the recession. I was laid off from my last position. They were very gracious about it; I had done work I’m proud of and helped them grow and add some superb talents to the team and they treated me well. However, some leaner times in the beginning of my tenure there left a mark and the ongoing struggle to grow in the ultra-competitive Federal market forced them to change lines of credit. The new line left them temporarily cash-poor and quick action had to be taken. Since there were other recruitment resources in place, I became a luxury in the moment and was among a group of people let go. I don’t believe they saw it coming and I certainly didn’t; I bear no ill will, but it was definitely a shock to the system. I reached out to everyone I knew and was thankfully inundated with both well wishes and concrete leads and connections. My unemployment was blessedly brief. On the other hand, it was a chance to put on jobseeker shoes again and be at the other end of the recruiting conversations. I spoke with some extraordinary people, but also some that have a long way to go to be a service to the industry. It was very instructive, but more than that I touched on the emotions that so many are feeling these days. It is, no matter what the circumstances, a personal blow to lose your job and the fears and questions it engenders are difficult to manage. If anything I hope the experience added to my empathy for everyone touched by this economic downturn.
Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities.
Doug:I have been working to broaden my base in the online community through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve grown my LinkedIn base exponentially over the past two years and reached beyond areas specific to my work. I began tweeting last fall and have started getting increased traction there; its immediacy is very attractive and has forced me to seek out relevant content, which has the ancillary benefit of exposing me to a wealth of pertinent information. I had historically used Facebook purely as a personal forum, but now I’m integrating them all. Beyond the numerical aspect of increased connections, one of the great benefits to that unified exposure is that it gives prospective employers and candidates the chance to see beyond my job title and function and view me as a complete human being. There are risks of course; I try to be very aware of what I’m sharing, but I want to be a part of the human experience, not just a job peddler. I share connections with anyone to whom they might be a benefit, I put candidates together with other employers if I think they might be a fit for them, and I counsel candidates who don’t fit our requirements on how they might improve their job search. I think it’s important to do these things for their own sake, but I believe they pay off in tangible ways as well. My current position was facilitated by Debbie Peda of The Josef Group; she was in the process of establishing a fee agreement with my current company but knowing I was looking she pre-sold me to the CEO as an in-house alternative. Relationships like that are priceless.
Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what not to do?
Doug: Don’t try to be something you’re not. It sounds so simple, but I think we can all get caught up in trying to measure up to something we believe is important. Put yourself out there honestly. Use your own voice and be sincere and direct about what you’re hoping to gain from the connection. Okay, I guess I strayed from the “don’ts”, but it all relates. Don’t pretend to be an expert, don’t promise something you can’t produce, and don’t ever minimize any connection-every encounter adds to who you are and what you can accomplish.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Doug: In the immediate I want to help Interferometrics grow, establish a foundation that can outlive my tenure here, and contribute to a culture that everyone in the company can be proud of. Beyond that, I’d eventually like to work with one of the large corporations that are doing such amazing work as it relates to attracting talent (ideally in San Diego!). I have only worked in relatively small companies. That experience is extremely rewarding and offers an unparalleled sense of satisfaction when you can contribute to growth, but I would like to be involved with a larger corporate being at some point as well. I’d like to experience the difference in scope, see what I could do with additional resources to leverage and a big name flag to wave, and soak up the lessons as to how a large corporate entity is able forge their identity and engage their employees.
“Doug and I have collaborated over the past year or so on business matters that are beneficial to both of us. Doug is a person who maintains the highest level of integrity and is a trusted business partner. Doug is well connected, thoughtful, honest and resourceful. He comes with my highest level of endorsement. .”
Lee Wanless, Internal Recruiter, Applied Network Solutions, Inc.
“Doug was a terrific manager and mentor. He came to ICS when I was still figuring out what a recruiter was and he really led the way for me. He taught me a lot of tips and tricks to help me successful and was always a great motivation.”
Chrissa Dockendorf, Talent Acquisition Supervisor, Integrated Communication Solutions, Inc.
“During the two-year period I worked with Doug he demonstrated excellent capabilities as a corporate recruiter. For example, in many instances Doug was able to recruit a large number of highly qualified technical staff within a very few days when contracts were awarded with a short ramp-up period. He also consistently demonstrated a capability to recruit excellent project managers and other key personnel resulting in a high degree of customer satisfaction. Doug is a team player and he is well liked and respected by both employees and management.”
Wayne Bavry, Director, National Security and Financial Services, Integrated Communication Solutions
“Doug is the consummate professional. As a recruiter, he has come through for me more times than I care to count.”
Edwin Covert, CISSP, CISM, PMP, Senior Program Manager, Integrated Communication Solutions
“I worked with Doug when we were involved in a proposal in which I would be the requirements analyst. He was responsible for finding the staff required for the proposed tasks. There are three attributes for which I can vouch in his behalf:
(1) Attention to details: he made sure that all proposed staff met all requirements.
(2) He managed all changes that evolved as the proposal effort progressed.
(3) Most important from a personal point of view, in an activity involving bringing in new personnel, he strives to make potential recruits feel welcome.
In my extensive job hunting experience, Doug is by far the best recruiter I’ve come across.”
Alfonso Dominguez, Requirements Analyst, TCDI
“Doug is an experienced technical recruiter who has worked both the Agency and in-house side of the fence. A quick study and persistent recruiter, Doug is able to adapt to any environment and can work effectively with candidates and clients. He also was a great networker with other recruiters and agencies. Doug will fill the positions that need to be filled, and make all parties happy about the process.”
John Capozzi, Vice President, Crossroads Consulting
“Doug is a dedicated, aggressive, and friendly recruiter. We worked together to grow a company from 15 to 60 people in less than two years. As an outside consultant, Doug took the time to learn our company and provide top prospects that really fit our job requirements and culture. Not only is Doug a great recruiter, but he is a good friend and I would definitely work with him again.”
Larissa Fair, Platinum Solutions
“I have known Doug for several years now. We had the opportunity to work together when he was a recruiter for a staffing agency and he provided us with quality candidates. We have since worked with him helping to staff his positions at ICS. He has always been professional and just a pleasure to work with. I consider him a friend. He has great interpersonal skills and is extremely knowledgeable about recruiting.”
Debbie Peda, President, The Josef Group Inc.