If you’ve clearly defined a business need and then decided to hire and work with a consultant, there’s still the biggest task of all ahead of you – finding and choosing the right consultant for the job!
First Thing’s First – Where to Look?
If you’re looking to hire a great consultant, you actually have many options, we thought we’d get you started with some ideas below:
Without a doubt, this is the very best way to find a consultant. Ask your industry compatriots for referrals to consultants they’ve used, or, if you’re using a general consultant, ask all the professionals you know. Unless it’s a very obscure field you’re looking for, chances are you should come up with a great shortlist.
If you’re looking online, your choices are almost endless. Linkedin.com is a great place to look for specific people, specializing in the business of consulting. Otherwise, a Google search should bring up countless options, which you can narrow down by area or specific expertise.
Industry Organizations and Events
Another great idea would be to contact your own industry regulating body, or perhaps, in some cases, the regulatory body of consultants working in your industry. Or you could visit an exhibition, seminar or conference for the field of interest, and look for recruits there.
Many leading experts contribute to industry periodicals, or even write their own books. If you are looking to hire a consultant that is considered top of their game, there’s no better place to find them.
Other Important Points
Wherever you locate your short list of consulting candidates, whether via one of these methods, or post your consulting project on a job search site targeted to consultants, or some other method, the key is to apply sound recruiting principles before making a choice.
Make sure that you check references, find out about projects they have completed successfully, and the degree of success. Check whether the person pitching their proposal to you is not simply one of the partners in the practice, and that a junior staff member will be assigned the actual task.
Meet with the consultant you are considering hiring before you actually hire them, in order to make sure you share the same vision, and that your personalities are suited.
If you decide to hire a consultant with a particular style or approach to solving the type of problem you are presenting them with, bear in mind that they are unlikely to change that style to suit you. You cannot hire someone who is renowned for a particular approach, and then expect them to follow your rules!
One final word on choosing and hiring a consultant – while certification or licensing is certainly a good yardstick to measure consultants by, it’s by no means the last word on competence. Many people who have been involved in an industry for years become consultants too. That hand on experience should not be overlooked!