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Frequently, shouldering the responsibility of hiring a consultant for your company can be stressful, making you feel as if you’re not up to handling such a daunting and critical task.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Courtesy of our team here at Excel & Access, follow these tips and pieces of advice to make the process of finding the right consultant for your company smooth, stress-free, and successful.
1. Do a Thorough Technical Interview
Although most companies put their full-time employee candidates through rigorous interview processes, many consultants succeed in being hired on references alone.
However, this can be a big mistake, and your company should vet any potential consultants as well. As a test, ask about a small but realistic problem, and have them walk you through a possible solution. A knowledgeable consultant should pass with flying colors.
2. Vet Them As Any Other Employee
When interviewing a potential consultant via the same process as you would when hiring a full-time employee. Conduct the interview as you would with a job candidate, and explore their work ethic, guiding philosophy, and their cultural fit within your company. Keep in mind that they are going to be working closely with your team. Lastly, don’t forget to ask for their references and to speak with their previous clients.
3. Build Trust Gradually
Your company must trust that the consultant you hire can handle what you need them to do. Generating that trust takes time and patience; after hiring your consultant, start off with smaller projects and work towards increasingly larger ones to keep your business relationship on sure footing.
4. Check Their References
Ask other companies about their experiences with the consultant you’re considering, and find out what they succeeded in accomplishing how the consultant worked with that company, including their process and style. Doing so will help you to determine if it is a good fit, particularly if you check in with multiple references.
Further, if the hire is unknown to you or your senior management, finding a personal reference is all the more critical. If you cannot find a common colleague, this may show that the consultant is unproven or high-risk. Make it a goal to acquire a personal reference from somebody you trust.
5. Don’t Break the Bank
When you’re negotiating with a consultant, let them know what your budget is and ask them to advise a plan of action for you. You can even start off small and add on new services as your company’s budget allows. The key here is to set expectations and boundaries to make sure that your business’s needs are fully communicated.
6. Interview Multiple Vendors
To get a sense of your options, meet with and interview multiple vendors. Give each of them a task to perform in the same amount of time to see who performs the best. Whoever delivers high-quality work on-time is a good bet for you.
7. Get a Detailed Contract
When signing a contract, be sure that you have covered all possibilities, including hours, costs, milestones, due dates, and deliverables, as well as who pays for any outside expenses. It is vital to make sure that everyone is on the same page, knows what is expected, and who the point of contact is on each side.
8. Trust Your Instincts
When you’re hiring a consultant, the core issue is whether their technical judgment or advice is sound, making a consultant that knows their stuff is well worth the price. In addition to technical interviews and thorough vetting, remember to listen to your gut. Consultants who look good on paper but who are unable to explain concepts clearly are probably not your best bet.
9. Communication is Key
Communication is critical in any business relationship. If a potential consultant cannot explain to you why or how he/she is doing something in a certain way, then you have no way of knowing if this person is right for your business. You don’t always need to understand how consultants do what they do, but as a company, you need to understand the why.
10. Don’t Mess with a Good Thing
Once you find a consultant that you work well with, develop that relationship and stick with them. Not only will you have a good working relationship, but you will also save money by partnering with a consultant who, over time, will come to understand the ins and outs of your business.
For more information on what Excel & Access can do for your business, contact us today by reaching out and giving us a call!