Hiring consultants to supplement business activities is commonplace these days. Outside help can be a valuable solution for tapping into a particular expertise or for filling a need without the implications of becoming an employer. Although these contractors will not become a part of your payroll, they will become a part of your team. In a recent article in Entrepreneur, contributor Rob Beiderman reminds business owners to put consultants through a rigorous hiring process, just like they would for an employee. Similar to hiring a new team member, it is important to make sure your consultant is the right fit for your needs. Rob suggests six areas in which to vet your potential partner:
Investigate their experience. Just because they say they have it, does not mean they do. Ask pointed questions about projects they have completed that align with your needs.
Look at work samples. They have the experience, but is their level of quality up to your standards? Ask for examples of their work.
Get references. It’s a large red flag if your consultant does not have any clients willing to speak positively about their relationship.
Assess work habits. Working remotely is a common characteristic of contract workers and involves a level of trust. Discussing your expectations up front will help you gauge if their style fits into your company’s requirements.
Measure flexibility aversion. As your project progresses, your needs may change. Your consultant has to be able to evolve with you, being open to altering the original scope of work if necessary.
Compare price vs value. Weigh your desire for expertise and accountability against the cost of each consultant you are considering. The lowest price may not give you the best outcome. And remember, fixes after the fact can be expensive.
What has your experience been with hiring outside consultants? Do you have any advice you could share?