For many clients, hiring a consultant can be overwhelming. They often ask questions like, “How do I know what I need?”, “Can I hire a consultant on an as-needed basis?” and “How do I know the right amount to pay?”
Adding an expert to your team enables you access to a broader talent pool and accelerates the achievement of your goals. You can hire an expert for short- and long-term assignments and for their specific area of expertise, be it strategical, tactical or both. Flexible team-building means you can round out your current team’s talents and fill any gaps to achieve your business goals faster and more effectively. Instead of feeling stuck in “the way things have always been done,” you’re free to ask, “What team do I want?”
If you’re looking to hire a consultant, here are some tips to help you in the process:
Determine Your Team’s Skill Gaps
Get clear on both your present and future business goals. Then appraise your current talent.
Perhaps your team is operating well today, but what about in three months when you have a major launch? Or what about that new project your boss just gave you to complete in a few months with little budget and resources? Managers today must constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the gaps between their goals and their resources as these shift frequently.
Scope the Work and Budget
Create the actual role, specific Statement of Work (SOW) and budget before you seek to bring on an expert. This will help you hire for the right skills and ensure the expert knows their role from the get-go so they can hit the ground running.
A couple important tips to keep in mind when determining the right level of pay for a specific role:
- Ask your colleagues what ranges they’ve hired consultants at for similar types of work.
- Search online for the title to give you a broad sense of market rates. There is no perfect science to determine the ideal rate, but you want to make sure you at least have a realistic range in mind for the work you need.
It could be disastrous if you need strategic help and you hire someone too inexperienced because they were on the lower end of the pay scale. Vice versa, if you need a tactical “do-er” and you have some time to train them, you can hire at a lower rate — just don’t expect them to possess high-level strategy or political navigation skills.
Find the Perfect Consultant
Now you’re ready to hire! The most common approach to finding the right consultant is leveraging your network for referrals. You can utilize LinkedIn and ask your colleagues for recommendations of people with the specific skills you’ve defined. The more specific you can be about what you need, the better you’ll be able to maximize your time; otherwise, your contacts will refer lots of candidates that may not be the right fit, which can eat up your screening time.
If you’re short on time (and who isn’t?) and want access to a broader talent pool, then working with an agency may be a good option for you. Take your time to find the right agency partner who has experience and credibility in the area you need. This will allow you to find the right person fast, plus a reputable agency will be at the ready to help you onboard the consultant and manage any project issues if they arise.
In the End
Finding the perfect consultant doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Using these 3 simple steps to guide you, you’ll find it’s easier than you thought to hone in on precisely what you need to drive your business!