Hiring a consultant for your business should entail a thorough search on your part. A consultant must have just the proper expertise, qualifications and experience that your company needs.
- Review your company's situation and write down the consultant's responsibilities and qualifications based on your business' needs. It's important to be grounded on your business' specific situation so that you have a clear picture of what your consultant's qualifications must be. It's good to look at your company from different angles. Let's say that profits from sales are low. Perhaps production is not cost-effective. Maybe marketing efforts are insufficient. Your review of the company's situation would help greatly in determining what kind of consultant you'd need, what his qualifications are, what ideas he may propose, and what level of experience and knowledge he has that's related to the company's areas for improvement.
During the interview, you may choose to present a made-up version of your company's situation, but which in fact closely resembles the actual scenario. You may ask your potential consultant his feedback on the situation you presented. By doing this you would be able to gauge if he has the expertise and the working style that you are looking for.
The key is to stay focused and not be blown over by an applicant's other impressive qualifications, but which are not in any way related to your company's needs.
- Specify your personal expectations and preferences for your consultant. Don't think that your personal preferences shouldn't count. Remember, you will be working closely with the person you're about to hire, so you'd best be comfortable about it. For example, would you rather work with somebody who is very aggressive and who wants to get things done instantly, or somebody who takes her time to listen and to fully assess the situation?
- Ask your contacts for recommendations. This will work especially well if your contacts are within the same industry. In particular, look for contacts from companies and businesses that have experienced the same setbacks as your company is presently experiencing. You may also choose to visit your Chamber of Commerce to ask for a list of referrals and recommendations.
- Check on your potential consultant's background. Call his referees, and make sure that all facts stated about his qualifications and accomplishments check out. Most of the time, companies will not be willing to give you specific details about their projects and businesses, but they will be able to share information on how a consultant has helped to meet their business needs.
- Make sure your consultant is thoroughly briefed on the company's situation. This should be done when you have finally decided on your consultant. Be sure that all facts are presented to the consultant in as clear and coherent manner as possible. Give him time to get to know the company and the people. Also, give him enough space to work with his own style. Trust in your own judgment that led you to hiring that consultant in the first place. Sound judgment, coupled with common sense, goes a long way in making sound decisions.