Hiring the best independent consultant may be exactly what your startup needs to succeed. An outstanding business consultant is able to provide insight and bring his expertise to the table so that your newly founded company will be right on track. But in order to get the results that will launch your startup into orbit, you need to find and hire the right people starting in the business planning stage.
First of all, you need to conduct a thorough vetting process of the consultants you are interested in hiring just like in the case of full-time hires. If the consultant you choose does not have any experience within the field of your startup or a proven track record to offer you what you need, you might actually be spending vital resources and impeding the growth of your startup.
When you are choosing the right consultant for your business you need to determine if the experience of that individual will meet the needs of the company. Moreover, you need to be on the same page with the consultant in respect to what the project entails and the skills needed so that you are aiming toward a common goal.
I cannot stress it enough that the consultant you choose requires solid experience within the field in which your company activates. However, you should probably steer away from an overqualified expert whose needs are not in accordance with those of your company. Before you start scheduling interviews, write on a piece of paper the job that is required to be done. By doing this you are able to clearly articulate the company’s needs and expectations and ensure that the candidate is a great fit for the task.
For more info on how to hire the best consultant for writing your business plan you can access the article: Hiring the right consultant to help you write the business plan.
When you are prepared to start the interviewing process, vet the skill levels of the candidates using these 6 tips so as to ensure that you are hiring the best fit for your company:
1. First of all, you need to see how much experience the consultant has. For example, if a consultant hasn’t worked in the past on similar projects, you should not hire him or her, even if you’re desperate.
Moreover, make sure to assess the credentials of the candidates, the amount of time the person has been working within the field and the skills the individual possesses. If you hire a person that does not possess the necessary experience, you’re pretty much playing Russian roulette with the future of your company.
2. Ask for a portfolio or work samples. Despite the fact a candidate may have experience within the field, you should probably do due diligence and ask for work samples or a portfolio. The potential hire should provide concrete samples of successful projects and campaigns so that you can assess the caliber of the individual’s work. This is the best way to gauge a person’s ability to produce great results for your company.
3. In addition, you should ask for references. The reputation of a consultant says a lot about the ability of the individual to perform tasks and offer a high-level of professionalism. You should make a point out of talking with some of his/her past clients about their experiences and interactions with the consultant and determine how willing they would be to serve as a professional reference.
The feedback (positive or negative) you receive will offer answers to some of the questions you may have about a consultant before that person starts working for you. Moreover, you should do some digging and try to find off-list references. In most cases, the people listed on the reference list provided by the consultant probably won’t say a bad word about him or her.
4. See the work habits of the interviewed consultants. There is a solid possibility that the consultant will work remotely. Therefore, you need to understand his/her work habits and set expectations so that the relationship is more likely to succeed. Determine the degree of management the consultant will expect or need and be prepared to take a step back or become more involved than it’s usually required.
5. Another thing that should keep in mind before hiring a consultant is to determine how flexible he or she is. It may just so happen that your original mandate will change during the course of a project. Thus, it’s better to hire someone that is able to easily adapt and pivot.
And while you won’t know for sure how an individual usually handles a particular change, try and find out several key things about his personality and willingness to deviate from the initial plan. However, if you’re in the look for a consultant that is flexible, this means you have to be as well.
6. Last but not least, don’t forget about the price. Avoid hiring the consultant that asks for the lowest amount especially if you’re planning on getting your business off the ground. Your business deserves the best and while you might not be able to hire the most expensive one, you need to ensure that the project will be executed correctly. Funds may be a little bit tight and chances are you won’t have enough money to hire a replacement to clean up the mess of the initial consultant. This is why it is important that you don’t skimp on a crucial hire. Bottom line, both your money and reputation will be on the line.
Your employees will have the biggest influence on the success of your startup and consultants are part of it, even if only for a brief period of time. You need to have the best employees working for you. And your consultant shouldn’t be an exception.