Our very first client, back in 2015, was very reluctant to hire a consultant. It took several meetings before we were engaged. Prior experiences with consultants were not positive; they all wanted a five figure “retainer” and provided limited insight as to what they would do for him. They showed up in suits and offered up dazzling power point presentation - but my client was left baffled. What exactly would they do?
Sensing his hesitation and knowing we could provide value, we guided him through the process of what to look for. We made it simple and concise - and it worked! We were hired and within two months his business was back on track! So we are sharing our thoughts on the matter to help you as you search for that perfect match. We hope it helps!
Fit - the most important consideration is to find people you think you could work with. It may take 2-3 meetings to get a sense of a consultants’ style, so insist that they spend some time with you before you sign up! Have your questions teed up and look for consistency in responses. Also have them meet with others on your team to ensure buy in.
Accessibility, availability - how much time will they spend with your organization? Who is the personnel that will be assigned? Get assurances that
Deliverability - what, exactly, will they do for you? Provide written guidance? Mentor your team? Coach you as a leader?
References - always a good idea to ask for references. Also ask them to describe an assignment that didn’t quite work out. Probe the whys and their takeaways and lessons learned.
Pricing - Hourly? Project based? Determine what is best for you and seek flexibility from the market. Get a sense for what are “market rates” so you are not blindsided in the process
If you are interviewing a few different firms, it might help to create a ratings matrix of these and other pertinent considerations. After each interview, rank the candidates on a 1-5 scale. That way you are recording and quantifying your observations, and glaring differences can be weighed.
Tell us what your “gating” considerations are. We’d love to hear your perspectives!