The decision to bring in a consultant can’t be made lightly. You will take on a new expense, interrupt your natural workflows and team dynamic, and place a bet that your company will come out stronger in the end. With so much on the line, you need to be sure you’re hiring the right consultant. Their credentials are important, but so is their character, especially when it comes to loyalty. You want to be certain that the person you recruit can meet contractual obligations on schedule and within budget. Use these three strategies to test for loyalty:
Check the Consultant’s References
Like anyone soliciting you for work, ask for references. Get a comprehensive list from your consultant candidate, and reach out to as many as time will allow. Get as broad and deep a picture as possible about the consultant’s performance, demeanor, and lasting impact. Ask explicitly if the consultant has any weaknesses, and find out if they appear invested in projects and outcomes alike. Finally, find out what the reference’s experience with the consultant was like post project. Was any ongoing support offered?
Interview the Consultant Strategically
Since you will be working with this consultant intensely over a short period of time, their past performance really is more important than their future potential. During the interview, go in-depth into the candidate’s work history and ask them to describe experiences/assignments in detail. Pay close attention to how they describe former clients and how they reflect on their professional past. A loyal candidate will be honest, yet diplomatic; revealing, yet professional, and critical in a constructive way. A disloyal candidate will disparage past clients/collaborators and blame others for mistakes and failures.
Scrutinize the Consultant’s Tenure
Most consultants will provide you with a detailed list of past clients, including the dates of employment and brief details about the assignment. You might be tempted to raise a red flag if a consultant has an active track record, assuming that they stretched themselves too thin. But you run the risk of dismissing a talented, committed consultant. The better strategy is to look for dates that overlap and assignments that seem outside the consultant’s realm. Be sure to cross reference this with the information you gleaned checking references. Careful scrutiny can reveal consultants with a history of overpromising and underdelivering.
Recruiting consultants is always a challenge. Take advantage of resources designed to help you find better, more loyal experts in less time by partnering with The Squires Group.