Advice on how to successfully hire external consultants
The reasons for bringing external consultants on board can be many. And although it is not rocket science to hire external consultants, it isn’t something to treat lightly. Here, Senior Account Manager Jytte Raahede and Jesper Astrupgaard give some tips on how to onboard consultants successfully.
Well-defined requirements are key
First, you have to make it clear to your organization what your needs are and why they emerged. When you have a clear notion of your needs, it is also much easier to communicate – both to your employees and to the supplier of consultants. Put some effort into writing your request to the supplier of consultants so you make sure that what you need is well-defined. Although it can seem like a banality, you should put some effort into this step and not treat it lightly. Use the supplier actively in the process of writing your request. The more the supplier knows about the project the better they can find the right profile for your organization. In the request, you should emphasize the description of the project and the context around it. Also, specify what competences and area of expertise you want the consultant to have and what the status and objectives of the project are.
For the supplier, it is also about making the project appear interesting to the consultant, and a precise, detail-oriented request is the best prerequisite for finding the exact profile you need.
Meet the consultant
The interview is an important part of the process of finding a suitable consultant for your project. With the interview, you have the chance to assess whether you have chemistry, but also if the consultant’s competences match your expectations for the project. Although a consultant might seem like the right choice on paper, the physical chemistry can appear differently. A big part of finding the right candidate lies with the supplier, however, the interview is a way for you to reassure that you feel comfortable with the choice of consultant.
Include the stakeholders
During the interview, you get the chance to describe the project in details and to introduce the key figures. Have relevant stakeholders present at the interview, but make sure to also involve them early on when you are writing up the request. They have definite knowledge about your needs and what it will take to meet them. So make use of this knowledge from the beginning.
The consultant is aware that they are expected to deliver from day one and to create their own success, therefore, they are also used to hit the ground running. However, there are a few things you should still consider. Make sure to have electronic access and equipment ready, know who will welcome the consultant upon arrival, and how the course of the first couple of days will be. Also, give the consultant access on equal terms as the permanent staff so they can act as part of the team. Prepare the employees and organization to give the consultant the best premises for a successful start. This will also benefit your organization in the long run.
Part of a successful course with external consultants entails that the consultant finishes the project properly. Therefore, you should set aside time for the consultant to hand over the project, so that you are well-appointed to take over. It also includes making sure everything is documented and that there are no loose ends. This also gives you a chance to assess if the objectives were realized and if your expectations were met.
Use the supplier
To best get through the process of hiring an external consultant, you should choose a supplier that has knowledge of your organization and understands where you stand and where you want to go. Consider the supplier a collaborator and be transparent and open in the dialogue. Thus, you have the best starting point for finding the right consultant for your organization.