7 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Business Management Consultant
If you are thinking of hiring a business consultant, be it an individual or a firm, you know you are in for some big decision making. Hiring a consultant is like making an investment towards the growth of your business.
An investment not just in terms of money, but an investment also in the form of your time and efforts. And while great business management consulting can change the fortunes of the company for the good, a bad consultant can change the fortunes of a company for the worse too.
Avoiding consultant hiring mistakes is a safe way of ensuring that you find the right management consultant for your business objectives. Below are some of the most commonly made mistakes when hiring a consultant that you need to avoid.
1. Not Checking In-house
The first question you need to ask yourself is if you really even need a consultant. Simply re-reading the resumes of the employees working for you can end up saving the thousands of dollars you would have paid to a consultant. Ask your employees, who are already on your payroll, to check if someone within the office has the skills and expertise to successfully work on the project you were planning to hire the consultant for. Many companies end up shelling out money to get the skills that are already available in the company.
2. No Thorough Interviews
Since a consultant is not technically a full-time employee of the company, often companies make the mistake of not taking the interview process seriously enough. Keep in mind that the consultant will have a major and direct impact on the success or failure of your company. It is highly recommended to treat the consultant hiring interview process with the same amount of seriousness as the interviews conducted to hire full-time employees.
3. No Clear Business Objectives
Every new hire in a company goes through an orientation period to understand not just the company’s business but also its culture and value system. Although spending a lot of time on consultant orientation is not advisable because of monetary implications, completely ignoring this step is a big mistake. The consultant needs to be give clear business objectives that he or she needs to achieve, along with explaining them the company’s work culture for seamless cross-departmental functioning.
4. No Contractual Agreement
Not all partnerships end well and not all people are honest. Do not make the mistake of not forming and signing a contractual agreement simply because you like the consultant. Every minute detail of the partnership should be included in the agreement. This should include things such as the working relationship, objectives and the agreed timeframe for the work.
5. No Confidentiality Agreement
Keep in mind that consultants are like free agents. Many companies make the mistake of not asking the consultant to sign a confidentiality agreement. This leaves the company susceptible to leakage of sensitive data to the competitor if the consultant decides to share the information with your direct competition.
6. No Background Check
Consultants come to your company with a focussed skill-set. Although they may have done great work with amazing results for their previous projects, it is important to assess if the consultant’s skill-set will be beneficial for achieving your business objectives. Do not make the mistake of hiring a consultant who has all the skills that you won’t need and none of the skills that will actually benefit your business.
7. No Clarity About Money
Beyond their fee, consultants expect many of their other expenses to be taken care of by the companies hiring them. Make sure all expenses are taken into account before you finalize anything. You will be surprised how quickly the amount of ad-hoc expenses can rise.
As a hygiene factor, remember to introduce the business management consultant to your employees before he or she starts asking your employees for files and data. No one really likes getting work requests from a complete stranger.