How to Screen Prospective Consultants

The current market for hiring consultants is still one of the growth areas as many companies struggle to survive during this current global economic climate. The reason is clear. More companies then ever before realize the strategic value of hiring consultants to identify the opportunities to increase productivity and profitability.

The top consulting companies who are benefiting from this increasing demand are those who understand what they need to do to compete as this market intensifies. The better ones have their own internal and rigorous selection processes prospective consultants will need to pass before being accepted as a qualified consultant. These top consulting firms will also perform a detailed analysis matching the exact requirements provided by the client with the skills and talents of their consultants to ensure the best consultant or consultant team is assigned to the project.

Consider using a reputable consulting company who not only has these rigorous checks in place but who also provides dedicated support throughout the life of the project. You will find that this is a cost effective way of identifying the strengths and skills you need to grow your business.

How Are Prospective Consultants Screened?

Interviews are an excellent way of gathering information as well as providing the consultant with the opportunity to sell himself or herself to the company. However, an effective screening process goes beyond that by verifying what the consultant has done and can do, what skills and talents they possess, their interpersonal skills and their ability to manage projects.

What skills, talents and personal attributes are actually verified as part of the screening process? These may vary by some degree depending on the consulting firm and their chosen fields of expertise. However, the more common ones are…

  • Qualifications – proof of the learning processes the consultant has undertaken and the relevant qualifications attained.
  • Track Record – how well the consultant has performed on previous assignments. The honesty to explain when projects have been less than successful as well as highlighting the most significant accomplishments.
  • Research – how well the consultant knows their declared areas of expertise. How up to date the consultant is with the market such as emerging technologies, strengths and weaknesses, and potential growth opportunities.
  • Strategic Thinking – the ability to stand back and take in the “bigger picture”. The ability to take the strategic direction of the company and define the action plan required to meet the company’s objectives.
  • Commercial Awareness – linked to research, what knowledge the consultant has of the competitive forces working within their chosen markets.
  • Lateral Thinking – the ability to look for new and innovative solutions.
  • Analytical Skills – the ability to think logically and methodically. The intellectual ability to seek out the true root causes to issues and challenges facing the company.
  • Presentation Skills – the ability to present analyses in a concise and convincing manner.
  • Management Skills – how well the consultants manages his or her time to maximize their productivity. How well the consultant manages others within the working environment.
  • Commitment – can the consultant demonstrate a willingness to go beyond what is expected such as working well under pressure, working long hours and so on?
  • Personal Drive – how well can the consultant demonstrate a personal drive and ambition to get the most out of their chosen career?
  • Interpersonal Skills – often difficult to measure and verify. However, without the ability to form sound working relationships with colleagues and clients, without the ability to communicate effectively at all levels, there will always be a doubt as to how well the consultant will perform.

The above skills and talents are regarded as essential attributes by the most reputable consulting companies. These companies have the experience and the expertise to build an exact picture of who the consultant is and where the consultant will add true value to your company.

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