Hiring the right consultant for your business is critical to the success of your project and often, the life of your firm. Identify and document your objective and deadlines before interviewing consultants. Always interview 3 – 5 consultants and ask the tough questions:
- Can you provide me with a step by step project plan with a timeline?
- What guarantee do you provide with your service?
- Do you have references for similar projects?
- Who are the team members and what are their credentials? (if applicable)
- What are your credentials? Do you have a bio? Do you have professional references?
- What is your back up plan if you are unable to complete the project for any reason? (important if they work alone)
- What are the standards you set for yourself in providing your services?
- How do you handle unexpected results during a project? Can you give examples?
- Does your consulting include documentation and training?
- What happens if I am unhappy with the progress or results of the project?
- Do you provide status reports as the project progresses? (ask for examples)
- What is your communication system? How soon do you get back to clients when they contact you?
- The 2 most important things to learn before entering into a contract is 1) What are the costs? and 2) How do I get out?
- Never pay the entire cost up front.
- Check references.
- If they are certified, ask for the entity that governs the certification; check if their certification is in good standing.
- Search the internet for both the personal name and business name for the consultant.
- Ask a trusted advisor or colleague to interview the consultant to give their expert opinion.
- Before signing on the dotted line, read the fine print of the contract and understand it. Have your attorney review it.
Take the time to go through the entire process with 3 to 5 consultants. At the end of the process, you should be able to choose wisely based on the information you obtain and how it compares. A true professional will be prepared to furnish this information and have answers ready. Understand the information you obtain my not lead you to choose the consultant based on price. It is important to consider the quality of the service as it relates to your objectives.
Be successful…plan properly and choose wisely.