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What to watch for when hiring a consultant

By Bill McCouch | April 2, 2020
Find out the six warning signs that will help you avoid hiring a ‘bad’ consultant.

Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

From time-to-time, almost every business needs to hire a consultant either because of a lack of in-house expertise or because they want to bring in fresh ideas and a new perspective. Unfortunately, not every consultant ends up working out, and hiring the wrong consultant can be a costly mistake.

Here are some warning signs that will help you avoid hiring a ‘bad’ consultant.

  • All talk: Some consultants will talk about all the things they can do. You need to look for a consultant that can demonstrate past accomplishments and the value they brought to other clients.
  • One-size-fits-all: If a consultant makes you feel like your situation is exactly the same as another client, do not hire them. Every organization is different so make sure to ask them how they will tailor solutions to your specific needs.
  • Relationship disconnect: Make sure the consultant understands what you are looking for. Are you hiring them for one specific project after which you will not need their services? Or are you looking to work with someone who will work with you for the long-term? If they don’t grasp your needs, you could end up with a one-and-done consultant when what you want is a longer-term relationship.
  • Abuse of buzzwords: Are you hearing a lot of buzzwords or business-speak? You need a consultant who can explain things in clear language free from jargon so you will have a complete understanding of their capabilities.
  • It takes more than execution: While being able to execute solutions is critical, unless you plan on having the consultant on your payroll forever, they need to be able to transfer knowledge to your team and teach them how to carry out the project after they are gone.
  • It’s all about them:  Of course, you want to hear ideas from the consultant, but they don’t know your business the way you do. In addition to sharing their ideas, you need them to listen to you so that they fully understand the way your organization works and its values and vision.

It can be tricky to find the consultant that is right for your business, so make sure to look for warning signs that will alert you that you have not found someone who is a good fit for your needs. Rest assured, however, the right consultant is out there. You just need to keep asking questions.

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