Choosing an IT consultant can be a daunting task, especially for smaller businesses and hiring managers who don’t have experience working with consultants. Though consultants boast unique expertise, adaptability, and proficiency, their time often comes at a higher hourly cost than permanent, full-time IT pros. But for many tech teams—especially those looking to reduce turnover costs and/or increase efficiency—hiring an IT consultant can be game changing. In order to make sure your investment pays off, consider the statements below. Mentally checking off all four before extending a contract will help you find the best fit.
You’ve Got Common Ground
It’s beneficial to hire an IT consultant who has experience working with businesses similar to yours. You’ll want to consider the types of industries he or she has worked in, and the sizes of the companies worked for. Why? The needs of a business can vary greatly from small startups to multinational companies, and an IT consultant who has an understanding of how both your business and industry operate will be more effective at integrating the solutions that matter most to you.
Don’t worry—this requirement won’t be as hard to fulfill as you may imagine. Because IT consultants are in high demand and work on short-term assignments, they have the freedom to move around and gain exposure and experience in a variety of industries and businesses. Top tech talent is always searching for the next engaging and exciting IT project—so focus on putting your open IT gig at the top of their radar and you will quickly find a good fit.
You’re a Good Match
Culture fit is as important to consider when hiring an IT consultant as it is when making a permanent hire. Your company’s culture resonates in the everyday behaviors of your team—which in turn impact your team’s cohesiveness, effectiveness, and shared values. For this reason, regardless of whether or not your new hire will be a long-term addition to your team, his or her ability to work well and get along with you and with others should remain a top criterion.
To some extent, experience can help you to determine culture fit. Consider whether an IT consultant has primarily worked in an office or remotely, and ask which previous IT gig offered the most comfortable working environment. Hiring an IT consultant who is a strong culture fit is a win-win-win solution, as it benefits the consultant, you, and your team. Maintaining a strong sense of culture can also help you stand out when looking to hire future IT consultants or permanent tech employees.
You Trust the Facts
There are many ways to quickly determine if an IT consultant’s qualifications are as strong as they appear. One way to do so is by reviewing his or her IT certifications. If a consultant has completed a cutting edge certificate, or one that is in high demand, it demonstrates an active pursuit of expertise in latest technology developments. Older certificates are also valuable, as long as they are current—many vendors require frequent retesting to maintain a certification, because technology changes quickly. Asking questions about certifications can help you determine if an IT consultant is familiar with the latest versions available.
You may also want to conduct a background check and contact references regarding the consultant’s previous work. Often, your IT consulting firm will take care of such screening before you’ve even begun to review potential fits. If you have questions or concerns about this process, contact your IT recruiter. Your recruiter will help you identify IT consultants who will handle even the most sensitive of data with care.
Together, You’ll Go Far.
What does success mean to you—and what does it mean to the IT consultant? Whether you’re looking at formal methodologies for measuring progress like Six Sigma or ITIL, or generally considering work patterns, goal setting, and initiative, your aim is to establish whether or not a consultant can help your business and/or team succeed and meet your goals.
Ask the consultant to show you a timetable of his or her progress on a previous project. Seeing concrete examples of the work that can be achieved in a limited window of time will allow you to determine whether or not the consultant is worth your investment. But don’t forget: speed isn’t everything. Quality is most important. Consider a balance of these two attributes when making your assessment.
Whether you have gained ample experience working with or managing IT consultants, or you’re looking to fill your first contract position, establishing thoughtful and strategic criteria during your talent search is essential. Thinking through if the IT consultant is your best fit based on the items above significantly raises the odds of success.
Ready to begin your talent search for an IT consultant? Contact ESP today for more information.