IT consultants are the people who bring new perspectives and solutions. Hiring the right IT consultant for a mission-critical project is better than recruiting a full-time employee and then training them to get the job done right. These specialists use their skills and expertise to help identify existing problems and overcome them by suggesting the right solutions.
Since the work they are assigned is always critical and deadline-driven, it’s imperative to hire the right person for the job. The right consultant could mean the difference between success and failure. To help you find the right fit, here are some important things to consider:
1: Define Your Objectives
When I was researching top performance appraisal process, I read a statement that said “Get your basics right and everything else will follow.” The same is true in this case. The first step is to hire an IT consultant to identify the needs of your organization.
What are the problems that your company is trying to solve? Why do you need a consultant? It’s best to identify SMART objectives. This will help you narrow down what type of consultant you actually need. Plus, it will save everyone’s precious time.
2: Determine the Type of Expertise Needed
You can’t hire just any IT consultant. This person must have specialized knowledge. For that, you must determine what expertise you are looking for in an IT consultant. A specialized consultant will understand your project and the business objectives tied to it.
3: Don’t Forget About Protecting Your Intellectual Property
You wouldn’t want the consultant to take your business accounts hostage, right? This calls for protecting your intellectual property. What if the consultant leaves the organization and doesn’t turn over your important credentials? That’s why the consultant must understand that the ownership of all intellectual property belongs to your organization.
4: Look at Their References
Don’t take the consultant’s word, always ask for references to verify their information. Call up their past clients to learn about their experience with the consultant you are looking forward to hiring. This little research will act as a reference check. It will provide solid information on the consultant.
It’s best to ask for 2 to 3 references because you shouldn’t just make a decision based on the opinion of a single person, right? Do the due diligence and you should be able to find enough evidence to decide if the consultant is worth hiring.
5: Conduct a Thorough Interview
Never decide to hire an IT consultant by merely looking at the resume or profile. No matter how impressive their resume looks, you must conduct an interview. A face-to-face conversation can always reveal more.
Have a thorough interview. Make sure the IT Consultant you are interviewing has experience with the problems your organization is facing.
6: Test Their Communication Skills
The consultant must have strong communication skills (this includes both oral and written). They should be able to express their ideas and explain the problem at hand and present solutions. Plus, a consultant has to conduct regular meetings for discussing the progress of the project, therefore, they must have a way for words.
Good communication skills also include the ability to listen well, analyze and interpret. This skill alone has a crucial role to play in the success of the project.
7: Have a Detailed Contract Written
Once you have found the right consultant for the job, it’s now time to create a contract. This document must cover all possibilities of the project starting from costs, important milestones, deliverables, and deadlines.
It’s strongly recommended to hire a consultant who has a standard contract in place. This document must outline the consultant’s and the organization’s responsibilities. All parties involved must be on the same page. The scope of the project must be communicated as well. Read the agreement carefully and once all parties agree, only then the contract must be signed.
8: Problem Solving Skills
The consultant should be able to solve problems. A truly professional consultant is a person who is capable of innovating and going the extra mile for identifying a problem. You would want a consultant who has the confidence of telling you what you are doing wrong, show you what you are missing, and steer your organization in the right direction.