How to Maximize the Value of Your Consultants

Hiring a consultant is a major investment that can have tremendous benefits. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to evaluate the return that an organization receives from its consulting efforts. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the most out of these investments:

1. Focus on the project description.

When writing a description for any role – temporary, full-time, or otherwise – it’s essential to start with a well-written and thought-out description. Many employers are guilty of recycling old job posts to save time on writing new ones, but this is one corner you don’t want to cut.

To improve your consulting job post success rate, stay as far away from generic as possible. Break down the role you’re trying to fill by answering the following questions:

  • What is the specific need or problem you’re trying to solve with this position?
  • How do you expect to reach this solution?
  • What skills are required?
  • What are the deliverables to be provided?
  • How will the role be evaluated?

2. Don’t leave everything to non-subject matter experts.

If you’re paying a recruiter to fill a temporary role, you might feel like any additional effort on your part is a waste of money. Counterintuitively, however, leaving everything to the recruiter only serves to reduce your return on investment in the long run. To this end, ask the internal team or person who will work most closely with the consultant to be an active participant in the hiring process. Their unique experience and perspective will allow the recruiter to do his or her job more effectively.

To facilitate an efficient hiring effort, try to create an open and direct line of communication between the recruiter and/or hiring team, the person who will oversee the temporary position, and those who will work laterally with the consultant. Bringing on the right consultant requires streamlined and coordinated efforts across multiple teams and functions.

3. Decide how you’re going to measure success.

It’s difficult to determine your return on consulting investment without first establishing the KPIs that will be used to measure success. When preparing to fill a role, you should define these objectives:

  • What is the start and end point of the project? How many hours will it require?
  • Is the role deliverables based or time and materials based? Is there a clear deliverable or will the project support a larger effort?
  • How will you prioritize the consultant’s responsibilities?
  • What quantifiable, measurable metrics can you use to grade the consultant’s output?
  • What benchmark figures will you use to grade this output?

4. Go for quality, not quantity.

When it comes to filtering candidates, one of the most common mistakes is casting as wide a net as possible into the talent pool; the goal is to increase the chances of finding the right candidate. Using the wide net method wastes valuable time and resources while carrying a much lower long-term success rate. Instead, focus on the handful of candidates who meet all the requirements laid out in the position description. Not only will your return on consulting investment increase, but you’ll also see a significant reduction in your average time to hire, creating additional value and efficiency.

5. Follow through.

Defining how you’ll measure success is only half the battle of maximizing your return on consulting investment; the second half is following through with the plan you’ve outlined. When mapping out your success plan, identify key checkpoints at which to evaluate progress and mark these dates in your calendar. Don’t wait until the contract is up to perform your assessments. You could miss out on valuable opportunities to correct issues or improve efficiency as you go.

To truly maximize your organization's return on consulting investment, sign up for Bench SME. Our revolutionary platform makes finding the right consultant easy, efficient, and cost-effective.

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