Editor's Note: This article was updated in 2008 by Becky Wiegand, and in 2012 by Ariel Gilbert-Knight.
Finding the right consultant is crucial to the success of your project. Here are some tips for choosing the right consultant to meet your organization's needs.
Before you start trying to select the perfect consultant for your project, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by ensuring that your project goals are well defined. You should develop a request for proposals that clearly states the budget, time constraints, and final outcome. This will help both you and the consultant determine whether the consultant is a good match for your organization.
To find your consultant, here are some tips for getting started:
An in-person interview is usually the best way to find out if the consultant is someone you want to work with. But if you have only a small, well-defined project, a phone interview or web conference may be enough.
The following questions will help form your decision:
If the consultant makes a good impression during the interview, you should still check their references carefully.
The final step in making a decision about a consultant is to see a concrete proposal or work plan for the project. If you decide to go with that consultant, you can incorporate the work plan into the contract you write. Ask for an explanation in terms you understand.
Once you have interviewed the consultants, checked their references, and seen their proposals, the bottom line is how you feel about them. Who can you work with best? Do you think they are right for your organization's project?
Image: Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meeting, Shutterstock
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