Once you’ve decided to hire a consultant, take care of these items before they officially join your team:
Set The Parameters
Write up a detailed contract that includes what the scope of the project is and how long they’ll be under contract for (for example, the duration of the project’s timeline). Detail how much they will be paid, who will pay it, and exactly what the consultant is being paid for. This contract should ensure that there is no miscommunication between your company and the consultant and will provide you with legal protection and potential recourse in case there are disagreements or issues during the course of the project or after it’s been completed.
Conduct A Thorough Interview
Experience and expertise matter. But this doesn’t mean that a one-on-one interview isn’t necessary. First of all, you’ll want to make sure that they know what they’re talking about as far as their skill set is concerned. You can tell pretty quickly during an interview whether they’re being honest about what they can do. Secondly, it’s important that you get a sense of how they communicate and whether they are personable. If they’re working with your other employees, then they will need to be able to get along with them -- if they don’t, it can hurt your other employees’ productivity and create a poor working environment.
Communication is also incredibly important, whether they’re being tasked with a project that needs to be done individually (such as checking your IT infrastructure for security vulnerabilities) or working on a project with a team. Poor communication can result in miscommunication, which can cause all kinds of problems and delays to your project.
Have Them Sign An NDA
Whatever reason you’re hiring a consultant for, you’ll need them to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Not only will they be working with potentially sensitive data that could be used against you by your competition, but you may not want your company’s capabilities or projects to be divulged to the public. Many consultants end up working for competing businesses as well. An NDA ensures their confidentiality since it’s legally binding.
Introduce Them To Your Employees
Communication is key if you’re going to hire a consultant. If you don’t tell your employees why you’re adding a consultant to the team, they may take it the wrong way. They may think that you don’t think they’re capable of handling their responsibilities, which could have them fearing for their jobs and resenting the consultant’s presence, both of which can get in the way of their productivity. Introduce the consultant to your team and tell them exactly why you’ve hired them so that they understand that it’s for their benefit as much as the company’s benefit.
Maximizing Their Use
Although you’re hiring consultants for a very specific reason, keep in mind that while they’re working for you, you should work with them. Meaning, let them do what you’ve hired them to do. For instance, if they’re looking for potential security vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure, allow them to recommend solutions to any issues that they uncover and let them implement those solutions as well. Finally, to get the most out of their work, make sure that you understand what your objectives are so that the consultant can work towards meeting that objective.