Finding and hiring the right talent is a huge undertaking. And while doing so is challenging, it’s not impossible.
Sometimes, the right person isn’t a traditional full-time W2 employee. You may find that a better option is to hire someone on a temporary basis to complete a project, or to fill a short- or long-term role — like a 1099-based worker.
What is a Consultant?
These temporary workers are called contractors or consultants. Contractors are those who work for a set period of time and amount of money. Consultants are professionals who complete the work required and can provide expertise, counsel, and guidance. Seasoned consultants often provide insight you don’t have. Consultants can also be contractors.
If you’re a business owner or leader and you’re considering hiring a professional to work on a temporary basis and help fill the gaps to keep your business running effectively, make sure you are aware of how this will benefit your company. Whether you’re having a hard time finding someone to fill a particular role or you need help on a project basis, there are many benefits to utilizing contractors and consultants. Here are a few:
- Consultants can be flexible with your budget and time. They often have their own businesses, so they understand the importance of meeting deadlines and project goals. They also tend to be dedicated to completing the project for which they’re hired.
- Consultants may be able to help you reach your goal more efficiently. Once they gain an understanding of your needs, you can talk through what your plans are together, how your approach might be tailored or adjusted, and ways they can assist with meeting the project’s objectives more quickly.
- As you establish a good working relationship with a consultant, doors may open to connecting with other consultants through their network of colleagues. Such referrals may be professionals in the consultant’s field, or in complementary areas that might meet your needs for future projects.
Ready to get started? You’ll need these two strategies.
Define your needs.
Take the time to determine what needs doing so you can maximize the time you have with the worker performing the short-term assignment. Factors you’ll want to consider before you start looking for your consultant include:
- The objective of the work to be done
- The time frame in which the work must be completed
- The hours you estimate are needed for the project
- Whether the consultant needs to be in your office or if they can be remote
Find the talent.
If you don’t have the ideal person identified, you’ll need help locating the right fit for your position. Try any of these ideas to gain access to a great consultant:
- Find a specialized staffing firm that is focused on your company’s needs. And, make sure they have experience working in your specific industry or genre. Staffing agencies know where to find talent. And, often their leaders and recruiters were once former consultants or hiring managers themselves. For example, in the learning and development (L&D) field, TrainingPros is made up of L&D practitioners who assist clients with finding talented consultants to staff their L&D projects.
- Let others know you are looking for someone to fill a position. Use your LinkedIn community to find talent. Posting about your open position might broaden access to access to talent that you might not have had otherwise.
- Network at events, and with those you know in trade organizations and associations, to expand the reach of your hiring efforts.
As a business owner or decision-maker, you likely receive many suggestions about how to run your company. Not all suggestions are right for your business. However, using consultants, over the short or long term, maybe the right move that can change the outcome of your business.
Leigh Anne Lankford is president at TrainingPros. Her expertise is in learning and development (L&D) with a background in instructional design, project management, eLearning and facilitation in the health care, software development, finance and service industries. Prior to TrainingPros, she founded an eLearning tool company and worked in various corporate training positions. Lankford received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of West Georgia and a master’s degree in human resource development from Georgia State University. She also earned an Information Mapping® Professional™ Certification and a Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and she is an active member of the Association for Talent Development. When learning leaders have more projects than they have people, TrainingPros can provide the right L&D consultants so they can start their projects with confidence. TrainingPros is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. Visit TrainingPros for more information.