If you’re thinking about hiring a technical consultant, how will you know if your consultant has the right technical skills? How do you know if your consultant can complete your project on-time, on-budget and within scope? How do you know if your consultant will represent your department and uphold your reputation to stakeholders? If you’re relying on a 30-minute interview, chances are you won’t.
In a recent report by Forbes Insights, only half of respondents used the same consultant again. A significant reason for this is most IT managers have a low level of success in selecting the right consultant the first time around using traditional interviewing techniques. Interviewing works perfectly well for hiring full-time employees who are focused on long-term strategic initiatives or day-to-day operations. If the employee doesn’t have all the right skills, there’s often time and resources available for the employee to retool.
However, in an Agile environment where the direction of the requirements can change every three weeks, hiring the right consultants using traditional interviews can be a guessing game particularly when many consulting firms try to shift the focus to the firm’s case studies and senior management experience rather than the experience of the actual consultants proposed on the project. Fixed fee projects and contract cancellation terms and conditions are also designed by large consulting firms to make it harder for you make a switch.
Trial Interview Periods
Just about everyone has been offered a free trial at some point. Whether it’s a free trial of an app for our kids’ iPad, a free trial of corporate software or even a free taste of a tempting snack at the grocery store, free trials work! They give consumers an opportunity to quickly test the product or service before paying for it, and they give businesses a brief window to show their value.
Since Darby Consulting started introducing Interview Trial Periods to clients, we’ve seen tremendous upticks in both customer satisfaction and project success outcomes. The way it works is our clients typically interview 2-3 of our best matched consultants and select one they think would do a good job. The consultant starts the project on an Interview Trial Period basis for a period of two weeks. During that time, the client can evaluate the consultant’s performance. If the client is not satisfied, they’re not billed for the time. Why it works is it puts more “skin in the game” for the consulting firm to best match the right consultant and it puts more incentives in place on the consultant to plan and deliver a successful project.
Independent Pros: An Agile Workforce
For years, Corporate HR departments have been slow to adapt as their workflows, policies and personnel have been deeply rooted in attracting and retaining employee, W2-based IT talent. With the rise of independent IT professionals and staff augmentation firms that specialize in recruiting them, that’s all about to change.
Independent IT professionals receiving a 1099 from the IRS are one of the most abundant, most capable but often most underutilized sources of Agile IT talent in the marketplace today. Since 1994, the number of independent professionals has consistently outpaced full-time employees by 2:1. Independent consultants don’t carry a lot of the same baggage (e.g. benefits, performance reviews, training, etc.) as traditional employees, require little to no red tape to remove or replace and are located in every major city. They’re the ultimate Agile workforce – if you have the right partner to find them.
Leveraging AI & RPA to Find IT Pros
At Darby Consulting, we’re focused on finding, selecting, developing and managing networks of independent IT professionals so our clients can gain faster access to the best, most qualified talent at a lower cost. We use consultant matching tools backed by artificial intelligence and robotic process automation so our clients spend less time interviewing IT professionals and more time responding to the needs of their customers.