Top 5 Qualities to Look For When Hiring An IT Consultant

What are your reasons for seeking out an IT consultant? Mostcompanies look for help when they:

• Lack specific expertise

• Need help identifying and solving problems

• Are short-staffed

• Need an objective point of view

• Need training

• Want (or need) someone to do the “dirty work”

All those reasons require the consultant to know theirstuff, be able to work with your team, and understand your business. Here’s howto make sure the consultant you hire can get the job done.


Make Sure Your Consultant Knows Their Stuff

Whatever their other skills, an IT consultant who lacks certaintechnical knowledge won’t be able to complete tasks on their own or gain therespect that helps them motivate your technology team. So hiring an external ITconsultant always starts by evaluating their technical background.

A strong tech background on its own no longer stands as thebest criteria for selecting a consultant. And a degree (or degrees) alone doesn’tmean the consultant doesn’t have the hands-on capabilities. Tech skills cancome through hobbies, boot camps, or a nano degree program. If the consultant’sresume includes the specific technical skills you require – including knowledgeof specific hardware and software products – you should be a good match.

If you aren’t committed to a specific technology or vendors’product, make sure you understand the consultant’s relationship with theirsuppliers. You need to trust that the technology they recommend will benefityour business, not simply earn them a commission.

Expertise can also be demonstrated by conducting a pre-hireinterview with your team, reviewing a portfolio of their work, and/orconfirmation of their abilities from in-depth conversations with theirreferences.


Make Sure Your Consultant Knows Your Business

In addition to having the right technical knowledge, aneffective IT consultant needs to have the right type of business knowledge.While technology is the same wherever it’s deployed, every business domain hasspecific constraints that dictate how the technology can be used. While notstrictly necessary for solving technical problems, it’s helpful if the consultanthas experience working with other businesses in your industry, and thechallenges you face.

It’s also helpful if that industry experience was in acompany of comparable size. The IT issues, business challenges and appropriatesolutions aren’t the same in a mom-and-pop business as they are for a Fortune500 firm. Developing a solution appropriate to the environment requiresunderstanding how the business size affects its capabilities and the way theycan support a proposed solution.


Make Sure Your Consultant Can Work With Your Team

No one does a job alone; even if you’re hiring theconsultant as an individual contributor, they’ll need to be able to work withyour team. This means their work style needs to mesh with the way your teamworks, including synchronizing their work schedule with the team’s schedule.

Generally, this means the consultant needs to have goodcommunication skills. Depending on your workplace, communication may take placein person, via email, over video meetings, or even in PowerPoint presentations– or a combination of these.

Both speaking and writing skills are important. They needthe ability to use those skills to work with your IT team, your businesscontacts, and both the business and IT management groups. Consultants also needthe ability to defend their point of view, but also need to be able torecognize when others have a better idea.


Make Sure the Consultant Can Solve Your Problems

When you hire an external IT consultant, you probably havean idea of specific problems you want them to solve. A truly effectiveconsultant, however, can innovate and go beyond the bounds of your problem toidentify and solve other issues you haven’t recognized yet. You want aconsultant who has the confidence to tell you when you’re wrong, point out whatyou’re missing, and steer you in the right direction … even if it’s not whereyou thought you were heading.


Make Sure the Consultant Has a Good Business Reputation

Make sure the company the consultant works for has a solidreputation for thoroughly completing work, finishing on time, and other goodbusiness practices. Check out the consultant’s reputation as well; speak withreferences and confirm that the consultant has a reputation for integrity.

Whenever you add someone to your team, whether an employeeor an external consultant, there’s always the worry of whether they’ll workout. By evaluating technical, business and interpersonal skills, you’re likelyto find a consultant who will effectively fit into your team and help yourbusiness achieve its goals.


Looking For an Experienced IT Consultant?

Our team at CTC Technologies has experience in ITconsulting for mid-market and enterprise companies in the following areas:networking, WLAN, security, data storage and protection, SD-WAN, and more. Ourteam of engineers also has extensive experience in architecting solutions frommajor vendors like Cisco, Microsoft, and VMWare, just to name a few. And yes,we have references!

If your company has IT knowledge, resource, or talent gaps, reach out to us at (734) 408-0200 or contact us online today.

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