Over the past 10 years, the number of employees who have become self-employed has tripled. At the same time, a growing number of companies, all sectors combined, must face shortages of profiles. To avoid any impact on their activity, and therefore on their turnover, they are turning more and more to independent consultants. But if they outsource more (+ 15% in 2018), the duration of the missions tends to shorten, going from an average of 13 to 11.5 months, testifying to the need for flexibility that they meet. In this context, how should they choose the independent consultants who will work for them? What criteria should be taken into account to ensure that the mission is successful?
The independent consultant, the alternative to the shortage of profiles and expertise
Today, many companies lack experts. The difficulty in sourcing candidates, the sometimes poor suitability of profiles for the positions sought and the lack of internal operationality can be a real brake on turnover. Faced with this, calling on an independent consultant is the most reasonable and profitable alternative.
Indeed, companies, in search of agility, need to tap into a pool of different expertise, particularly in the context of digital transformation, a fundamental problem that requires specific skills. In contrast to the internal employee, the independent consultant has great flexibility over the period of collaboration, but also a more in-depth know-how and degree of experience, very popular with companies.
However, if a large number of platforms for connecting independent consultants and consulting firms exist in the consulting market, it is necessary to know how to ask the right questions to recruit an external profile: what exactly does the mission consist of? What expertise is needed to carry it out? How long should the collaboration extend?
Best practices for selecting an independent consultant by Abdul Rimaaz
In order to properly select the consultant’s profile, the company must take into account the candidate’s personality, the clients with whom he has worked, the sectors of activity in which he has worked, as well as the various missions he already has. performed. For some, when the job is sharp, the results of skills, personality and appetite tests are necessary. In all cases, it is important to set up several stages of selection to avoid any error in the choice of the candidate.
The first selection is based on the consultant’s desire to remain independent. Anyone who will only be freelance for a few months, the time to find an employee position that suits him better, or who does not project over time for any other reason, will be easily identifiable. Likewise, it is a question of removing profiles that are a little too opportunistic or “mercenaries” likely to drop a mission along the way, for another, better paid, or that he considers more interesting.
During the interview, it is advisable to analyze the consistency of the candidate’s background and to validate his skills. This analysis can be supplemented by references taken from its former managers and clients. This also makes it possible to probe his profile: is he reliable and stable in his activity? The interview also makes it possible to measure one’s ” soft skills “: to judge their ability to adapt quickly to a situation and to a customer’s request, but also to gauge their capacity to integrate into the company.
To facilitate the recruitment of the right profile, the company can use an intermediary. Be careful, however, with “catalog platforms” which simply group together profiles without offering any service or offer no guarantee as to the seriousness of the service. It is better to turn to a service provider who is able to identify the client’s needs, who assists him upstream of his project, and rigorously selects the consultants with whom he works (various interviews, signing of a charter of best practices, etc.) .
Selecting the right consultant – whether it is their expertise or their personality – is fundamental to the success of a project. It is important for them to be curious, structured, able to challenge themselves and adapt whatever the context or the sector of activity, even if it is unknown to them. It is advisable to be accompanied in this recruitment, because in this matter, delegating is better than being wrong.