Outside Help: When and How to Hire Consultants

When to hire consultants

Hiring managers face difficult decisions every day. Should I hire a permanent employee or an independent contractor? Which applicant best fits the position I am attempting to fill? However, no decision probably evokes as much tension as hiring a consultant. Consultants create tension because they are essentially management-level individuals with little perceived accountability, and their jobs are judging others by performance and position. It’s no wonder that consultants are mostly met with skepticism by the company’s full-time employees.

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You may be able to avoid issues by learning how best to hire consultants. As with any employment agreement, you want to ensure that all communication with the consultant is clear and concise. Having a written brief that can be submitted for the consultant’s understanding may be appropriate, and working with your legal team to ensure that any agreement covers the necessary work product is a sound way of doing business.

Also, researching the consultant’s organization beforehand is always a good policy. Much like other occupations, consultants have specialties, and you want to make sure that you hire a consultant that is familiar with your situation.

These tips should help you find the best consultant for your needs. Whether you should hire a consultant or not, however, may be a bit more complicated.

When Hiring a Consultant May Be Best for Your Business

Hiring a consultant announces to the world that your business is serious about creating profit and restructuring. Almost all matters involving consultants are followed in various financial journals, which may mean free publicity for you and your company.

Internally, hiring a consultant should be rare and should communicate the severity of a problem or situation. Employees should never feel hiring a consultant is a common occurrence. Hopefully, that atmosphere will be conducive to cooperation with the consultant.

Here are two scenarios in which you probably should consider hiring a consultant.

1. A Workflow Process Is Broken and No One Knows How to Fix It

Most corporate veterans are aware of this scenario. A workflow process is completely broken and usually, one employee is running around trying to make sure the process doesn’t completely break down. This employee has a thankless task and generally doesn’t have the authority to make changes that may make everyone’s job easier.

Moreover, this broken process generally covers many different departments, so no one person knows exactly how to fix it. Even worse, sometimes senior employees fear change, so they throw up roadblocks that employees won’t be able to outmaneuver. In cases like these, a consultant can be a godsend. The consultant isn’t wedded to the process and doesn’t have any preexisting ideas, which may compromise efficiency. As an outsider, the consultant can mingle with every department, avoiding any social norms, which could hamper an efficiency increase. Also, consultants are difficult to “outrank,” so employees with their own petty fiefdoms tend to be bulldozed by a relentless consultant. All in all, having a consultant is positive in this instance.

2. An Outsider Is Needed for Interests of Fairness

Haven’t you wondered why nearly every Hollywood award show features an appearance by accounting consultants? Well, it’s simple. To achieve the perception of fairness, the host features consultants to prove that the vote counting is evenhanded.

Similarly, in your business, consultants are impartial when handling difficult situations. If layoffs need to happen in a department, a consultant can make decisions that will help the company’s bottom line but may be too difficult for full-time staff to make without coming off as biased.

With an outside consultant, ex-employees are likely to appreciate that their termination was nothing personal. As we all know, humans are tribal beings and form allegiances. If a manager fires an employee considered valuable by coworkers, they may become disgruntled, which will affect productivity. Using a consultant avoids these issues.

When Hiring a Consultant May Not Be the Best Idea

Hiring a consultant may not always be the best practice. Here are a few situations in which avoiding hiring a consultant may be for the best.

1. Everything Is Going Well with No Issues on the Horizon

While this may seem self-evident, hiring consultants when a business is up, running, and making a profit isn’t the best policy. Consultants are generally hired to fix problems, and while they can make suggestions to improve workflow, consultants may also find problems where none exist and suggest unnecessary changes. Also, a happy, productive staff may be upset with an unwarranted intrusion by a consultant. So, if everything is going well, why rock the boat?

Another situation to avoid is hiring a consultant without informing affected management first. Nothing diminishes the effectiveness of a consultant more than a manager who has been unnecessarily alienated. Inform all stakeholders before bringing the consultant on board, unless the stakeholder is part of the problem and can quash the implementation of the consultant.

2. The Company Already Knows the Solution to the Problem

Often, a company knows what the solution to a problem is but is unwilling to implement it. In this situation, a consultant may well be helpless and hiring one would be a waste of time and money.

For example, if an irreplaceable employee using a proprietary system has a poor attitude, the answers are obvious and probably won’t need a consultant’s perspective. Changing the proprietary system, forcing the employee to train a replacement, or reaching out to the employee and seeing if any negativity can be abated are just a few of the obvious solutions for this problem.

However, if the company refuses to implement these solutions (such as a manager who refuses to terminate a troublesome employee), it’s unlikely that a consultant will be able to fix the problem. While hiring a consultant in this situation may seem proactive, it simply is a procrastination technique and should be avoided.

Deciding When to Call a Consultant

Deciding when to hire a consultant is a tricky decision. Every company faces differing obstacles, and hiring a consultant may not always be the right call. Using the guidelines listed here, you can decide on the correct course of action quickly and confidently.

If you’re a hiring manager trying to find that perfect employee, contact us at Mapertunity. Our Geographic information system (GIS) will help you find a candidate close to your workplace, while our job portal helps you sort through resumes.

Attitude Versus Capability: A Guide for Hiring Managers

Attitude vs Capability when Hiring

Some hiring decisions are easier to make than others. For example, a perfect candidate would interview well and impress everyone. Then, after hiring, the new employee transfers seamlessly into your company’s culture and immediately shows productivity. Don’t expect this to happen too often (although it may be easier with our job portal, which is a LinkedIn Killer).

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One difficult decision a hiring manager often faces is the question of attitude versus capability. Certainly, having a candidate with clear examples of both a positive attitude and outstanding capability on a resume is the optimal situation. However, perfect candidates, much like anything perfect in life, are rare.

5 Things to Consider When Hiring the Perfect Manager

Hiring managers shouldn’t rely on an ideal candidate walking through the door in response to a job posting. Instead, the following considerations should be kept in mind.

1. Supervisor and Coworker Attitude Matters

A thorough hiring manager will generally have a meeting with the vacant position’s coworkers and supervisor before posting any sort of job listing. In this meeting, pay close attention to the supervisor’s demeanor. If the supervisor seems patient and understanding, you may want to consider a candidate with a positive attitude. Most individuals with a positive attitude can be easily trained, especially if the supervisor is willing to mentor a new employee.

However, if the supervisor seems stressed, curt, or distracted, you probably should consider an applicant with a proven capability for the position. Even if the new employee also has less of a positive attitude, skills matter in this situation. A supervisor that is obviously harried does not have time to help the new employee, who must “hit the ground running.” In this instance, capability could win out.

When attending this meeting, also consider the rest of the department. Coworkers have their own perspectives, and some employees may be more accepting of a new hire with a great attitude, while others may prefer to work with an individual with proven capability.

Office gossip generally should be avoided by hiring managers. However, it may be good to know what’s going on within the department when hiring. In these situations, a hiring manager may want to listen to what other employees say about the hiring department. However, while useful, any information gained this way should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

2. Task Yourself with Knowing the Tasks

Of course, the hiring manager should consider the position being filled when deciding between attitude and capability. For example, a positive attitude is probably what to look out for when hiring for a job that deals with the public, or a job in sales. Both occupations need employees who are pleasant, outgoing, and get the job done. Also, while skills are important for every career, these occupations rely more on quick-thinking and personality.

In other situations, such as hiring a computer programmer, capability should be given more weight in decision making than attitude. While no one wants to work with a surly employee, computer programmers, for example, do not need to have a charismatic attitude to succeed at their jobs. Provided computer programmers can communicate effectively and work within a team in an office environment, they can thrive and be productive. With jobs hinging on productivity, capability is most important.

3. Position Status Isn’t Just for Show

Trying to hire a competent individual for an entry-level position may be a mistake. Most individuals whose resumes present them as highly capable are already accomplished, and therefore have already been trained. If you are looking for an employee who accepts training easily and is open to your company’s workflow, you may want to consider an applicant with an excellent attitude. An excellent attitude in a new employee will go a long way in aiding a department in training. The employee will also be more likely to follow instructions to the letter.

However, if you are looking to hire a management-level position or higher, you probably should be looking for prospective employees with proven capability. While having a positive attitude is also desirable for these candidates, management needs to make tough calls and generally has a lot going on at any one time. These positions call for employees with a long resume that highlights their obvious capability.

4. The Trend of Increasing Capability and Decreasing Attitude

If you are torn between a candidate with great attitude versus a candidate with outstanding capability, realize that capability tends to increase while attitude tends to decrease over time. If someone has an attitude that seems mediocre during the interview process, they may become even more embittered as the daily grind takes hold. Eventually, you may end up with a difficult, resentful employee who hurts the team’s morale.

However, if you choose an individual who may be less capable at first, and your company is successful in training, that employee may grow to become outstanding at the job. They may even be able to help fellow employees achieve their full potential. A positive attitude can really give new employees a leg up when it comes to improving capability and becoming true members of the team.

5. Attitude is for Everyone

Even if you find an employee with outstanding attitude, realize that positivity needs to be nurtured. Irrelevant meetings, busy work, and cutthroat office politics take their toll on the most upbeat employee. Creating a workplace culture that is free from negative influences and avoids corporate jargon is imperative to creating and retaining employees with terrific attitudes. It may even help your business! Unfortunately, some employees may always have negative attitudes, but other workers could lighten up and come to appreciate the workplace for the opportunity it is, instead of seeing it as an obstacle to true happiness.

Attitude and Capability Can Go Hand in Hand

Being a hiring manager is challenging even under the best of circumstances. Deciding between a job candidate with a great attitude and a candidate with outstanding capability can be a difficult task. However, using the information in this article, you can make a decision that improves morale and productivity today.

If you’re a hiring manager trying to find that elusive perfect candidate, contact us at Mapertunity! Our Geographic information system (GIS) will help you locate qualified job candidates throughout the country.

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Attracting the Perfect Candidate with a Great Job Description

Writer Better Job Descriptions

All successful businesses eventually face the same problem. No matter how competent or large the core team is, eventually all growing companies must hire additional employees.

Hiring employees may seem simple. Just place an ad on an internet site and wait. However, nothing could be further from the truth. For example, how does the person placed in charge of hiring determine whether a potential employee is competent or is compatible with workplace culture?

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5 Tips to Create a Great Job Description

An experienced hiring manager probably knows how best to vet candidates, but some companies don’t hire human resources personnel until they “get established.” In those instances, you may find yourself dealing with hiring a new employee along with your other duties. In that case, you probably will need all the help you can get. Fortunately, we at Mapertunity are here to help!

Without further ado, here are five tips to help you craft an amazing job posting that you can use in conjunction with our geographic information system (GIS) to achieve the best results.

1. Ensure You Understand the Position

While this tip seems like a no-brainer, jobs are now more technical and specialized than ever, and posting accurate requirements for a position is crucial. If anything seems unclear regarding job requirements, contact the appropriate department before you submit or post anything

Assumptions can be detrimental to the job filling process, especially if the job posting is asking for skills that you don’t understand. Consider the sad fate of a hypothetical hiring manager who assumed that JAVA and JavaScript could be used interchangeably in a job description. After a short and eventful employee search process, this person would most likely be working elsewhere, in a different capacity.

2. Don’t Allow Ego to Take Control

You may be a hiring manager for a great company. However, don’t let that cloud your thinking. Ridiculously low salary offers and/or overly demanding job descriptions only serve to weed out the honest, trustworthy employees, leaving you with the desperate and the dishonest.

Unless your firm truly cannot afford it, always try to offer a competitive salary for an open position. You are vying for employees with other companies in your area, and offering a lower salary immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Perks that the company may offer can help close this gap. However, realize that many top-notch candidates will bypass your company when they hear a low salary offer.

Low salary offers also tend to attract inexperienced candidates, who may assume that the offered position is entry-level because your posted salary is so low. These candidates may be passionate, but they may also be desperate. Desperate job candidates should be avoided by any hiring manager. A desperate candidate may accept a position at your company due to their desperation, only to resign later when they realize they dislike the job.

3. Don’t Make Disproportionate or Excessive Demands

Overly demanding job descriptions are common in many job postings. Examples of overly demanding job descriptions include listings of skills not needed for the position, such as demanding that an applicant have C++ knowledge for a position in web development. Unreasonable demands for skills should be vetted before the employment listing becomes public. If a department insists that certain skills are necessary, make sure they realize that employment prospects may be limited and expensive, depending on the skills required.

Another example of an overly demanding job description would be listing that an entry-level position requires years of job experience. Entry-level positions should never require more than one or two years of experience. Dishonest applicants may simply list your required number of years of experience on their resumes, thinking that you may not check. And even if you do check, they are inclined to think it’d be impossible for you to find an applicant with the required years of experience willing to work for an entry-level wage.

Finally, does your company want to hire someone who has been in an entry-level job for three or four years? Granted, there may be some very good reasons to be stuck in an entry-level job for years. However, there may be issues with the employee’s work ethic or performance that could have caused stagnation. While all applicants should be considered, creating a job description that favors applicants that have stagnated isn’t the best policy.

4. It’s All About the Content

As with any business document, a job posting should be concise. So, long paragraphs describing your workplace, or the position should be avoided. Remember, job applicants face many of the same pressures as the employed, and most applicants want to put their resumes in front of as many people as possible. So, be brief and make sure that everything you write in your posting has value.

Also, make sure to avoid heavy jargon in your job posting. Heavy jargon may put off qualified candidates and give the impression that your company is narrow-minded and pedantic. That probably isn’t the impression you were hoping for and should be avoided.

5. Don’t Discard the Job Description Once the Employee Is Hired

After you finally find the perfect employee, you probably will be tempted to discard the job description. However, it can still come in handy! Managers can use job descriptions when discussing performance with employees. The very definition of a job is provided by its description, and it may be useful for the new employee when navigating their new position. So, make sure to save that hard work.

Rising to the Challenge of Job Descriptions

As a business professional, you are up to the challenge of writing an excellent job description. Following these tips will help you ensure that the job description is treated as a business document. Then, the job description will almost certainly help you find excellent candidates for almost any position. So, what are you waiting for? Write a job description that will rise above the rest and impress any worthwhile candidate.

If you’re a hiring manager trying to find the best employee for your open position, contact us at Mapertunity! Our job search power tool will help you find the latest job market trends, as well as compete effectively with other companies for top-notch employees.