What to look for when hiring an IT consultant

What to look for when hiring an IT consultant

Due to the growing demand for IT consultants, many technology providers cut corners to make sure they have enough of them on staff to stay competitive. In their hurry, unfortunately, they compromise on two critical qualifications that make a great technology consultant: passion and experience.

That’s why you should be cautious when evaluating potential consultants to your company. It’s your responsibility to make sure your IT consultant understands your business, has extensive experience solving IT issues, and is capable of creating flexible IT plans that are easily adaptable to your changing needs.

So before you decide to give any IT consultant access to your sensitive company data, systems, or software, here are eight things you need to consider.

Background check

One of the worse things that can happen is hiring an IT consultant who seems great at the outset, but who actually has suspicious credit scores, or even a criminal record with misdemeanors. That’s why conducting thorough background checks will help you avoid time-wasting incidents like this.

Industry experience

An IT consultant with years of experience in the finance industry isn’t going to do you much good if you’re a healthcare provider. You need an IT consultant with the experience and success working with companies that do the same things you do. This will ensure your consultant is familiar with your processes, software, and the pain points unique to your industry.

Relationship with vendors

A key indicator of the level of expertise and support you’ll be getting from your technology consultant is his or her affiliations with industry vendors. If your company uses solutions from Microsoft, you need to look for a consultant who is a Microsoft partner.

You also need to keep in mind that not every consultant is going to have your best interests at heart. He or she may be interested more in sale commissions or referral fees than in actually meeting your needs.

Unbiased consultants should have no problem telling you whether they solely resell a vendor’s products, offer in-house services too, or whether they receive commission when a particular vendor is selected.

Quality of previous work

Many IT professionals keep an online portfolio of the work they’ve done on platforms like GitHub, Coderbits and CloudSpokes. So before signing any paperwork, ask whether your IT consultant has any previous work you can see. This could include past projects, applications previously built, or experience with different platforms and systems, etc.

Credentials and accreditations

Industry certifications are a good sign of an IT consultant’s capabilities. Make sure that your consultant’s credentials are up to date since many software vendors require continual examination for recertification.

Also, check to see whether your potential IT consultant is a member of any professional organizations, such as the Institue of Mangement Consultants, or the Independent Computer Consultants Association. This indicates a commitment to self development and a dedication to the industry.

Work experience from references

Even if your potential consultant were recommended by a colleague, always ask for his or her references and call several of them. Inquire about the last downtime incident and how that consultant handled the situation.

Communication skill

A good IT consultant must not only be business savvy, but also be able to communicate ideas effectively. You didn’t get into business to develop a deep understanding of the ins and outs of IT, which is why your technology consultant must be able to discuss everything with you and your team in plain English.

Keep in mind that even the most talented IT consultant won’t be beneficial to your company if he or she doesn’t work well with others. Therefore, having a consultant who has experience working with in-house teams is absolutely critical.

Measurables

Your IT consultant should use some sort of methodology to measure readiness, overall progress, and improvements that can be made. This proves a commitment to your partnership and provides you with visibility into his or her overall performance.

At PC LAN TECHS, we’re happy to answer any questions you have concerning your IT and provide any references you need. We believe in taking the time to understand our clients’ objectives before any paperwork is involved. Even if we don’t end up as your technology consultant, we’re more than happy to advise. Just give us a call.