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Tips for a successful business relationship with a consultant

Thinking of hiring a consultant for a short or specialized project? Here are a few tips to make the relationship a success.

Consultants allow clients to complete specialized tasks and gain extra capacity easily without hiring a full-time person. A good consultant is professional, reliable, honest and efficient but the client-consultant relationship still needs to be a good fit for both sides. The truth is, it’s best to use the same screening and evaluation process for a consultant as you would for an employee.  Here are four key tips to success when working with a consultant.

Interview

Always interview a consultant as you would a prospective employee. Consultants are not employees, but they ultimately work for you!  Therefore it’s best to conduct a thorough interview and find out about their technical qualifications, work experience and communications style.

Get References

A good consultant should have happy clients who are willing to provide professional references for them. Be aware that many clients have confidentiality agreements which prohibit them from discussing some project details, but references and consultants should be able to answer general questions about their experiences or projects.

Mutually Agree on Terms

As with any business agreement, it’s best when both sides know what to expect from each other. So, take the time up front to agree on project scope, reporting, billing, payments, etc. with the consultant. Most consultants have standard terms, but each project is different and may need special details worked out.

Keep Communication Lines Open

There will actually be less oversight, training and managing needed for a consultant as compared to an in-house employee. While this is a benefit of working with a consultant, communication is still very important to success. Hire a consultant who is responsive and provides regular updates because they are a part of your project team, even if it’s for a limited time. Also, make sure that communication goes both ways so that the consultant has the information and tools needed from your organization.

Summary

If you keep these four tips in mind when selecting, hiring and working with a consultant, you will be set-up for success in your projects! Contact Engineering & Quality Solutions, Inc. today if you need extra resources for your medical device project.

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