Are your perceptions of independent consultants false?

October 25, 2016 Rebecca White

Hiring any kind of consultant comes with a set of prejudices. Discovering that there is an increasing number of independent consultants probably doesn’t shift your perceptions. Rather than letting these myths perpetuate, we’d like to clear things up and open your business - and mind - to tapping into the power of the independent workforce.

Is it higher risk to hire an independent rather than a firm? 

Working with an individual undeniably surfaces some risks that differ to working with a consultancy firm.

What if this consultant doesn’t work out after all? Using a firm tends to mitigate risk - a  poorly-performing apple is normally managed out quickly and efficiently. But the decision to choose an independent consultant normally is driven by a specific need that means you are more concerned about quality of expertise, than a median performer. Perhaps there is a higher risk, but the rewards are greater and the risks can be managed if you choose your independent wisely. 

  • How can I check their background? Finding a consultant through a pre-vetted online platform means that their credentials are checked, and in the case of Talmix approved before any client engagement is allowed. Let someone else be your risk-checker.
  • Who handles the responsibility? Engaging with consultants directly means that any failures are between you and the consultant: working through a network means that you can feedback and find alternatives without sending the project off course. And regardless of where you source your consultants they should have their own PI insurance.
  • How do I get value for money?  This will come down to how well you set expectations at the start with your consultant. They should be making all of their work available to you at each stage of the project so that under circumstances where you need to transfer the assignment to someone else, you can do so smoothly. In this respect the process shouldn’t differ too much from working with a firm. And better rates, without overheads, means that you have more contingent budget should any difficulties arise.

Ultimately, managed properly there is no reason working with an independent should be higher risk than working with a consultancy. 

I haven’t got time to look for an independent.

Put simply hiring an independent consultant is fast. On average it takes 4 days to hire an independent consultant via the Talmix platform compared with the average hiring process of 49 days. With the help of our matching technology and support of our team we’ll find you the right person in a fraction of the time it would usually take.

“Fast process, good talent” Carlos Niezen, Activas Partners

“Very pleased with the accuracy of profiles received in relation to our requirement, the speed with which the response was received and the overall efficiency in which the on-boarding process and admin was handled” Tariq Hameed, Alvarez and Marsal

Independent consultants would rather be working full time.

Independent life is no longer the preserve of those who find themselves between jobs or unable to get permanent work. Out of the rise of the freelance economy the ‘supertemp’ has been born. These highly skilled, experienced people want to work independently for the benefits it affords their lifestyle and careers. This trend shows that those going independent are doing so because they genuinely want to work this way rather than be in full time roles. Therefore, the independent consultants you hire will be committed to joining your team to complete the assignment without designs on a permanent contract.

Is the skillset as good / does it offer all the skills we need?

The term independent consultant is a broad one. Within that you could be describing a recent MBA graduate who would be perfect for a junior analyst role but you could also describing a senior person with substantial experience in a top tier firm and C-level industry experience. A consultancy firm often prepackages its teams; within the Talmix network of 27,000 consultants we have an incredibly broad and deep range of skills that gives you the ultimate ‘pick and mix’. 

“MBA found me a great consultant with the relevant experience required for the assignment (experience in dealing with Government procurement schemes)” Sacha Bielawski, Coople

“The caliber of candidates was outstanding!” Suanne Nielson, Forresters

Managing multiple freelancers is difficult and not worth the effort. 

The ability to scale your business will be reliant on your ability to scale your workforce for growth. You need contracted freelancers and consultants to be able to do this. With the birth of online platforms that help you source your freelancers, the management tier is taken away and put into the hands of the technology. Taking the short amount of time it takes to familiarise yourself with this way of hiring will save you so much time and effort in the long run and enable you to organise your freelance workforce easily. 

We don’t use independent talent currently so we don’t have proof it works.

If you haven’t been tapping into the power of the independent workforce yet you could be missing out on some of the best talent. Not having an internal model or proof points to go on needn’t be a disadvantage, and there are plenty of external examples of it working. For example you can read how these 3 companies are adapting to include independent workers or how Coople found the right mix of talent with an independent consultant.

We don’t need it, we’re happy with our current way of doing things.

Your current solution might be working for you now but to stay competitive you need to have the best mix of talent at the right times. Working within your current network or with an individual consultancy can provide a well-trodden road to the kind of success you're used to but may restrict your exploration into some new avenues. As more and more companies start using independent talent to accelerate their growth their advantage grows over those who haven’t begun to realise the potential of this talent pool.

Now we've cleared these things up are you ready to start thinking using an independent consultant to run a project? You can 

About the Author

Rebecca White

As Marketing Campaigns Manager at Talmix, Becca is focused on helping potential and existing customers understand how Talmix can help them unlock the power of the world's independent workforce. She strives to create killer content marketing, telling the stories of our customers' success.

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