When Should I Hire Consultants Instead of a Consulting Firm?

Companies grapple with the best way to hire talent to meet organization-wide goals. When companies are not ready to fully invest in creating a permanent position, they are faced with two options – hire a consultant or hire a consulting firm.  On the surface, these options look similar, but in reality, the process, cost, and output are different.

For decades, consulting firms have positioned themselves as the go-to solution for a broad range of issues.  Consultancies have short onboarding lead times and flexibility to ramp projects up or down without having to go through a traditional hiring search.  When companies have been unable to use their own staff, consulting firms are the logical first stop.

Joining a top-tier consulting group was once considered a step towards a strong and successful career path. College graduates would spend a few years in entry-level positions. They would hone their skills, mature as businesspeople and learn to handle business leaders across various types of industries. For decades this model was a solid choice.

Today management consulting firms are experiencing higher than normal turnover, layoffs and delaying start dates of their new classes.  This is resulting in greater project interruptions, a lack of mature staff to interface with internal and external business leaders, and a major break in the pipeline of developed talent. This once reliable system of churning out talent at consultancies no longer aligns with the realities of the labor market.

Hiring consultants through an agency addresses some of the main challenges and concerns that companies will face when beginning new projects. The cost of placing an engineering consultant is significantly lower than using a consultancy.

Management Consulting Firms should be used to help with strategy, but the actual delivery must be led by internal leadership teams.  Projects or initiatives requiring a Big 4 consultancy will greatly impact an organization today and potentially years into the future.

Companies must empower their leadership teams to run these projects.  They should be demanding to interview the consultants who will be joining their teams. It is frustrating to have someone come in to run the show without any regard to the team or organizational dynamics. Allowing team leaders to be a part of the process means that they are more invested in a successful outcome.

Consultants hired through an agency can easily have their contracts extended or be offered permanent positions down the line.  Realistically, there are new versions, updates, and modifications that are always needed once you have adopted a new system.

Consultancies will always be a top provider of experts for strategy. Yet, they are no longer unmatched in their ability to provide expertise in a shorter time frame, at a lower cost, while simultaneously empowering the internal team.

If you want to learn more about the process of hiring a consultant, we can guide you through the process to help you understand how a consultant can be the right fit for your organization.

We take a direct path to technology staffing success.