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Observations on Hiring Consultants Onsite

Last week, I had blogged about how my offshoring blog is doubling as a recruiting tool. Of course, not all recruiting has moved the Web 2.0 way. Though much of recruitment for offshoring firms happens at offshore base locations, sourcing firms, including my employer, are also hiring top-end technology consultants onsite; albeit selectively.  

I had an interesting time interacting with and interviewing fellow consultants and technologists the past couple of weeks. The consultants in question were referred to us by the head of their company’s consulting practice since the group was being disbanded due to some corporate restructuring; and the management of the firm had offered to connect them with other partner organizations (including Infosys). Why that group was being disbanded rather than being offered/sold as a consulting practice is something I had no intention of probing. So here I was, working with my colleagues to whet the profiles from that data set, and began making cold calls to talk with the prospective candidates. A few observations based on my interactions with the prospects:

  • The group of consultants was geographically distributed across North America with a mix of consulting managers (program managers) and technologists.
  • The projects they had worked on included a vast array ranging from pre-sales support for the firm, building business cases for/with clients to developing proof of concept and solution frameworks, roadmaps and other aspects that consultants typically get involved in.
    It was interesting to observe the career trajectory of these consultants who work with clients on very strategic initiatives and advice them on taking key decisions but were leading very tactical lives of their own: these road warriors were living off a suitcase, literally, traveling extensively to client locations.
  • Like most true consultants worth their salt, they claimed that most of their engagements were ‘strategic.’ Of course, which consultant would admit to working on tactical initiatives? Or even if the engagement were tactical, on could give it a strategic twist: being billable was fulfilling their firm’s strategic revenue goals. :-)
  • Though they had joined at different times in the past, many brought a wealth of industry and consulting expertise to the table. The consulting skills would certainly be valuable as they moved on.
  • The fact was that my group was not the only one talking with them. in the spirit of open market, many had already been on the lookout for other opportunities

The processes of interviewing these professionals with years of industry background had an unintended consequence: it helped me reflect on my goals! And in case you are wondering how many in interviewed and eventually recommended for selection, tough luck finding that information here; this after all happens to be a corporate blog sponsored by my employer.

A few other intersting blog entries on the topic of hiring consultants:

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