A consultant’s dilemma
What you need to know:
- If you find that the practice exists after you have started and there is little room for making changes, you may want to approach the client point person and share your thoughts. They may well be honest with you. If they insist that the practice does not exist, you may have little option but to continue your process.
I own a small HR consulting firm that has grown over the years, and my business is now steadily growing. Of late, I have been approached to conduct a recruitment assignment, and I have noted that in two of my last three projects, the clients have asked for my support; however, they have already determined whom they want to place, and as a result, I feel that I have been used to tick a box. This is highly demotivating for my team. How do I handle this situation? Michelle
Hello Michelle, this is unfortunate and based on some of the stories I have heard from applicants, some organisations follow this practice. Since you are a growing organisation, I appreciate that you have the challenge of growing your portfolio, maintaining best practices and ensuring that you balance your client portfolio quality.
In the first instance, one of the ways to ensure that you are working with clients that genuinely want and need your services is to carry out due diligence and establish their track record. This can be done by asking your professional colleagues and asking about the client’s track record or if you have an internal contract within the organisation about their recruitment practices.
This will help inform you whether you are ready to work with the client. In addition, it is essential that before you start the assignment, you ask some critical questions about their process. In asking the questions, you may find that your process may include assessing existing staff.
You may want to restructure the sourcing and assessment process in this case. This may look like offering to assess the existing team first to determine whether they are a good fit. This way, you are still delivering a service. In doing so, you are ensuring that best practice is being followed, i.e. existing staff are being assessed for placement and supporting the practice that first dibs is given to the internal team.
If you find that the practice exists after you have started and there is little room for making changes, you may want to approach the client point person and share your thoughts. They may well be honest with you. If they insist that the practice does not exist, you may have little option but to continue your process.
As a fellow consultant, it is vital that you protect your brand and reputation. As you grow, you will get to the point where you can decide which clients you want to work with. Remember that as you select your organisation, future clients will always conduct reference checks and their due diligence. If you take on questionable clients, you may find it challenging to attract new clients. It is a tricky balancing act. Good luck.
Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]