We are considering hiring an individual from a consulting firm for one of our marketing leadership roles. What are the main risks in considering a consultant?
Consulting firms do a fantastic job selecting the best and brightest from MBA programs. The firms consistently push their teams to deliver exceptional work products and they provide great training and mentoring programs to develop their employees. There is a lot of talent within the consulting ranks!
Corporations looking to transition someone from a consulting role into an internal management or leadership role need to be on the look-out for a few main things:
Owning the staff – in consulting, the teams are relatively small and there is no concept of “owning” staff or a team. So while a consultant may have management responsibility, the individual may not have fully developed skills to manage larger teams or manage ongoing performance issues.
Owning the Issues – depending on the type of consulting, the individual may have exceptional skills at developing a strategy or new process but may struggle with actually implementing those ideas. A company needs to pay close attention to the candidate’s change management skills and their ability to continuously improve approaches and products.
Owning the Relationships – a common challenge for consultants moving into industry is adjusting to the politics and bureaucracy of a company. So extra interviewing attention should be devoted to determining if the individual can successfully navigate the existing barriers in the culture.
Consultants are quick learners so many of these areas can be overcome. The key takeaway is to deep dive into these areas with the consulting candidates during the interview process.