The world of technology consulting is a big one. In 2017, Business Insider estimated there were over 600,000 IT consultants working in the US alone. In a pool that big, there’s bound to be a wide range of quality in terms of consultant skill set, personality or “fit” within a certain work culture, among many other factors.
So maybe you’re a company looking to understand what to look for when hiring a consulting firm. Perhaps you run your own consulting company and you’re looking for intel on which qualities lead to the best hires. Maybe you’re a consultant yourself looking for ways to be more successful in your career. While having the right technical skill or functional background is key, don’t overthink (or underestimate) the soft skills that make a good consultant “great.”
1. Great consultants are natural learners.
Consultants often find themselves in the position of a new employee of any company in that they need to first learn the “lay of the land” before they are able to get started on a new project. They might not have exact experience in your industry, business or operating model. Finding someone who is efficient and effective in getting up to speed in a new area – and who enjoys the thrill of trial by fire! – as they get their feet wet is key.
2. Great consultants are flexible.
Technology consulting is rarely entirely predictable. We continually get better at estimating things like project timelines as we gain technical experience in specific areas, but there are often unexpected obstacles that come up that can risk derailing the project. Great consultants have the ability to think on the fly, shift gears as needed, and continue pushing the ball forward when issues arise.
3. Great consultants are focused.
There’s often a lot going on for consultants on a project. From daily stand ups, to heads down development time, to bug fixes, to detailed time reporting – a great consultant can focus on the task at hand to make sure everything is getting done on-time and according to plan.
4. Great consultants are relatable.
More often than not, companies are looking for real people to work closely with. What I mean by this is they are generally looking for more than just a robot to complete a list of tasks, but rather someone who can bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and/or a fresh perspective to a problem. Great consultants build relationships with their clients by finding things in common with them, whether that’s personal interests, empathizing over past project pains, or creative ways to show they’re invested in their shared victories.
5. Finally, great consultants are persistent.
No two client projects are alike. Building a technology solution in the same subject matter as a prior engagement can require an entirely different approach given factors like business landscape, resource availability, or tool suite. A great consultant will consistently utilize inventive methods to find solutions to problems – and stick to it until the project is a proven success.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of what makes a great consultant, these are some of the things we look for as we aim to hire and retain the best consulting talent in the SAP space. So if you’re looking to stand up or augment a project team with people with these key qualities, look no further than Mindset or if you are looking for a new role and think consulting may be a fit. We’re excited to hear from you! For a list of Mindset’s open positions visit HERE.