One Way to Guarantee Credibility as a Consultant

Oct 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

In this post, I want to discuss how to gain credibility with a hiring manager at the conclusion of an interview. 

Early on, one of the many things our firm discusses with contractors is any future dates during the engagement when they know they’re going to have to take time off. Whether that time off is for a pre-planned, paid-for vacation or to take care of personal issues, it’s important for us to know in advance and to plan accordingly with the hiring manager.   

For most candidates, it’s easy to bring this matter up with the hiring manager during the interview conversation. However, I can tell you from experience that, in some cases, it will be a deal breaker. In the last six months alone, I’ve witnessed two instances in which somebody has had a commitment that couldn’t be changed during a client’s go-live week and had to pass on the project. If a client has a choice between two people, all skill sets being equal, the client will go with the consultant who doesn’t have any scheduling issues. Having said that, more times than not these scheduling issues can be dealt with. 

Recently, I had two consultants talk with the same client regarding a six-month engagement. Both consultants had pre-scheduled commitments that were within the dates of the contract. The first consultant brought up the potential scheduling conflict with the client during their conversation. The client had no issue with the dates, since they didn’t conflict with project go-live, and stated that time off wouldn’t be an issue.  The second consultant didn’t bring up the scheduling conflict with the client during their conversation. As a result, we made a point of mentioning the dates to the client during our follow-up debrief call, to determine if this would be an issue. 

Interestingly, the client didn’t take issue with the dates off required by the second consultant. But the client did express concern as to why the consultant didn’t bring up the time off during the phone call — especially since the first consultant did mentioned it and because it could’ve been an issue. Not only did this discredit the second consultant in the eyes of the hiring manager, but it also made the hiring manager feel even more comfortable with the first consultant.

When we explained to the hiring manager that the second consultant simply felt more comfortable having us bring it up with him, the hiring manager went on to ask me what other issues this consultant may have trouble communicating during the project.

The point I’m making is to be sure to end your interview by bringing up anything you could possibly foresee as an issue. No matter how small that concern may seem to you, you will be quite surprised by how it will enhance your credibility with the person with whom you’re interviewing.

You may also like: 3 Ways to Work As A Successful Contractor

General, Consulting, Hiring, Corporate Culture, David Kushan


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