Choose the consultant

When you receive the proposals, you will evaluate them using the agreed selection criteria. Know in advance who will participate in the evaluation and make the recommendation. Will a committee make the decision, or an individual manager? In any case, you want the decision fully supported so the consultant can work effectively with your organization.

You will evaluate their personal traits, especially their communication skills. You will also look at their experience in performing the defined scope of work. If you are dealing with consulting firms, identify the consultants that will be assigned to your organization and evaluate those individuals. Remember to assess their availability for the work, as well as, their responsiveness in returning calls and answering questions.

Be sure to check the supplied references. Ask the identified contacts what value they received from the consulting activity and if they would use the consultant again.

Use the proposals to create a short list of consultants. Thank the others, but let them know they were not selected. Evaluate the remaining candidates by interviewing them. In person is best, but by telephone may be acceptable. You want to get a sense of how compatible they seem to be with your organization. It is also an opportunity to clarify their proposals.

Although difficult to accomplish in an interview, check for possible conflicts of interest and see if you feel comfortable with the honesty and ethics of the consultant. Confirm the consulting fees and estimated expenses. Although negotiating the terms of the agreement remains to be done, you will make your initial decision based on the available facts.

Notify the preferred consultant of the selection (pending negotiation of acceptable terms). Wait until after the negotiation completes before notifying the remaining candidates.