5 Step Checklist For Picking the Right HR Consultant

A small or medium business may have a lesser population than a big organization, but employees should still be taken care of just as much as any Fortune 500 companies’ employees.


     Nunzio Presta
     Senior Sales and Marketing Executive


A small or medium business may have a lesser population than a big organization, but employees should still be taken care of just as much as any Fortune 500 companies’ employees. Benefits, contributions, and welfare should be given priority as they are the ones who are working for you and making your business a success.

For some, hiring an HR consultant is the best choice when it comes to the human resource needs of a small business. Hiring these consultants would help you save time and money and give a fresh perspective on managing your employees’ needs.

So before you hire an HR consultant for your business, here is a checklist that may help you decide who would be the best fit for your company and employees.

Do Your Research: Know Their Background

Like with any decision you would be making (like what other services you could offer or how to expand your business), knowing the benefits and drawbacks for each prospective consultant is crucial in decision-making. Research the company, services, and support that they offer. You may see more about them on their website and social media platforms.

You could also send them an inquiry to get more information from them directly. It’s a good sign if they get back to you within 24-48 business hours as this would show that they are very responsive to their clients.

Knowing the consultant’s experience and expertise would let you know if you will have someone who could cater to your HR needs. You may ask for their consultant’s CVs or resumes to better see the background of each and to know them better, which could help build your trust and confidence in their people.

A firm could have its reference, but you may also find an individual reference for their consultants. Some detailed information about the company’s consultants and their HR histories should also be available online or offline.

Communicate Effectively and Frequently

Are They Trustworthy?

When hiring an HR consultant, knowing if they are trustworthy is essential. You would be giving them a huge responsibility that could make or break your business. Getting some references from them should help you with this one.

You may directly ask for references or case studies to show just how successful they have been with helping other clients. Getting to know the length of their service with other companies could also give you a hint if they are doing a great job or not.

An overview of their experience with the consulting firm is one thing you should be asking from these references. If some or a company refuses to give feedback about the HR consulting firm or the consultant, you can consider it a red flag and proceed cautiously with your decision. The best scenario is if you receive solid, good feedback and recommendation from these reference companies.

Their HR consultants should also have a professional HR qualification as the CIPD or Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. A consultant who achieved FCIPD or the Chartered Fellow status of CIPD is an excellent indication as this person has already operated at a senior HR level for at least ten years, which means they have the experience that can help you further in your company.

Know The Area Expert

You need to know what you are looking for as an HR consultant. Human resource is a vast field, and finding an expert on your specific needs is the way to go. Are you looking for someone who is a recruitment expert? Employee engagement and retention? Or maybe someone who is an expert with training and development?

A firm can have a wide range of choices when it comes to its consultants and their expertise. If you need a generalist, look for an HR firm that offers consultants with expertise in various HR fields and has the proper skills and experiences.

Communicate Effectively and Frequently

Get Their Input and Action Plan

Before choosing a consultant, it would be best to ask for the firm’s or the consultant’s initial action plan regarding your specific needs or projects you would want them to handle. This way, you will know if they are up for the challenge and if they understand the work they will take if chosen.

From this plan, you will also get to see the timelines and touchpoints, giving you a better picture of their plan. Treat this plan as a business proposal, discuss the differences in your vision and other important touchpoints that they did not cover.

A firm and consultant who can handle changes well is also the best choice since changes could happen in just a blink of an eye when operating a business. Having someone ready for these changes and would be able to adapt and drive results quickly would be trustworthy enough for your HR needs.

Leave No Stones Unturned

After the planning process and before giving your final decision, you should ask all the critical questions and have clear answers to get the best decision possible. These answers will be your evidence in knowing if the firm and its consultants are consistent and truly trustworthy.

You may ask the following questions and add other questions that you think will give you a clearer picture of your future partnership with them. These questions might have been asked already but make sure to put them on your list as a reminder in case the topic was not appropriately covered from the initial conversations:

  • What specific services does the firm offer?
  • What are the credentials of the consultants that will handle your business?
  • Has the HR consultant worked on a similar project or company? If yes, when was that?
  • Can we have a list of your previous clients for reference?
  • What are your pricing and billing options?
  • In what industries have you worked with earlier?
  • Is the company willing to sign a confidentiality agreement?
  • Will there be any on-site assistance in case of major issues? 


List down the pros and cons of your top HR firms and consultants to get a better grasp of your choices. You will see who stands out and who doesn’t. Your chosen consultant should have all your needs ticked off the list. They are the expert consultants when it comes to your specific needs, give the best proposal to fix your current human resource problems, and who your guts tell to be trustworthy. Hiring your Human Resource consultants may be a long and tedious process, but doing it the right way and meticulously will lead you to the best HR firm and consultants you will ever have.

For over 35 years, HR Options® has provided highly personalized solutions aimed at identifying and filling supplemental human resource needs for clients throughout the U.S. and Canada. Whether augmenting your HR department or serving as a complete outsourced solution, our suite of services and experienced professionals will help you navigate through complex and ever-evolving employment regulations in the US and Canada.


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