In Consulting

3 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Consultant

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are just as many consultant employment opportunities as there are full-time jobs. Nonetheless, if you’ve never worked as a consultant, or with a recruiting firm, you may have a lot of questions about the consulting experience. Here are three things to keep in mind before accepting a consulting opportunity.

Research the recruiting firm

As a consultant, you may not be the employee of the company offering you the contract job, but you will most likely be the employee of the recruiting firm that sets up the interview. Thus, knowing as much as you can about the firm in the beginning will help prepare you for your assignment. For example, some recruiting firms will assign you to an account manager who will act as your first level of support. Say you want to take time off or ask for a raise after a year on the project. The account manager at the recruiting firm may be able to help negotiate these matters for you. Keep in mind that not all recruiting firms offer this kind of support, but knowing what kind of support they do offer is important for you to learn at the start of each project.

Consider the source of your employee benefits package

You’d be surprised how many recruiting firms offer their consultants benefits, such as healthcare, reimbursements for career training and even assistance with transportation costs. Alternatively, you may also buy your own benefits; however, you can save yourself time and money by perusing the perks some recruiting firms offer their consultants first.

Talk to other consultants

Whether you want to know more about being a consultant with a certain company or with a recruiting firm, talking with other consultants can give you the glimpse you are looking for. You can ask your recruiter to introduce you to one of their other consultants, or you can post your questions to your network on LinkedIn. Remember that being a consultant and a full-time employee are two very different scenarios, and people can have two very different experiences with the same company as either an employee or as a consultant.

Consultant work offers professionals immense growth opportunities, since you are able to more easily hop from experience to experience, exposing you to more diverse projects. It also allows for career-minded individuals to build a relationship with a recruiting firm that could turn into a career-long partnership.

Belo Cipriani is a recruiting professional and an award-winning author. He is also a freelance journalist, and has been a featured guest lecturer at both Yale University and the University of San Francisco. In conjunction with Granite Solutions Groupe, he also writes GSG Connections. Learn more at BeloCipriani.com.