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How to Use a Consulting Marketplace to Find Freelance Consultants.

by Dr Dorel Iosif - Cognisium

Freelance consultants bring fresh ideas and help improve many processes in your business. They can counsel your team to develop more effective policies, strategies, and processes. Yet, finding the right freelance consultants for your business can be time-consuming.

The process is online most of the time, so it's easy to make the wrong choice. You have to know to differentiate between legit and fake consultants. Keep reading to learn how a consulting marketplace helps save time and reduce risks.

Choose a Consulting Marketplace

An Upwork study found that talent scarcity and access to in-demand skills were the top challenges for hiring managers. The rise of remote work led to more experts choosing to become freelance consultants. As a result, it's now easier to find business advisory services online.

At the same time, competition for the top talents has increased. It can take time for small businesses to find the right consulting marketplace.

Hiring top independent freelance talent can mean more commitment and longer engagements. The average length of independent talent engagement is 4.1 months. A cost-effective option for a small business is using a freelance consulting marketplace.

The issue with many consulting marketplaces is that the majority use matching technologies. Matching may not help you if a company doesn't understand consultancy positioning.

Some of these companies skimp out on skilled staffing and work with a lean or inexperienced team. The people behind the platform may not grasp the core HR aspects of working with leading consultants.

To find the best expert, you need to work with a platform that narrows down searching to a specific industry. If you want a finance specialist in the Aerospace industry, the system should funnel you to the right person.

Cognisium is a great example of such a marketplace. Check out how our client registration process is designed to help you find the perfect expert.

Next, you have to look at a platform's management team to establish their backgrounds and abilities. A marketplace's transparency about their management can give you a better picture of their credibility.

Define the Scope of Your Project

Hiring consultants brings benefits as well risks, such as unease among your staff. To work effectively with freelance independent consultants, you need to define your challenges and needs. One of the critical steps here is to clarify your final expectations.

Have a clear idea of your goals and objectives to guide the consulting process. Your goals allow your consultant to build a blueprint that helps to actualise your expectations. It would be best to analyse your projects to identify the gaps that a consultant needs to work on.

What you need in a project helps you define the exact skills you want in freelance consultants. Also, analyse how consulting will impact internal processes or affect your staff. Find out the resources or the staff that may become redundant, and create a plan to optimise them.

Granted, you want a consultant engagement that's the best value for your money, so you should establish clear project timeframes. Define the starting and ending project dates. An expert engagement is contractual─ clarity on timeframes can ease accountability.

You also need to establish how much your company is committing for consultancy fees. Consultancy rates can vary based on a freelancer's skills and experience. Make sure you have the budget to find a consultant who fits your needs.

And for a smooth transition from current processes to integration of an expert, there should be few or zero internal bottlenecks. Go over your operating system to establish any challenges that hamper effective consultancy. For instance, laws, systems, or policies can hamper the project.

Defining the scope of your project will help you ensure you're getting the most value out of a consultancy engagement. It also helps to create effective contingency plans and improve project outcomes.

Create an Assignment or Project Brief

Figuring out your project's scope helps you define what to include in your brief. Your brief is the first thing that consultants will see and use to decide whether they're fit for your project. The whole process is straightforward when you're using Cognisium.

You only need to describe your project, choose rates and post your brief to get started. You could also skip the 'brief part' and directly invite your choice of experts from the platform to view your brief. Our consultants will help you create an accurate project brief that helps you address your business issues.

Let's say you're looking for a long-term consultancy engagement─ at least six months. Our technology can personalise your search and give you the best talent for your project.

We host many pre-vetted freelance professionals. So, you can bet on us to help find high-quality candidates for your projects. Regardless of your industry, you'll find someone who'll help you manage your projects for success.

Review Proposals and Shortlist Experts

If you have uploaded a brief, you have to wait for proposals from interested freelance consultants. Consultants may use your brief to ask for clarification about your project. Always ensure it's detailed and concise.

Once you receive proposals, scan through the details to establish if they're fit for your needs. Check if they have the required experience to handle and manage your project. Look at their portfolio, references, and testimonials.

Ask for references' contacts and follow up with them to uncover more about your candidates. Find out from the references what this freelancer helped them achieve, and whether they recommend them to other clients.

Go through your candidates' social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora. This can help you learn more about their values and social stands. A Harvard Business Review article explains that70% of employers use social media to screen applicants.

Certification standards and industry regulations may vary with some states. Check if your candidate has valid certifications and fulfils all the legal requirements to work in your company.

Interview a Set of Freelance Consultants

Whether face-to-face or virtual, interviews are the key to choosing the best freelance consultants. An astonishing85% of people lie in their resumes.

Review proposals to weed out candidates who aren't familiar with your projects. You want someone who has handled a similar type and size for the best results.

The needs of your project will determine how many freelancers you'll shortlist for interviews. The average employer interviews up to ten candidates for one position. And each candidate goes through 2-3 interview rounds.

Granted that you're looking for freelancers, you can conduct the whole interview process online. Jobs that need you to test a freelancer's on-site skills are more suited to face-to-face interviews. Choose an interview approach that suits you and is likely to lead you to the best candidate.

Use interviews to test behaviours, attitudes, and aptitudes. Ask them about their professional backgrounds, and let them tell you about the actions they took to tackle particular work situations. Also, try to understand what they'd do in a given challenge or scenario.

A consultant marketplace saves you the hassle of going through lengthy interviews. The big part that remains with the vetted experts is confirming if they fit your company's culture. Engage them on our platform to learn about their values and work ethics.

Why Use a Consultant Marketplace

First, you want to find the top talent fast and at competitive rates. A consultant marketplace is a pool of bright professionals with predictable terms and rates. It saves you from fishing from a large online sea of candidates, most of whom you may not be able to establish their backgrounds.

Today, many small businesses often struggle to grow their market share. Independent consultant marketplaces allow these businesses to compete by easing access to top talent. A blended workforce strategy increases flexibility and innovation capabilities.

Scaling up can be cost-effective when small business owners can access a pool of experts at a click. But with global talent shortages, it can be tough and expensive to hire top consultants.

Marketplaces are a win-win for CEOs, fractional executives and freelance executives. These platforms connect businesses with different experts, making it easy to engage for the best terms. Freelance professionals enjoy a steady flow of exciting projects from all corners of the world.

Consultancy marketplaces are a time-saving and risk-elimination tool. Businesses looking for the top talent can save time choosing their best candidate from a pre-vetted list. These platforms do all the heavy work of vetting, identity verification, and background checks.

Here's an Easy Way to Find the Best Freelance Consultants for Your Business

Using a consulting marketplace has a lot of benefits. You'll be able to save time and lower the risk factor of not aligning with the right freelancers.

An easy way to find the best freelance consultants for your business is by using a platform like Cognisium. It gives you a chance to find the perfect candidate for your projects faster and at a lower cost. Contact us so we can help you find a niche consultant for your project.

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