Evaluating Consulting Experience – What to Look For

Companies rely on engineering consultants for a host of reasons. They may seek very specific expertise for a project; they may need to staff an out-of-state project with licensed professionals; they may need someone to step in and get a project in line and back on budget. Whatever your motivation for hiring engineering consultants, the right professionals can add real value to the firm. However, you must know what to look for when evaluating potential consultants if you want to avoid making a wrong – and potentially expensive – choice.

Fit Matters

You probably understand the importance of focusing on cultural alignment when hiring permanent staff, but when hiring short-term engineering consultants, you may put less emphasis on fit. This is a mistake. Whether the consultant will be there for eight weeks or 12 months, fit matters. Engineers need to work well with your existing team and organizational leaders, so always make sure to focus on fit during the interview process.

Consulting Experience

There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on a consultant who has just made the leap from a permanent full-time job. However, successful engineering consulting isn’t for everyone. Someone with a long track record of successful contract and consulting experience knows the lay of the land and understands the nuanced (and not always obvious) differences between permanent positions and short-term engagements. If this is your first foray into hiring a consultant, you may be more comfortable working with someone with a longer consulting resume.

Relevant Experience

Engineers sometimes move between industries, but it is critical to evaluate their past experience and note whether or not they’ve worked for firms similar in size, focus and industry. A six-month engagement is not the time for an engineer’s first exposure to your line of work.

Genuine Interest in Your Opportunity

Consulting can be a tough gig. Engineers are in a constant state of “hustle” to line up their next project. You don’t want to hire someone who is scrambling for a paycheck. You do want to hire someone who is genuinely interested in working with your firm on your project. Look for candidates who ask thoughtful and relevant questions and who show authentic enthusiasm, rather than desperation.


It’s tempting to skip over references when hiring for short consulting engagements, but references can be your best resource when it comes time to extend an offer. Don’t just confirm employment. Ask questions about the consultant’s work ethic, work style, fit within the organization, attention detail, etc.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Hiring Consultants

When it comes to hiring consultants, you have to be just as strategic as you are when hiring full-time employees. A case can be made that you actually need to be more strategic, because hiring the wrong person for a consulting engagement can ultimately derail your entire project. Taking the time to hire the right person can be difficult for many internal HR teams that don’t have experience hiring consultants and are already stretched to their limits.

Working with a strategic recruiting firm that specializes in engineering consulting can shorten your time to hire while improving the quality of your hires, ensuring you get matched with the right consultants for your projects.  If you are in need of effective engineering consultants, contact PEAK Technical Staffing today. We can help you develop strategies to take your firm to the next level.

About PEAK

PEAK Technical Staffing is a leading provider of engineering staffing services, offering contract staffing, contract-to-hire and direct hire solutions throughout the United States. With nearly fifty years of technical recruiting experience, we find solutions that meet more than just your technical requirements.

We work closely with you to make sure that every candidate fits your company’s unique needs and culture. See some of the engineering jobs we have recently filled for our clients:

Quality Manager

Electrical and Controls Engineer

Mechanical Engineer

If you are looking for skilled, experienced engineering professionals to help your business succeed, contact the recruiting experts at PEAK Technical Staffing today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Testimonials

John understood the scope of my job and was able to manage my moving goal posts and did not get rattled when I pulled the carpet out from under him …Read More »

Bill M.

See All Testimonials

PEAK Careers!

Take control of your career! Join the team as a recruiter at PEAK and build the future of your dreams.