Posted April 25, 2012 by

Interview with a Consultant

I’m a consultant within the recruiting industry and have been a consultant for about 10 years. Rather than work in a human resources department full-time and recruit candidates for an organization’s job openings, I consult with organizations on a contractual basis. Consultants are generally used on an “as-needed” basis and provide expertise in a specific industry or occupation for organizations.

My work consists of assisting companies to fill their job openings. I use my skills, network and recruiting experience to quickly fill job openings with candidates that match the company’s culture and required skills for the job. A common misconception about consulting is that it’s not steady work. As a consultant, work can last a few weeks to a few years. Generally, if I consistently meet the requirements of my clients, my work continues. I consider my clients’ needs no matter what they are. If I put my ego aside and go above their expectations, I’m employed.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate my job an 8. Consulting requires my undivided attention to my clients. I have to be 100 percent onboard with their requirements, whether I agree with their strategy or not. That can sometimes detriment my industry experience and success, because clients are often set in their ways, so-to-speak. Some clients have a set way of doing things because it’s been successful in the past. Industry, technological and competitive changes may require to make changes internally. It’s often hard to get clients on-board to improving processes and strategies.

I got started consulting through a friend, because I was unhappy at my current job. I was introduced to the president of a small human resources consulting firm, who had a three month assignment with a client of his. I worked hard those three months and it turned into an eight year assignment with the same client! I didn’t expect to turn consulting into a career because it was unlike a full-time job with benefits and vacation. The pay was higher than any full-time job I had, so I could afford my own benefits and taking time off without pay.

The only hard lesson I learned as a consultant is that clients can end the contract at a moment’s notice. Clients’ needs change and they may choose to allot funds for other projects within their organization. Although my hard work was appreciated, there were times throughout my consulting career that were slow or my hours were cut back. At other times, my work went well beyond the scope of the contract to meet the needs of the client. I could work 10 hours one week and 70 hours traveling internationally the next. I had to be extremely flexible with my time and in some cases, with my finances.

Although I stumbled across a consulting career, it was definitely something I was interested in because I controlled my success. It was and still is scary at times not knowing if and when work will come along again, but my dedication led to recognition and continuing to work with very few intermittent times when work isn’t available, even in a tough economy. After college and moving into the working world, I realized my dream job wasn’t out there. It took about 10 years to find a career I enjoyed.

I know it sounds like a sales pitch, but the challenge of the job made me get up and go to work each day. I also enjoyed being able to delight candidates by telling them they got the job. It was always a pleasant surprise when my client and my consulting firm recognized my hard work and in some cases, it led to unexpected cash rewards. Sometimes the challenges could drive me insane, though. At times, clients expected the impossible from me, such as recruiting and hiring candidates that were from competitive companies. They always wanted to work around the legalities and just make it happen.

My job could be stressful like any other job, but never enough to not offer a decent work/life balance. It was rare that I worked weekends although my cell phone was always on and I was always available. Each consulting job is different. I was paid an hourly wage of $40 per hour, with an occasional bonus ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for exceptional work. Consultants typically have a strong understanding of their industry, occupation and field, so it requires a degree and several years of experience. Although my jobs before consulting were not as rewarding, the hard work prepared me to excel in this career.

I would recommend this line of work to a friend who’s willing to work hard and take a risk. Consulting is never a guaranteed job for years, but not many jobs are in today’s economy. I’m happy in my line of work because I do write my own ticket. I don’t have to aspire to move up the proverbial career ladder, because I’m happy with my income. If I’m not retired in five years, I’ll continue to do consulting work until I do retire.

 

This is a true story as told to LatPro.com, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals. LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals.

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