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Choosing a HR Consultant: Checklist

So you’re considering the pros and cons of outsourcing parts of your HR function. Congratulations! Now onto the second question: How do you go about choosing an HR Consultant right for your business?

As an HR Consultant writing a blog on his site I’m arguably pushing the boundaries of impartiality here but here’s what I’d check if I was planning on investing my time and money:


Most consultants claim HR “expertise”. One way to weed out the haves from the have-nots is to identify those who have worked as an HR Manager. Someone with this experience has generally worked their way up through the ranks and understands how to translate the theory behind HR into a system that practically works in your business. Lesson? Find yourself the real deal.

Recent experience

The business world has changed dramatically in the past ten years. Advances in technology, different generations in the workplace and differing attitudes toward work mean today’s workplace landscape is radically different to the one of 2007. An HR Consultant without recent exposure to today’s workplace will take time to get up to speed. And who pays for that? Take a guess.

Industry background

While people are people, different industries often operate in different ways and each has a distinct culture. Hospitality differs from manufacturing which, in turn, differs from the corporate environment. A Consultant with experience in your industry knows what works: what’s likely to be accepted and what’s likely to be a challenge. Someone with experience across a variety of industries is also worth considering as they’ve generally experienced different ways of meeting similar challenges. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ask the question and find the right cat skinner for your business.


Some of the smartest and most successful people have none and, while qualifications in HR may not be a deal breaker in your Consultant sourcing process, if it came down to the choice of a Consultant with tertiary HR qualifications or one without, I’d favour the one with. If nothing else, a degree demonstrates a commitment to the profession and, if you can find someone holding tertiary qualifications plus the three factors listed above, you’re pretty much on the right track to find a competent HR practitioner.

Bottom line

You are potentially going to be entrusting one of your most valuable business assets to a stranger. In choosing an HR Consultant, do your research, ask lots of questions, find someone who speaks your language and takes the time to clearly explain the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s possible from an HR function. If at any time your head, heart or gut tells you it isn’t right, simply walk away…the right Consultant for you is out there.


Good luck with your mission. Feel free to get in touch if you have further questions:

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

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