Inquire Before you Hire; 3 Tips Before you Hire a Professional

Mar 4, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

You need a professional auditor/ lawyer/ web developer/ whatever for your business. You’ve been impressed by the PowerPoint. You’ve read 10 Top Tips for Spotting a Professional Turkey. You’ve got a short list. Before you award a contract to one professional, what inquiries should you make?


Hiring a Professional

1. CHECK THEM OUT OFFLINE Ask like minded people, be they competitors, colleagues, friends or family, to recommend a professional to suit your business.

Don’t assume that because Joe & Co works for your friend, that the relationship is a good one. Your friend may quietly be planning to fire Joe & Co! So do ask first – verbally. People are more likely to tell you the truth informally and in person than in an email. You may be told, as I once was, that Joe & Co “is a nightmare to work with.” Personal style and the professional relationship are very important. The end does not always justify the means, and who wants to live a nightmare?

Ask for examples of similar projects undertaken and for references. It should be noted that accountants and certain other professionals are ethically precluded from ever disclosing client names. However, they should be able to cite references.

Check out their references. Who are their referees exactly? Make sure, especially in these days of mobile phones, that you are not talking to their mother / brother / wife etc… Contact referees directly.

2. CHECK THEM OUT ONLINE Review their websites.

Google them. Have they got LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, twitter accounts? These can be very revealing. What are other clients saying online?

Check out the company accounts. In Ireland, you can download a set of company accounts from the CRO for €2.50. Would you award a contract to a marketing company which is insolvent? Not if you knew about it! Desperation is never a good look…. However, you won’t be able to obtain accounts for a sole trader of partnership, unless they are given to you by the business, and it may not be appropriate to ask for these.

If there is a portfolio of work on their website, for example in the case of a web developer, visit their website and see if you like their work.

3. GIVE THEM A TRIAL Engage a professional for a small project before employing them for a large project, if possible and appropriate. You might for example engage a firm of accountants to provide advice on a small point of taxation before engaging them as your auditors. Or you could ask a marketing company for advice on your Facebook business page before employing them for a whole campaign. A small project will give you a good idea of what  a professional is like to work with as well as their competence to deliver results.

Have you any tips on how you evaluate professionals? Or any tales to tell, good or bad, on your experiences?  If so, great! Please leave your comments in the box below.

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