5 key questions HRMS consultants should prepare for an interview
You’re an independent consultant. You’re an expert in HRMS. You understand the HR technology market and you can leverage that expertise and knowledge for the benefit of your client. If they need help finding the right HRMS for their business or implementing that HRMS in such a way that it’s welcomed (and used) by their employees, you’re the person for the job. But first, you have to convince the client that all of the above is true. And as with any interview situation, they get to choose the questions, you just have to answer them. What follows are five key areas that a savvy client-to-be should be asking about, and for which you should be prepared.
Your HRMS knowledge
To start with the obvious, any client will expect you to know HRMS inside and out. They should quiz you on your experience in selecting and implementing HRMS. Whether HRMS is your specialism (or do you spend a lot of your time working in other areas)? What market insights can you offer them? Can you, if necessary, educate the client on the finer points of key HRMS uses and features, e.g. predictive analytics (an area that most users are still getting to grips with)?
Real-life past projects
Theoretical knowledge is all well and good but a smart client will ask you about actual HRMS projects you’ve worked on. And it’s not only about your deep knowledge of all things HRMS. There are certain challenges to working as a consultant, namely your ‘outsider’ status. You’re an expert but you’re not an employee. You’re almost certainly being paid much more than the average HRMS user in the client organization. Many may assume that you can’t possibly understand their ‘complex’ needs as a business. Being able to cite examples of how you’ve successfully trod this tricky path before can go a long way to establishing your credibility.
The other big factor is whether your approach, your values, your ways of managing a project, sync with the client’s corporate culture. If culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ then do you fit or not? Are you used to working with organizations like theirs? How will you build rapport with stakeholders if you’ve never worked in their industry sector?
Do you have a contingency plan?
A potential problem with this whole scenario is that while you may land the contract, from the client’s point of view, they’ve contracted with you. With your skills and expertise. With your specialist knowledge and past experience. Under what circumstances (e.g. illness) will you be less available, and what happens then? They may need some reassurance that you have the support of a wider team, or equally skilled contacts, who could keep the project running smoothly even if you’re unexpectedly out of the picture.
Just as if they were hiring you for a permanent position, the client will want to see some references. This is where they’re looking to peek behind the conversations, interviews, and presentations, to see the reality of what happens when you work with a client. Choose references that not only reflect your own brilliance but also come from organizations at least similar to that of the potential client.
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