What recruiters should look for when placing candidates

When I look back at the places I have been and the people I met as an IT consultant, I can only say that it has been a fun-filled ride, and I am grateful to all the recruiters who have made this possible. This journey has been chock-full of ebbs and flows, obstacles to overcome and hoops to jump through. Some recruiters assisted with overcoming challenges, others were less helpful. It is up to the recruiters and the staffing industry to watch out for certain qualities and place workers accordingly. Getting it right will help these consultants and the clients you place them with.

Here’s what ideal consultants should have and do:

The right mindset. The consultant should always be focused on the job at hand and on how to do it better and more efficiently. Their thought process should be about continuous improvement in action. That proper outlook is what separates a consultant that is passionate about his or her craft from someone who is just consulting until the next full-time gig comes around.

Love the assignment. Consultants have to love the rush they get when they start a new client account. They have to have a sense of wonder and excitement about learning a new company’s culture and its idiosyncrasies, processes, people and habits. They have to view that whole process as putting a puzzle together. As a consultant, when I worked on Wall Street, I would say, “It’s about service and love.”

When you think about it, that’s what it boils down to. Consultants are providing a service and sharing some love (i.e. love of consulting). If consultants don’t love serving others then they should get out of the field now because it will be rough. If they don’t have that pioneering and adventurous spirit, if they are risk-averse, they should forget about consulting.

Can-do attitude. A consultant’s name is their calling card. Work ethic, soft skills and hard skills make up their business. They want to protect their name. They always want to put their best foot forward as they perform their consulting duties. When a consultant is asked, “Can you do this?” the answer should always be, “Yes, I can.” It is a consultant’s job to find a way to get it done. They should always have a solution so they can turn the impossible into the possible, even if it’s slightly different than what the client is asking. The company hires consultants to be part of their “can-do” crew. They should always provide their best effort and get busy.

Have the client’s back. The customer is always right, even if they are wrong. It is always about the client. The consultant is the cheering squad for the customer and the project. They are on watch for anything that could impact the client negatively. Consultants should not take things personally and always focus on keeping things moving. Consultants are not the star here, their role is to make the client the star.

Embrace diversity. As a woman and consultant in a male-dominated industry, I’ve learned we have to embrace not being part of the majority. If you are a woman, a minority, a foreigner, own it. We have to reframe that thought process and realize the corporate world is no longer homogenous. Being diverse is exactly what many companies are looking for. It allows consultants to bring a fresh, new perspective to the table.

Being a woman in technology has afforded me an added opportunity to look at consulting through a different lens. Consulting is not for the faint of heart. Placing the wrong type of person in the role of a consultant can put your firm’s brand in jeopardy, so staffing firms need to make sure the worker is up to consulting’s unique challenges.