Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Thoughts on Hiring Consulting Firms

One of the problems that many large enterprises face is in their ability to hire the right consultant. I figured I would share one tip that I started to noodle over the last couple of weeks...

Part of the problem in hiring a good consultant is that there simply isn't enough to go around. When an expert becomes available, an enterprise must respond quickly for fear that this individual will be substituted with a fresher. Sometimes are inability to respond in a timely manner has to do with our own poor time management but sometimes it is related to the process of actually interviewing.

Next week will be the start of several major projects in the security space. One of the challenges I through out to various consulting firms who are interested in placing individuals is that I told them that if they sent me the resume of an individual that blogs and contributes to open source I would make a decision within 1/2 hour and not bother with interviewing.

My thinking says that interviews in most situations are more about fit than they are about figuring out whether a person is competent. The funny thing is that the folks I respect the most tend to be the ones I absolutely can't stand working with but would hire in a heartbeat because I feel success is more important than playing nice in the sandbox.

The rationale for contributing to open source is simple. I don't have to ask trick questions related Java, XML, XACML or any other thing I am noodling but instead simply look at the quality of code they have written. This is the ultimate in transparency. Likewise, if they blog, I can also tell how they think and whether their ideas resonate with others something in which you can't really tell in an interview.

While none of the consulting firms have sent me candidates with this background, I will be making sure that this trend gets started. In the next couple of weeks, you will see me introduce several consultants to the blogosphere as they are strongly encouraged by me to blog. After all, the customer is always right...

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