Consulting Firms: 4 Tips for Finding the Right One


As a senior financial consultant, you need access to a wide range of industry leaders, emerging organizations and other potential clients to keep your business afloat. Since reaching out to your contacts may not be enough to land your next position, consider signing on with a consulting firm that specializes in filling senior-level interim management and project roles to ease the burden and speed up the hunt.

Before you sign on with a firm, follow these four tips to ensure the one you pursue is the right fit for you:

1. Consider the consulting firm's reputation

Consulting firms with the best reputations have strong rapport with the best companies, and their recruiters have valuable connections. These already established relationships and industry alliances allow the best consulting firms to know about jobs that haven't even been posted yet. Look for a firm that has a proven track record, offers access to training and values personalized interaction with you.

2. Consider the consulting firm's size

Larger, established firms have more recruiters to cover more ground and unearth more potential opportunities for you. They have a broader reach and will know of jobs outside your current area if you're interested in relocating.

3. Consider the consulting firm's service

You want a recruiter who will take time to get to know you – preferably over the phone and in person – and who can understand and market your skills effectively. You also want a consulting firm that offers you the latest on industry trends and continuing education and training opportunities.

4. Know when to decline

Be mindful of some red flags that can signal less-than-effective consulting firms:

  • The firm doesn't specialize in placing financial consultants. The firm may seem perfect otherwise, but your senior-level job search should be handled by someone who thoroughly understands your skills and experience. The best consulting firms feature client service directors who are themselves former finance and accounting professionals, commonly having held CFO positions, senior accountant jobs, senior business analyst jobs or senior financial analyst jobs.
  • The firm charges for its services. Reputable consulting firms will provide all of their services – including training, placement and other ancillary benefits – at no cost to you.
  • The firm has a record of consumer complaints. Recruiters should be glad to provide lists of satisfied clients; they should never be evasive or unwilling. Be wary of legitimate complaints such as those that appear on the Better Business Bureau's lists or review sites – or if there's no track record at all.

Engaging with a consulting firm is a wise move, but you should evaluate your options carefully. Customer-oriented consulting agencies that are well-connected in the finance, accounting and business worlds can keep you engaged in positions that are a good match for your talents and career goals.