Asking Useful Questions

Interviewing Potential Consultants

There are obvious questions that you’d want to ask when you interview potential consultants, such as the consultant’s background, experience in the social sector as well as consulting experience. But experience alone is not enough.

The most common reference to consulting partnership success is the match between the consultant and the organization. Finding a good match depends on many things, like chemistry, culture, values, field content knowledge or not, and whether or not the client and consultant like and enjoy working together.

Consider asking these questions of potential consultants

  1. Please share some important things for us to know about you, like your background, experience in the social sector, how you came to be a consultant.
  2. Please tell us what have been two of the most satisfying consulting projects you’ve had in the past year. What made them so?
  3. Please share one or two most challenging consulting projects you’ve worked on. What happened? What did you do? What did you learn as a result?
  4. What would you say as your three most important assets that you bring to your clients? What do you consider your primary value-add?
  5. We’re looking for someone to help us with _______________________.
    • What have you worked on in the past two years that might have similar dimensions?
    • Imagine we’ve decided to work together. What may be some questions you’d ask us? What may be some materials you’d like to see? What may be the first three steps you’d take to get us started?
  6. What are your thoughts about the “Bill of Rights“? What are your views on increasing the level of transparency, accountability and quality in social sector consulting?
  7. If we were to call five of your references, what will they likely tell us about you, such as how you work, what we can expect, etc.?
  8. What are you working on in terms of your own growth and development as a consultant? What professional development investments have you made in your own growth in the last 2 years?
  9. What books about leadership, organizational development or transformational change have influenced you the most? In what ways?
  10. How do you evaluate and get feedback on your past performance and client work? Have you completed a 360-degree evaluation process?