As a business owner, one of the hardest hats you must wear is that of your own hiring team. Interviewing people for jobs related to your own background and experience may not be too tough, but interviewing people for more involved positions, like computer consulting positions, is challenging. How do you know if a person will do a good job when you're not overly versed in their industry? Thankfully, there are a few questions you can ask when interviewing computer consultants. The following questions will help you select the best consultant for you—even if you're not that knowledgeable when it comes to computers.
1. What operating systems have you used?
Someone who has spent their whole life working with one operating system won't be very well-versed in another. If you use Microsoft operating systems, for example, you'll want to find a consultant who specializes in Microsoft consulting. Do not ask the interviewee if they have experience with the system you use. Rather, ask them what systems they use and allow them to answer in an open-ended manner. This way, you will get a more honest and thorough answer.
2. Is this your primary occupation?
When you are hiring someone as a consultant, you need to be aware that there are many people who work full-time jobs and just consult on the side. This might be fine for you if you are a small business and only need someone for a few hours per week. However, if you are looking for a more dedicated computer consultant who has more time to offer you, then you might want to look for someone who consults full-time. You will have an easier time getting a hold of them during the day, and they may be more dedicated to helping you out.
3. Do you sell anything?
Always find out if the person you are considering hiring works for any sales companies. If they do, this may be a conflict of interest, as they may be motivated to sell you the item they peddle rather than actually fixing your problem in the most cost-effective way. However, do not automatically turn down an applicant who sells something. Rather, find out what it is they sell. If the item is unrelated to your needs, you are probably safe to hire them. On the other hand, if you are hiring them to manage your printers and they sell a different brand of printers, it may not be too long before you find yourself being talked into a different brand.
4. How do you bill for your services?
Different contractors handle their billing differently. Some send out bills for their services on a monthly basis. Others will bill you for each service they provide, only after they have provided it. Some consultants may even expect to be on your payroll as a part-time employee. Whatever terms you agree to will have to be a compromise between your needs and the consultant's preferences, but at least ask this question to know what you are getting into from the beginning.
5. Do you go through any ongoing training?
Technology changes quickly. Good consultants are aware of this, and they take steps to keep themselves informed. Many go through ongoing training to make sure they do not fall behind on technology and the latest innovations. Note that these do not have to be formal classes. If a consultant tells you them regularly watch videos in their industry or go to conferences, this is a form of ongoing training that will keep them informed. Be wary of a consultant who does not understand the need for ongoing training.