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#7: When a Client Asks You to Hire Staff

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Help! My client is asking me to make hiring decisions for her. It is nice that she trusts me but I am uncomfortable taking on this responsibility.

There is nothing wrong with advising a client on some aspects of staffing decisions but final selections are inherently management decisions. A consultant, unless specifically hired to conduct the hiring process, should not be making such decisions. The role of the consultant can be fairly broad in staffing decisions. You can help specify the knowledge, skills and abilities required for a position. You might even set up a process to identify candidates and a process to screen or evaluate their capabilities. You may even be in a position to evaluate the performance of current staff. It is not unusual for clients to ask a trusted advisor to sit in on interviews for key candidates. But, making the final decision on a candidate is inappropriate for a consultant and the client would be abdicating their responsibility as a company executive to ask you to do so.

Tip: This is traditionally a subject of your initial discussion with a client at the outset of an engagement as to your respective roles. It is your prerogative as an advisor to inform your client that you are not comfortable taking on the role of making corporate decisions, even though you appreciate the responsibility inferred by the request.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  ethics  recommendations  roles and responsibilities 

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