Choosing a consulting company can feel a little bit like online dating. From their online presence, every company seems like it could be a match: easy-going, successful, and open to whatever makes you happy. But you know from experience that not all companies look the same behind closed doors as they do on paper – so how do you tell the difference?
We sat down with Nordic Senior Consultant Jessie Gulden to discuss the critical traits of a great consulting firm and what differentiates Nordic when it comes to the competition. Here are five traits she says make all the difference when you’re consulting:
1. You don’t feel like just another number.
With the right consulting company, you should feel that your managers genuinely care about you and your happiness – not just whether you’re getting the job done.
Jessie puts it this way: “I never feel like just another consultant in a list of people that Nordic has to place. When you feel valued professionally and personally, being happy at work comes easily.”
The right consulting company will check in with you to find out how you’re doing, not just how the project is going.
2. Your phone calls are always a priority.
We all know the feeling of giving someone a call and realizing that they’re too busy, tired, or stressed to want to talk to us. When you’re looking for a consulting company, prioritize the ones that seem delighted to talk with you. Your manager should never rush you off the phone without a good reason.
“I always feel like I can reach out to my practice managers to ask a question,” Jessie says. “I never feel like I’m bothering them.”
She says that while they usually focus on work in their regular meetings, she and her practice manager often spend some time catching up about life as well.
3. The contract is fair and reasonable – and they encourage you to read it in full.
Jessie says one of the lessons she learned early in her career, with another firm, was to always read the contract in full before you sign it. A good consulting firm will always encourage you to read the employment contract – and when you do, you should find it extremely fair to both the company and the consultant.
She also advises new consultants to be honest and upfront about what they want in a contract.
“Don’t be afraid to say exactly what’s important to you,” she says. “Don’t feel that you have to compromise.”
4. The people seem to really love each other.
One of the easiest ways to assess company culture is to hang around the home office for the afternoon – or stop by a company event (check out our New York City meet-up this August as an example). It’s hard to disguise the genuine affection and happiness that’s evident when you get together coworkers who truly like each other.
“I personally love the community feeling at Nordic,” Jessie says. “It’s extremely friendly and relaxed, but with a purpose. Everybody has fun, but does their job and does it well. I’ve never met a single person at Nordic and thought, ‘I wouldn’t want to work with them again.’”
5. You don’t have to repeat the things that are important to you.
When you’re presented with a client opportunity, it should match the priorities you’ve expressed, from your travel preferences to your minimum rate. Jessie says that Nordic has never presented an opportunity that didn’t match her preferences.
“I had one client that wanted me to work some non-traditional hours, and they needed to be aware of my family responsibilities,” Jessie says. “Nordic supported me and communicated my needs to the client, and there was never any animosity about it.”
Interested in learning more about consulting at Nordic?
The second photograph (middle right) of Jessie and her daughter was taken by Katie Gardner Photography. You can find Katie's work on her website.