You know the type. Been working 15 years at a "permanent" job and suddenly find themselves in an unexpected search. After dusting off the old resume, talking to headhunters and reading articles on how to use LinkedIn they are ready to start searching in earnest. Several weeks and hundreds of internet stories on what to do in an interview, what NOT to do in an interview, how to dress for an interview, how NOT to dress for an interview, what to say in an interview, what NOT to say in an interview... you get the picture. The frustration sets in. But alas, here comes big staffing agency ABC Solutions to the rescue with a "wonderful opportunity". "Have you ever considered consulting?" To that point, not really - but the bills are piling up and savings is disappearing. "Sure, what did you have in mind?"
ABC Solutions sets into motion a scenario where they convince XYZ Corporation that you really have a sincere interest in the temporary role of helping them integrate the Consolidated Lard acquisition. The Accidental Consultant also convinces them of their sincerity because in their mind "it's better than nothing". This scenario sometimes has a happy ending. The Accidental Consultant does a fine job in the temporary role and may even receive an offer of "permanent" employment. Everybody is happy. Now let's talk about a scenario that is far to common.
The Accidental Consultant takes the assignment and continues papering the street with resumes. Two months into the eight month assignment they receive an offer of "permanent" employment from another company. Who do you think is the big loser in this scenario? You guessed it - the unsuspecting client XYZ Corporation. They believed the Accidental Consultant who said they could commit to an eight month assignment. Now they are left to pick up the pieces - and in mission critical roles that isn't necessarily a place you want to go!
What's the moral of the story? Clients do your homework. There are consultants that do this work by choice and not out of desperation. Make sure you are getting a professional. The industry is full of large corporations in big glass buildings with 26 year old account reps desperate to make the monthly sales quota. Many times these corporations supply a resource that works out just fine - but all too often they send you the Accidental Consultant. Buyer (clients) beware!