Speak to a CONSULTINGSEARCHER expert +41 44 350 28 50

9 Essentials for Choosing a Consultant

How to select a consultant who is right for you and your business




The management consulting industry is highly fragmented with a variety of consulting firms, ranging from the “big three” global strategy-consulting firms to a large number of individual/independent consultants. Apart from the differences in size and scale, there exists a wide variety in the positioning and differentiation of the various consulting firms. There are firms that focus on a variety of issues in the same market such as the strategy-consulting firms, as there are firms that focus on a specific domain, such as information technology (IT). The good thing is: There are many choices for buyers of consulting services. The bad thing: The differentiation among consulting firms is so minimal. consultingsearcher and Cardea help clients find the right consultants.

Choosing the right consultant is essential for the successful completion of consulting projects, their outcomes and the return of consulting. Choosing the right consultant is not an easy task, however. First, it's necessary to know the consulting market and its suppliers: Who does what kind of work? How well known is the firm? How good is their reputation? According to a study by Hinge (How Buyers buy Management Consulting Services, 2013) only 7% of buyers of consulting services feel that they already know all the alternatives that they need to consider or rely on resources that approach them. Therefore, when building a long list of potential consulting firms, 91% of buyers of consulting services rely on the network of friends and colleagues. 27% of clients/ buyers of consulting services use online search to build a long list of consultants.Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or colleagues are still the most influental, and may be in fact important factors. But with tighter compliance regulations and increasing cost and quality awareness of client organizations, they're not sufficient. Using online search also has its difficulties: Information which is published in the web (e.g. a consultant's web site or a directory) is not always credible and accurate enough to provide reliable indication of the quality of a consulting firm and its services. Therefore, in most cases it is not only worth but required going through a complete selection process and systematically assessing the prospective consultants' skills and expertise.

Since its foundation in 1999, Cardea AG has been focused on optimizing the added value of employing consulting services for clients. By providing transparency in the consulting market, Cardea supports clients in making the right decisions when retaining external consulting services:

  • Unmatched insights into the global consulting market and access to best-in-class consultants
  • Highest and objective comparability and differentiation of performances, capabilities, expertise and skills of the consultants
  • Qualification and assessment of consulting firms not only on company level but also on the level of single experts and teams.


Our E-Book highlights 9 essentials for choosing a consultant and provides suggestions on how to select the right consultant.



Deciding on the right selection procedure and applying the right selection criteria are crucial when planning to hire a consultants. Learn more about how to proceed and which questions you have to answer in order to be able to assess a consultant's expertise, skills and proposal and the choose the consultant which is right for you and your business.

 Important criteria when selecting a consultant

There are some criteria companies regularly look for in all consulting projects:

  • A focus on and a commitment to real value creation for the client
  • The consultant’s special area of expertise and the consultant’s knowledge of the industry
  • An effective methodology for tackling the topic at hand
  • The consultant's references: proven experience dealing with similar problems
  • A track record with the company — or with a company comparable to the client's organization
  • A demonstrable capability to work with the organization
  • A team that engenders trust into getting the right solution.

consultingsearcher®: consultingsearcher® has been launched by Cardea and is the leading procurement portal for consulting services. It allows clients to search for and find consulting firms based on selected criteria like areas of expertise, industry knowledge, geographical market know-how and more. consultingsearcher® utilizes search and filter functionalities which ensure the skills-based matching of clients' requests and consultants' capabilities.