Category Archives: Resourcing

Why in the World should I Hire a Consultant?

Contributed by Alyanna Espina, Recruitment Manager Amick Brown

We are often asked why companies would hire outside consultants, when they could likely solve their business requirements on their own. After all, they have employees in house, which is more convenient for the company to get things going on solving their problem or starting on their new project. Not only that, these employees already know the company inside and out. Why would they waste their time bringing in an outsider and have them go through onboarding, training, and acclimating them to the culture of the company. Yes, at first look these may all seem like valid points to not hire consultants. However, there are many great reasons why companies hire consultants rather than employees.

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Here are some of the reason why companies hire consultants instead of employees:

  1. They want someone with a broader perspective

Often times, companies or clients already have an idea on how to solve the problem they are facing, but they want to make sure that the solution they have in mind is legitimate. Sometimes, they may be close to the answer, but may be missing out due to being too close to the problem. So, they turn to consultants for their expertise because they may have already worked through a similar problem in the past with someone else. The consultant can also give insight on what they have seen work (and not work)  with prior clients. With this experience, they can bring new and innovative ideas, or possible challenges to the table. Consultants bring in a new frame of reference for the company, and helps get rid of the mentality of “things are always done this way” attitude in organizations. In doing so, solving problems or getting projects done on time become more effective.

2. They need more manpower temporarily

Companies have important problems that need solving, but they don’t necessarily have the employee breadth to focus on them. It makes it difficult, since the companies still have to focus on their everyday operations and new projects usually require reprioritizing employees’ core job responsibilities. However, hiring new employees to fill in these gaps may not always work out considering most of these projects do not last very long or may not happen at all. Despite, having employees in house, companies might have difficulties getting the teams organized to do this critical work.

In these situations, consultants come in to serve as temporary, highly skilled employees. Since, they are not full-time employees of the company, it is often cheaper to use consultants than to hire new employees. Consultants are used to switching around companies, creating a very fast learning curve. Also, companies do not have to take their own employees away from their actual day-to-day jobs. It’s a win-win situation all around!

3. They need specific skills that they do not currently have

Another reason why companies hire consultants is to acquire specific skill set that might not be easily available in house. Working with firms who have access to these highly skilled professionals may be more efficient for your company.  With constant innovation in the tech world, keeping your staff 100% state-of-the-art is nearly impossible. Luckily, consultants make it possible for companies to bring in the skill set they demand whenever they need it, since staffing firms make it their business to keep consultants trained and ready for every situation.

4. Sometimes, it is better to have a mediator/ nonpartisan influence

When companies run into a challenging problem, it can be troublesome for them to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting caught up in emotions or politics. In order to alleviate the situation, companies bring in consultants to provide unbiased solutions to the problem. Consultants are then able to come in and ensure that the problem is being handled by an external party that is both experienced and removed from any controversies. Moreover, consultants can also serve as back-up or affirmation for a client who is attempting to carry out a new idea that might not be well-received within an organization, without any risk to their career.


There are many, many more reasons why companies hire consultants/contractors. I have only touched on a few and would love to hear your must unique reason for hiring a contractor !

With the advent of culture matching and executive oversight for every project, the reward will outweigh the risk.  Save the high dollar value of advertising, screening, interviewing, and hiring an employee by meeting requirements with consultants.

Five Tips for New Recruiters

By Alyanna Espina,  Business Development at Amick Brown

When my bosses told me that I was getting trained to become a Recruiter, my heart started racing and the feeling of panic started to sink in. All these questions were floating in my head, where do I begin? Is there a cheat sheet to becoming a recruiter? How do I learn about all of this technology? I have to talk to strangers? In other words, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into or what I was going to do.

Moving forward a year later, I found that recruiting is not as difficult as it seemed to be, it’s actually enjoyable. If you are willing to learn and are ready to put in the hard work, then you are on your way to becoming a successful recruiter. Yes, it is challenging at first because you are talking to complete strangers and trying to convince them about the job offer you have. But, it’s all worth it in the end knowing that you are actually making a difference in someone’s life.

In the IT industry, finding the right fit candidate is one of the biggest hurdles when recruiting in this specific field. There are tons of positions available, but not a large enough pool of candidates to choose from. This goes against the norm of our society in which finding the right kind of job is also an issue for people outside of the IT world. Regardless, getting that call from a recruiter is just exactly what you are waiting for. There are recruiters out there who truly enjoy their work and there are others who are doing it for the paycheck. Needless to say, we can all tell the difference between the two.  Of course, it is true, that the job provides a huge opportunity to earn a good amount of incentive when your candidates gets placed, but you have to work really hard to get to that point. If you have sales skills and can provide excellent customer service, then that is something you can apply to recruiting. Who knows that may even earn you a spot at the top one of these days. Perhaps, you may even own a recruiting business in the future.

Here are five pointers that will help you, if you are just starting out as a recruiter.

  1. It’s basically match making – you take the requirement that the job position has and match it with the qualifications of the candidate. If it doesn’t match, let them know that you will contact them when there is a more suitable job offer that matches their skills.
  2. Time management and organization is a must – When you are recruiting for a job, it is very important to manage everything that needs to be done within the stipulated time period. Not only that, you must have everything organized, documents, contact information, etc. You are most likely going to be working with people in different time zones. So, you must be mindful of their time when you set up a call. It helps to be prepared, that’s when organization comes in.
  3. There is no “I” in TEAM – you will have to be a team member all throughout the entire process. As a recruiter, you are not only working with your immediate co-workers, you are also working with numbers of people out there. It could be your clients’, candidates’ employers or the candidates themselves. Different people, mean different styles and personalities. So, having the ability to work in a team will make your job easier.
  4. Communication is key – I can’t emphasize enough how important communication is in the recruiting world. So many things can go wrong, if you don’t hone in on your communication skills. Heck, it may even be the reason why you lose a candidate to the next recruiter. Having the right communication skills is the key to building a relationship with others in the market. It is by far one of the most important factors in business of any kind, in this case, recruiting.
  5. Be tech savvy – there are many aspects of recruiting that requires you to use technology. Therefore, it is important that you know how to make use of computer technology. There are job boards, database systems, and networking tools that you will have to use when recruiting. So, if you aren’t tech savvy, then it will be difficult for you to keep up with the job requirements.

I’ve only listed out 5 pointers, but there are far more beyond than what I have written. Some skills are meant to be learned as you get yourself situated in your recruiting position. No matter how much research or studying we do for a position, nothing beats learning from doing the actual job. Keep in mind that staying positive and working hard has no alternatives, there’s no shortcut to get to the top.

Is Bench Strength a Valid Differentiator ?

By Karen Gildea , Managing Partner, Amick Brown

Just over five years ago, with four of my long-time colleagues, we started an IT consulting firm specializing in SAP and Business Intelligence.  Together we had led teams that designed and built an integrated BI solution for AT&T’s SAP implementation before being outsourced to a large consulting firm.  Over a 10 year period, we had developed and supported a system that served and was secured to hundreds of thousands of people.  This was no easy task and we learned a great deal along the way as building anything that serves a population that large with the varying security and usability requirements that go with it requires an enormous effort on many levels.  We knew and still know….that we have unique experience that other companies implementing large SAP BI solutions would benefit from.

So we left the large consulting firm and created Amick Brown – a certified small business, woman-owned business and minority-owned business.

We decided we would try to expand our business in the government sector.  The government has small business programs and set-asides for small business.  It is a lot of work to respond to a Request for Proposal with the government, but each time we respond we get better at representing what we have done and what we can do.  We are achieving success, but we are still sometimes questioned about our “bench strength” – in other words, the number of consultants we have employed. 

Because we have been the big company client and we have also been one of the big box resource providers as well, we have a perspective on bench strength that some others may not.

While many big companies or government agencies may feel that bench strength is an indicator of a company’s ability to provide resources when needed, what they really need to know is – can a company provide the specific expertise needed for their unique situation.  In order to truly gain the outcome desired from any new project, the specific expertise or experience of each consultant should be the focus. 

All consulting firms, big and small respond to the unique requirements of a company or agency similarly.  They determine the specific expertise and experience that is required, they look at their available resource pool to determine if that expertise is there and available, and if not they begin their search for that expertise in the market.  The resource pools of big and small consulting firms alike are also very similar in makeup – the respective pools invariably contain partner consultants as well as employees.

So – is bench strength really meaningful?  I say no.  A firm’s ability to evaluate and understand the project requirements and challenges, determine the expertise and experience required and then to identify the most qualified candidates to successfully respond is key.  As well, the firm should be vested in the long term success of their client.

A question we often get is “is your consultant an employee”?  Again I believe the question should be – who is the best candidate for the position?  We have found that the very best and most experienced consultants may be interested in coming on board to work on a project, but aren’t necessarily interested in changing “employment”.

There are numerous reasons why a consultant may not want or be able to be hired as an employee. Perhaps they are tied to their current company through an H1B visa, or personal relationship. It may be due to wanting the freedom to grow at the pace which they prefer.  It might even be about not wanting to lose accrued vacation at their current company.  If all federal and state requirements regarding payroll and payroll taxes are being adhered to, and if insurance and contracts are in place – does it really matter?

For every engagement, we assemble a team of the best experts with the most relevant experience for the unique requirements presented.  We hire consultants as permanent employees when it makes sense for all and subcontract when it does not.  Regardless of employee or subcontractor designation, the placement is done only after thorough cultural matching and a vested commitment to long term success.

Over the past 15+ years, we have worked with  many consultants and small business consulting companies.  We continue our relationships with only the best and through those relationships we are introduced to others of the same caliber.  For each consulting partner we ensure agreements are in place, insurance verified, and background checks done, and for those we are new to, full due diligence is completed. We work with only the verified best consultants and have developed long standing relationships for the ongoing success of all.  We provide a team that can rival any big box organization.

A consolidated bench of consultants with the specific expertise required is what will provide a successful project team – regardless of where the individual consultants come from.

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The reality is that the big box firms call smaller consulting firms on a regular basis to provide the expertise they need for their client projects.

After all, it really is all about gathering the best people to tackle the project.

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How can Employers Increase Employee Engagement?

By Jenna Rosdahl, Human Resources Manager at Amick Brown

When you think employee engagement, you probably think of employees who are involved, committed to the organization and satisfied. But what many people don’t understand is what employers can do to create employee engagement and maintain it companywide. Below are four key drivers that can be utilized to create, increase and maintain employee engagement which can positively influence both individual and business level performance.

Meaningful Work

In order for employees to be engaged, the work performed must be meaningful. This can be accomplished by creating a connection between work and organizational strategy. This shows employees how important their jobs are to the success of the organization. Employees want to feel that the work performed is valued and can open up doors for more opportunities.  Opportunities for career development are extremely important to keep employees involved and headed in the right direction. Managers play an important role here because they are in direct contact with employees on a daily basis and are able to accurately evaluate employee potential. They should take time to ensure employees enjoy their work and help to keep employees on the right path to success.


It is essential for employees to have trust and confidence in their leadership. Leadership should demonstrate honesty and integrity while encouraging employees to be successful. This can be done by creating a good reputation within the organization, demonstrating passion to succeed and building a relationship with employees based on trust. Without that, it is likely that employee engagement will not exist. When employees feel the support of leadership and are provided the tools necessary to be successful, the potential for employee engagement is vast.


It is human nature to enjoy being recognized and rewarded, especially in one’s career. One way to increase employee engagement is by having management and employees work together on setting goals and by management providing the necessary tools to meet the goals. Then management must recognize and reward those individuals who reach their goals. Regardless of how large or small the goal is, it is beneficial for management to give positive and constructive feedback and offer praise and rewards of work well done because it motivates employees to stay engaged and keep succeeding.


All great relationships are built on communication, and the employee employer relationship is no different. One way to increase employee engagement is to communicate in a timely and orderly manner. This means discussing issues when they arise, communicating respectfully and listening to one another. Employers and employees should provide constant feedback, clarify expectations and promote open communication. This communication will result in employees feeling respected and valued which will increase employee engagement.

Having strong employee engagement companywide is crucial and can prove to be extremely beneficial for both the employer and the employee.  It is a good idea to keep these drivers in mind when planning your employee engagement strategy.