Why it's hard to find the right expert
Finding the right person to help your business succeed is tough, especially if you need someone with an external opinion, for a short period of time. In fact, finding an expert who is able to help you can be challenging, not the mention the best one!
There are countless barriers that come into play:
Realistically, how much time can you afford to devote to the search for the right expert? This is obviously influenced by many factors such as the importance of the issue you need help with, the urgency of the matter, your organization size and decision making policies, as well as other priorities you have on your plate. Taking enough time to find and evaluate your options is crucial.
Limited knowledge of where to search for and how to contact experts
Even if you had all the time and willingness in the world to find the more amazing person to help your business, if you do not know where to look, you will never succeed. To catch some fish, you need to know the good fishing spots!
Searching online, through your local directories or networking events, or asking your contacts for introductions could all be good strategies, depending on your situation and what exactly you are looking for. Be aware of who you ask for an introduction, and which events you decide to go through, to make sure you do not waste time with people who are not relevant to the problem at hand.
Our globally connected world is growing smaller and allowing us to work across borders more and more seamlessly. However, nothing is ever perfect, and physical location of service providers does matter for some projects.
Let's say you found someone who could be helpful for your business online. Your project could fall in the category where their physical location is irrelevant as long as they are competent and experienced - lucky you! On the other hand, you might need (or prefer) that the expert you choose works closely with you and meets with your executive team on a regular basis, in which case location is another factor you need to consider.
Projects and organizations are shaped and restricted by budgets. Depending on what you are willing to spend on an external advisor, you will have different sets of options. Your company's financial situation, the type and complexity of the project, as well as the skills and experience of the expert will affect your choices.
Even if you find the expert you need and happy to work with, they may or may not be available when you need their services. They may have too many projects on their agenda already, or not wanting to take on any new clients, for example.
Their presentation of their skills
Independent professionals need to accurately understand and clearly present their skillset. Diluting or overselling one's real abilities is not uncommon, however. Especially in virtual spaces such as online marketplaces, it is perfectly plausible that an expert's experience or past results are exaggerated to improve their profile.
It can be difficult to see through such distortions and gauge an individual's real skills, especially in a field unfamiliar to yourself.
Your ability to assess their skills
Furthermore, your own understanding of what skills are required for your business and your ability to differentiate between individuals' expertise may be incomplete, skewed, or biased without you even knowing! If there is a number of people making the hiring decision, there are bound to be differences in opinion and disagreements.
Automating expert matching
Hiring a temporary contractor for a project is similar to hiring a permanent employee, but using less resources - less time, less money, and less experienced personnel. The employee hiring processes used in most of the world are inefficient and ineffective for 21st century organizations and professionals. As you can imagine, the freelancer hiring process is even more undesirable.
This lack of resources and knowhow is what sparked the emergence of freelancer placement sites and online marketplaces. These sites at least tackle the problems associated with not having enough choice - not knowing where to find independent experts, limited availability of experts - and allows businesses to filter professionals according to what is important to them - price, location, previous experience, etc.
However, humans are indecisive creatures, and giving more choice does not necessarily mean that people will better match their business needs to the relevant expert. No matter how sophisticated and bulletproof your selection method may be, biases and human error play a role in the decision.
Automating the matching process seems like the natural solution to eliminate any human tendencies. However, an automated process must be designed in a way that would take into account not only the cold hard facts, but also the human qualities. On a sidenote, this is partly what makes human resource recruitment automation so challenging.
At 2PS, we believe that qualities like honesty, humility, and a collaborative attitude differentiate a wonderful consultant from an average one. Our algorithms as designed to assess these behaviors continuously and only suggest to you the top-ranking consultants.
Humanizing the matching
At the end of the day, however, the most important factor in your relationship with an external expert is trust. After all the necessary boxes have been ticked, the the trustworthiness of the expert is the deciding factor.
How to ensure that you can trust the expert you are matched with? Unfortunately, there is no shortcut solution - it's about getting to know the individual, understanding their motivations, and aligning visions.
Alternatively, you could ask someone you already trust if they know someone. If one professional is working with you already, you could ask them to refer you someone who specializes in a different field. The problem is that usually, this person does not have a very strong incentive to find you someone exceptional from their network.
In contrast, 2PS professionals do have that incentive. When a 2PS consultant refers other experts to their client, they earn points to increase their ranking, for every hour the referred consultant bills with the client. This ensures that the consultant you already trust refers other relevant and trustworthy experts to you, because it is in their best interest for your organization to succeed.