Consulting Skills: What Clients are Looking For

With the consulting industry being as vast as it is, there are certain consulting skills that firms are always on the hunt for. Fortune 1000 execs, in particular, have a list of requirements when searching for a consultant to assist in eliminating their company's woes. Quite obviously, the knowledge and experience of each consultant will vary according to their area of expertise. However, while industry expertise will vary from one consultant to the next, there are certain skills that are sought after across the board.

It goes without saying that consultants must be intelligent and energetic enough to cope with high client expectations. Intensely busy travel schedules and tight deadlines are also part of the package.

Successful and sought-after consultants always display an eagerness for learning. Each new consulting assignment presents its own set of challenges, and therefore requires the consultant to be able to retain information. While consulting firms endeavour to screen heavily for intelligence and enthusiasm when hiring employees, the firms hiring these consultants on an individual basis tend to be even more thorough.

The following consulting skills require constant work during a consultant's career:

Communication Skills

Because consultants work in many different service areas across various industry sectors, they need to be able to communicate clearly, effectively, and persuasively. Consultants are responsible for collecting information from employees, obtaining client buy-ins,and  ensuring that proposed solutions are truly feasible.

People skills

It goes without saying that consultants often work in teams. Generally, they work closely with the client’s senior management team. Being personable, therefore, is an important skill that all consultants need to master. Of course, it isn't all about being agreeable. Consultants need to be assertive, displaying the ability to affect certain outcomes.

Quantitative Skills

Consultants need to be able to work with numbers and they need to be comfortable using popular programs like Excel. While it is true that some people are better at maths than others, it is entirely possible (if not completely necessary) for applicants to improve their maths skills through regular practice.

Analytical Skills

Collect and synthesizing large amounts of information are the very foundations of a consultant's career. Management consultants need to develop a hypothesis about their clients' problems in order to discover how best to procure relevant data and to analyze the data to uncover particular insights. They need to employ strong analytical skills to come up with pertinent recommendations.

Organisational Skills

Consulting assignments can seem chaotic due to their multifaceted and fast-paced nature. Consultants need to be able to juggle more than one of these demanding assignments at one time. Strong organisational skills are an absolute must.

Initiative

The ability to take action when necessary and to ask for help when issues arise is of the utmost importance in a consultant's career. Consultants need to be intuitive enough to know when to show initiative and when to take a graceful step back.