How not to hire an IT consultant

7 pitfalls to avoid

There are many good reasons for hiring IT consultants for critical tasks or projects, but at the same time, it can introduce new legal risks to a company. To minimize the risks, make sure you don't step into the following seven pitfalls, warns Michael Chrusch, senior vice president and general counsel for Signature Consultants.

First, make sure there is no ambiguity surrounding a new hire's employment status, Chrusch says in an article by Rich Hein at CIO magazine. Are your new hires employees or are they independent contractors? There are obvious tax implications for this question and less obvious questions about the degree of control and independence a new hire enjoys.

Second, don't leave your intellectual property vulnerable by failing to include IP protection language in the contract.

Third, don't skip the hiring interview and vetting process just because a consultant isn't going to be a permanent employee.

Fourth, be sure that you understand the consultant's methods.

Fifth, leave no rocks unturned in the contract. Spell out costs, hours, deadlines, deliverables and responsibility for outside expenses in clear language.

Sixth, don't let your confidential data slip into the hands of a competitor via a consultant. Use confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements.

Seventh, fail to keep the end game in mind and you could have your consultant around forever. Find out if the consultant is going to train your staff to take over after the project is complete.

For more:
- see Rich Hein's article at CIO

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