Are you in the market for a new consulting firm? Choosing the right firm is a tricky decision, because every company’s needs are different. You need to know how to identify the best consultant for you, keeping in mind that it’s not one size fits all. Here are five tips for hiring a good consulting firm.

Know Thyself

Since there are so many variables in choosing the right consultant to suit your company’s needs, you should walk before you try to run. Identify your goals in seeking consultation. Most likely, you want to secure the stability of your company, grow your staff, introduce new objectives for current staff, and chart a direction that guarantees sustainable growth for the foreseeable future.

The above options are general guidelines. You’ll have specific criteria that make your business unique. Craft a list of your current needs as well as anticipated ones for the coming years. Then, identify which consulting firm fits the best with your specific needs.

Define Terms

What you want is all that matters in the discussion. As you vet potential consultants, discuss what your expectations are in terms of budget, communication, and flexibility.

Only hire someone whose quotes are within your budget, allowing a buffer of 25 percent for overhead. State the type of communication you want, whether you prefer face-to-face settings, emails, or even Skype conversations. Finally, explicitly notify the consulting firm of how much flexibility there is with the timeline.

Consider Scale

How large is your company? How large do you want your consulting firm to be? In order to meet your needs, you should determine what size of company with which you’d like to work. Some consulting firms are actually just a couple of people sharing office space. Such enterprises are lean and responsive for the most part. They can offer a level of personalization that larger firms can’t match.

The primary drawback of smaller firms is that they offer fewer man-hours due to their structure, so they tend to book their available resources quickly. If they’re working with another customer, their response time may fall short of your expectations.

Contrast that sort of consultant behavior with that of a larger firm. The largest ones are generally referenced as the Big Four. These mega-firms consist of Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG. They possess a wealth of resources that can satisfy your company’s needs; however, the drawback is that your company is unlikely to matter as much to a mega-firm, since your revenue may be statistically insignificant to their big picture. If you do garner respect and a personal touch, consider it a serendipitous bonus, but you choose a mega-firm for their experience and man-power rather than a close partnership.

For most companies, the best options are middle-tier firms, which are large enough to satisfy your needs while still prioritizing the personal touch. A consulting firm will leverage a wealth of resources to accommodate all your needs while making you feel appreciated as a customer.

Seek Specificity

During the vetting process, pay attention to which firms speak in generalities and take it as a warning sign. Less-reliable consultants use tricks of the trade to create plausible deniability if their work is lackluster. They use buzzwords and industry terms rather than speaking specifically to your needs. By acting as if the consulting requests are vague or there is confusion about terminology, such unreliable professionals make excuses while taking your money.

Any consultant who seeks specificity is demonstrating pride in their work as well as dedication to fulfilling your needs. Candidates who take notes and ask detailed questions about current tasks and future goals plan to participate indefinitely. They’re in it for the long haul, and they want to increase the odds that they satisfy all job assignments.

Finding the right consulting agency is not difficult. You simply need to figure out what your business is lacking, and then choose the consultant whose services best satisfy those needs.