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Three Mistakes to Avoid when Hiring a Training Company


shaking handsIf you’ve ever hired the wrong training company – or for that matter, the wrong supplier, accounting firm or any other business partner – chances are you can look back and pinpoint just how you made the wrong hiring decision.

It’s helpful to understand past mistakes, but far more useful to avoid making similar missteps in the future. To help you avoid doing that, we’d like to explain some pitfalls to avoid when hiring a training development company.

Mistake #1: You’re tempted to hire a training company you’ve used in the past, even though they’re not the best choice this time

If you found a training company easy to work with before and you liked the people there, it can be tempting to use them again without looking for a company with the experience to design and deliver the training you need now. But remember this simple formula:

Great People + Proven Expertise = A Great Training Hire

If proven expertise isn’t there, it doesn’t matter how nice the people are.

Mistake #2: You’re in such a hurry that you don’t check references carefully

Under time pressure, it can be tempting to say, “You look good to me . . . you’re hired.” But you can avoid costly and time-wasting mistakes if you take these simple steps . . .

  • Dig deeper for direct references. After a training company representative describes its work for other companies, ask, “Who were the people you worked with there?” Then call those references directly and check what you were told. Did the training company’s rep accurately describe what happened there? Were the results as good described? Were there problems that he or she did not mention?
  • After a training company rep has made a pitch and described past work, ask for the dates when the training projects were completed. If the rep cannot provide specific dates or admits that the work was completed six, eight or more years ago, be sure to ask about more recent activities.

Mistake #3: You cave in to pressure to hire a firm that a top executive in your company likes 

Keep an open mind, of course. It could be that the training company your CEO is pushing for really would do a terrific job. But if you conduct some due diligence and determine that a different company would be better, be ready to point out why, offer point-by-point comparisons, stand your ground if necessary, and urge your company to make the best decision. In the end, results count.

Note: A similar issue can arise when your company hires an executive from another company who wants to bring in training consultants he or she has used in the past. It can also happen when a member of your company’s board – or a friend of your company’s president – wants you to use a favorite training company.

Good Hiring Decisions Sometimes Take Time . . .

It’s not always comfortable to tell your company leaders or your training director that you need more time to conduct the due diligence to find the best training development company for your current needs. But if you stick to your guns and establish a track record of hiring the right business partners, your value as a training manager can only rise.