What Does a Personnel Consultant Do?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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A personnel consultant, also known as a human resources (HR) consultant, can be hired to provide expert advice and assistance with a variety of staffing issues. An employer can hire this type of consultant to provide help with recruiting, selection, hiring or training of new staff. He can also help design compensation standards and benefits packages, manage the employee grievance process or setup an information management system. Basically, a personnel consultant can be hired to work on all of these issues generally or can be retained to support a specific HR process.

Personnel management is the process of organizing a company's staff and involves a wide range of issues, from legal concerns to grievance procedures. As a company grows, its staffing needs become more complex and typically go beyond what business owners can effectively manage on an ad hoc basis. When employee numbers reach a certain level, a company must often retain dedicated help to manage the HR process. Businesses have the choice of hiring permanent HR staff or outsourcing all or part of the work to a personnel consultant.


Consultants in the HR industry can be hired in different capacities. One of the more frequent engagements for a personnel consultant is as an employee of a staffing agency. Client companies hire this sort of agency to manage the process of recruiting and screening new permanent or temporary employees. In this context, a personnel consultant would be responsible for organizing the recruiting effort through activities such as cold calling to find interest candidates and recruiting from job search websites and job fairs. He would then screen and test eligible candidates and match them with openings at client companies.

The HR consultant can also be hired as a management advisor on a macro level. Instead of working on a single aspect of HR, the consultant can be contracted to assess the condition of the company's HR policies and procedures and to work to develop a new staffing plan that addresses any outstanding issues, such as unmotivated staff or an out of balance compensation structure. Another way a company can employ this sort of generalist strategy is to outsource the entire HR operation to a personnel consultant. In this case, the consultant could be operating externally from the consultant's own offices or internally at the client's worksite.

Occasionally, a company will hire a consultant for a specific HR project. For example, a consultant can be hired specifically to staff a new work location or design the company's first policies and procedures manual. Once the project is complete, the personnel consultant typically moves on to another client.



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