Considered pursuing a career as a Consultant? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.
I work as a Human Resources and Diversity consultant at a private firm that specializes in providing full-spectrum consultation services in the restaurant and hospitality industry. I have held my current job for approximately a year and a half. I have worked in the HR sector of this industry for seven years.
My primary job duty is to assist restaurant and hospitality businesses that are making significant changes to their hiring and employee relations practices. As I am bilingual and have experience living and working in Latin America, I am primarily deployed to assist human resources departments who struggle with hiring or retaining a diverse staff. I evaluate current hiring and employee relations practices and create step-by-step plans for change. I often oversee the implementation of such plans, as well.
I've run into many individuals who believe that I simply manage or oversee some sort of affirmative action quota. This is probably the biggest misconception the general public has about diversity consultants. I do analyze the ethnic make-up of client workforces. However, this information is primarily used to help my clients understand how to handle employee issues. It can also be very helpful in designing training programs for new employees.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate my satisfaction with my job at seven. While I enjoy the support of my supervisors, I am sometimes sent into situations for which I do not have the necessary skills or training. I feel I could be more satisfied in my position if my boss explained to clients what I can and cannot help them with. Avoiding misunderstandings with clients would definitely make my job less stressful. I do gain a lot of personal satisfaction from what I do. I am often able to make a positive impact on the lives of both human resources managers and hourly employees, which is very fulfilling.
I often feel fortunate, as becoming involved in this line of work was somewhat of a fluke. I graduated from college with a degree in sociology. I was having a difficult time finding a full-time office job, so I continued waitressing at the restaurant I'd worked at throughout college. A position opened up in the human resources department at the restaurant's corporate office. I applied and was hired. I developed a real passion for the industry. The company I worked for was bought out, so I moved into consulting through connections I had made at my job. I wouldn't change anything about my path to this position. All the experiences I have had in the industry have proved useful in my work as a consultant.
I took a few business courses in college. The professors always said that connections would make or break you, no matter your industry. They never talked about how one actually makes the necessary connections, though. Over time, I've learned that maintaining connections is a lot more important than simply making them. When I meet someone at an industry event who piques my interest, I drop them an email or note to let them know that I'd love to work with them. This is undoubtedly the most valuable thing I've learned about working in the real world.
Some of my colleagues find consultation to be a very stressful line of work. While I occasionally feel pressure, I try to maintain an even head. My clients don't always understand why they need the assistance of a consultant, especially if the decision to hire my firm was made without their knowledge or input. The hardest part of my job is winning over such individuals. I tell them about my personal experience working in a restaurant HR department. I share my successes and failures in that position with them, so that they understand that I simply want to make their job easier.
I am fortunate to receive a very generous benefits and vacation package. I take three weeks of paid vacation per year and am slated to receive an additional week for every five years I work with the firm. As an entry-level consultant, I make roughly $50,000 per year. I've chatted with other consultants in this industry, and have discovered that salaries can vary quite a bit depending upon prior experience and geographic location. Most consultants in this industry can also earn annual bonuses.
A number of my friends would love to get into this line of work. I feel fortunate to have been hired as a consultant without a degree in human resources. I generally advise my friends to pursue training in HR and to secure a position in an HR department in an industry that interests them. This is a great stepping-stone into consulting work. I would definitely recommend that anyone considering this type of employment complete courses in social psychology and organizational behavior. A basic understanding of these fields often gets me through the day.
This is a true career story as told to DiversityJobs and is one of many interviews with human resources professionals and event planners, among other careers.