I have stopped spending days on putting together applications on contracts put out to tender where companies don’t consider the difference between a consultant and an applicant.
I can’t be the only person who finds a freelance / consultant contract advertised and thinks ‘That looks really exciting. I’d love to work on that and it fits my skills really well.’
I also can’t be the only person who clicks on the links to download the full brief and finds my heart sinking at the amount of work required just to apply.
Applying for work takes time. I have spent this time on summarising my work on my CV. I have nailed the art of the cover letter. I am pleased with my website. I have reams of testimonials from previous employers and clients who can testify to the relevance of my experience and my talent.
I am more than happy to spend time tailoring my application to highlight a specific skills set, or a specific outcome that I have achieved to show that I am the right person for the job.
I am not happy to spend two days doing the thinking for the company in question.
Application processes that demand I send a 3-page summary of my methodology of how I will approach the brief. Applications that state I need to give detailed outlines of exactly how I would structure the work. Application processes that request I show the outcomes of how my work will fit the tailored specification of the brief. Application processes that demand half the work is done in the unpaid application time.
It is time for companies and organisations who are putting work out to tender to be clear on what they would like delivered, and to have the confidence to assess the suitability of a candidate based on their CV, their letter to you and their portfolio. If based on this you would like to meet the candidate, it is reasonable to ask for a presentation or for a conversation to discuss approach.
If you are asking a consultant, or freelancer to create a toolkit, or training course, or research project based on your specific needs, then this has to be part of the agreed contract. The time it takes to research and tailor a scheme of work to you is no small thing. The best consultants will take the time to get to know you, to understand the impact the work needs to have and to ensure that the work delivered meets the targets. This is part of being a consultant to you, not an applicant.