How to Find an Expert

Shawnee Love   •   August 2, 2019

Everyone in a leadership role has hit a place when they need insight to an area outside of their experience or comfort zone.  This blog hopes to point you in the right direction about how to find an expert.

I think this topic is worth a blog, because 30% of people admit to lying about their level of experience and knowledge in resumes and bios.  Those who admit to lying indicate they overstate experience and contributions, length of time involved in an organization or project, responsibilities, job titles and even credentials.  That being the case, how can you be confident who is qualified to guide you through a challenge?

The suggestions we have for validating expertise include:

  1. In the case of designated professionals, contact the relevant professional association to confirm the person is active and in good standing.
  2. Consider sourcing a designated professional via their association.  Associations often have their member lists searchable and available to the public.  E.g., CPA – Canada, CMC – Canada, and International Coaching Federation (ICF).
  3. Ask the expert in question for proof of his or her educational background.  (Hint just reviewing the framed  certificate(s) and/or degree(s) on their office walls is a start, but wouldn’t uncover a more unscrupulous faker.)
  4. Obtain referrals from trusted advisors and mentors who understand your situation.  While not a guarantee of expert status, at least you know you are getting someone who can do the work.
  5. Call references.  There is nothing wrong with asking your expert of choice to provide references of their work.
  6. Ask for work samples.

Whatever you do, don’t just trust Linked In or Facebook profiles, because those aren’t vetted by anyone. Even recommendations online can’t be considered 100% reliable unless you know the referee to be a trusted source, because too many people obtain recommendations with an “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” approach.

Any other ideas on how to ensure your expert is truly deserving of the title, please comment!