I am trying to fill in this sentence:

“My company is looking to ___ a consultant”.

Is the correct term “hire” or is there a different word that is more fitting when talking about a consultant?

  • 4
    "Hire" is fine. That's what people do when they ask me to edit a paper. They send me the paper, give me a deadline, and pay me for the work. Even temporary work warrants using "hire". Another word is "engage" (= "hire for job" [thesaurus.com]), but that's not particularly American English. "Employ" is a third, but "hire" is probably the most common.
    – user21497
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 15:29

4 Answers 4


Hire is appropriate for a consultant, or more generally for any kind of temporary worker. I’ve also heard “bring in/on a consultant” more than once, which sounds good to me—it conveys more of the “stop in for a few and help out” nature of consulting, I think.

  • 2
    "bring on"? I'm familiar with "bring in" but not bring on...
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 16:41
  • 1
    @Andrew: Bring in also works, and seems to be more common, actually. With on might be a thing pecular to the US, or my area of it.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 16:58
  • I agree with Andrew; for me "bring on" is akin to "bring aboard", implying longer-term employment than "bring in".
    – ruakh
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 1:34

Retain is a good word for this, often used in official contexts. Historically, it has been used to refer to the hiring of legal services. That historical context helps emphasise that a specific service has been paid for (rather than a person employed permanently) and that the term of service may be temporary, with a specific goal in mind.

  • This isn't quite as good, because in some contexts retain somebody means pay him a (comparatively small) fee not to do the work but to be available if he is needed. Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 21:57
  • @TimLymington That's a valid point. I'd look to make it clear in the surrounding context, or avoid using it if I couldn't.
    – itsbruce
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 10:44

I'm a consultant, and I tend to be engaged as one by my clients.


In the UK, we might be more inclined to appoint a consultant.

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