Is there anything more frustrating than having to hold the hand of someone you thought was qualified to take off running with a project on their own? If you’ve chosen to outsource a project or venture, it’s because you want someone else to take over a lot of the responsibility and burden of creativity. It could greatly benefit your team to inquire about a bidder’s motivation and ask how they intend to think critically about your project.
One thing you should not expect from a bidder is that they have your entire project planned out in their response to your RFP. Until you’re paying someone for their work, they have no obligation to produce plans or products for you. This question is more of an interview-style inquiry, meant to pick their brain for general abilities and willingness to go beyond the standard “here’s my resume” response.
What qualifies you for work in this industry, for my company?
Before sending an RFP to an agency, you should already be fairly certain they’re qualified to complete your project. This question isn’t you asking them to show you a certificate or their master’s degrees; they don’t need to prove themselves to you as professionals.
Moreso, you want to be sure they understand the kind of project you’re tasking them with and be sure they’re a good fit for your culture and expectations. A bidder can have all the accolades in the world and still not truly “get” what you’re asking from them because of a difference in vision or personality.
Just like interviewing a job candidate, the winning agency or organization should be a good culture fit. Ask about their strategies or their philosophies on design (if your project is design-centric) and other questions that center around how they will positively work with you.
Which employees or team members would you task with helping me on this project?
Everyone knows that oftentimes, projects are about the people. Who you have on your side could make or break the project. Feel free to ask in your RFP who would be handling your requirements and affecting your goals.