Would You Make a Good Interim Manager?

Written by Lucy Bielby on Feb. 28, 2019

So, do you think that you could you make a good Interim Manager? 

Making a career change is a big decision for anybody and one that takes much thought, reflection and often debate with loved ones. Therefore, following on from the blog - Are you are thinking of becoming an Interim? I wanted to reflect on what is a life changing decision and propose some key areas to consider when debating whether the move into Interim Management is the right one for you. 

Whilst Interim Management can be incredibly rewarding giving the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects whist earning what can be a lucrative day rate, it is also within a challenging environment. 

So, before pursuing your first interim project, ask yourself these questions: 
1. Do you have a strong CV which demonstrates good depth and breadth of experience across a number of different job roles? 

Clients are typically looking for experienced senior leaders who are often 'over qualified' for the assignment/project they are looking to fill. Interim Managers are paid a premium over a permanent employee and clients expect interim's to have deep knowledge of the specialised skill sets they require, alongside being able to work autonomously with little guidance. 

2. Are you mentally fit enough to start a new project every six months? 

Being an interim can be stressful. As an Interim Manager you are working to short notice periods, which means you need to be willing to work hard and continually outperform your peer group. Being thrown into a new environment and building relationships with a new set of people every 6 to 9 months can be physically and mentally tiring, so you need to be confident that you can manage the challenge of the interim lifestyle. 

3. Are you financially secure enough to survive some bumps? 

Whilst some Interim Managers complete and start new projects in quick succession, for the bulk of Interim Managers there may be a gap between assignments which can be anything from a couple of weeks to months. You need to make sure you are financially stable enough to accommodate this and that this will not put too much pressure on your personal life. 

4. How do you interview? 

The selection process for interim assignments is much shorter and sharper than the corporate recruitment process. You must be able to sell yourself quickly and confidently, being able to talk through your experience, deliverables, your return and ultimately building rapport. Some interview processes may only be a one stage process and you need to be able to sell yourself and why you are the right person for the assignment. 

5. Are you able to swiftly adapt to a new environment and quickly gain support? 

Clients expect Interim Managers to hit the ground running, with little orientation or induction. This is one of the reasons why clients typically will look to recruit an interim manager with relevant sector experience. You will also need to be able to quickly build relationships with key stakeholders within the business to ensure your project has the best chance of success. 

6. Do you have good networking skills and a strong network? 

You will need good networking skills to secure opportunities, as many interims obtain opportunities through the strength of their network. Having personal relationships with a range of senior leaders will increase the chances of getting put forward for a relevant assignment. You will also need to build key working relationships with Interim Management providers who are likely to be the other source. 

7. Are you happy to live out of a suitcase when necessary? 

In many instances, a true Interim will go where the work is and projects may frequently be too far from your home location to allow you to commute daily. As a result, you may be required to stay at away from home during the week. Is this something that you are able and willing to do? It is not essential but if you have a specialist skillset then it may create more assignments for you. 

8. Is your CV formatted in a way that it shows the reader quickly and clearly what you can do? 

In a competitive marketplace your CV needs to stand out from the crowd, firstly if it is going to be screened by an Interim Management provider, and secondly if there is a chance of our securing an interview with the client. It is a balance between having war and peace and it just being a bland statement-based document. Think about why the client may be hiring you and where they will see a return-on-investment (ROI) from hiring you. I often find that they can be made more interesting by adding some simple tangibles. 

So, would you make a good Interim Manager? If your answer to all the questions above is a 'yes!' then the interim management lifestyle could be a good fit for you. 

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