Korina Karampela talks to the resourcing manager of PiR Resourcing Emma Dorman about what makes an interim manager successful.
- More people are choosing interim positions lately. Is it a sign of economic recession or a lifestyle choice?
It is most likely a combination of the recession, the desire to try something new and challenging, and people attempting to create a better work-life balance for themselves. In recent times, the economic recession has resulted in a large number of redundancies across a wide range of sectors. Interim management can be used as a stop gap for people who need a little more time to think about what they really want to do in the next stage of their career. Other people crave the variety that interim management can offer, or indeed the potential for part-time working, and others simply prefer being self-employed and keeping their distance from corporate politics.
- What is the most common misconception about interim positions?
Some people tend to assume that interim management is just a stop gap for those unable to find a permanent role. Many do not realize that interim management can also be a career choice and that a number of interims are self-employed with their own company.
- Describe the profile of a successful interim manager.
A successful interim manager will have a great deal of knowledge and experience under their belt and possess outstanding project management capabilities. They will demonstrate excellent communication and interpersonal skills; in this profession you will consistently find yourself in new companies and teams, and working with all sorts of personalities. As such, it is essential to understand how to fit in with these variables. You will be confident in your ability, leverage you network as much as possible, and invest time in self-marketing.
- How can interim positions impact your resume and your long-term career?
Generally speaking I think experience in interim management has a positive impact on both. Interim management requires aptitude, expertise and focus, and employers admire these traits. It also provides the opportunity to develop new skills and learn about how other organisations operate which can offer valuable insight to potential employers. The only concern I have been faced with is whether an interim will be satisfied in a permanent role after being self-employed. The challenge usually faces those coming out of a permanent position looking to break into their first interim assignment, as they must justify that they have the capability to succeed without prior experience in an interim role.
- What are the 3 ‘Dos’ and 3 ‘Don’ts’ that Interim Candidates need to be aware of?
The three Dos:
- DO make sure you are financially stable before embarking on the interim career path as there are likely to be times when you are out of work and looking for a new assignment.
- DO keep in touch with recruitment agencies. They always have useful advice and market intelligence to share and it is good to stay at the forefront of people’s minds.
- DO reconnect and stay in touch with people in your network. It is one of the most powerful tools you can use when seeking new assignments.
And three Don’ts:
- DON’T rush into anything without doing your homework. You must consider practicalities such as setting up a limited company, getting PI insurance, travel etc.
- DON’T assume your assignment will be renewed. Make sure you keep an eye on the market, and listen out for new opportunities at all times.
- DON’T forget to take a holiday! It is easy to become focused on staying in work, particularly when you are only paid for the days you work, but everyone needs a rest now and again.
The bottom line: Interim management is a valid career option and increasing number of people and companies realize the benefits it offers.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author and speaker. She has held senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry for 12 years and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her b4iapply blog is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.