Written by Anna Bernstein on 04 Feb 2016
Interim management is a relatively new sector and for those looking in from the outside it can seem like an impenetrable world. There is no single route into interim management, but rather a huge variety of pathways which attracts candidates from a range of sectors. It is unlike any other job and as interims are essentially self-employed, it requires plenty of industry contacts as well as a strong track record.
Interim management involves taking on a short-term contract in order to implement a change within the company before moving on to a new assignment. These projects vary in duration but can last up to twelve months. The interim manager will remain outside of the corporate structure and there is no chance of being promoted or taken on by the company in another position. The role will be clearly defined at the beginning of the assignment and in most circumstances this will be followed until its conclusion.
Interim management is not an entry level job. Those who are successful in this field will have decades of experience and be proven problem solvers. It is also essential to be a good motivator. Interim managers have a brief window in order to deliver significant changes and this means getting people to listen and do whatever is required of them in order to help the company turn things around. Anyone wishing to take on this position must be flexible, willing to work and travel to new places and be comfortable having no settling in period. Interim managers also have to be comfortable making the difficult decisions, which may not be popular within a company.
Interim management is an attractive career which involves working in a variety of challenging environments and never knowing where the next assignment might take you. There are many rewards to employment in this sector, not just in terms of financial remuneration. The most fulfilling aspect of this job is utilising knowledge and experience to make a real difference to a company and seeing these transformations take place within a short space of time.
While being an interim manager is an appealing prospect, it lacks the security of a regular job. As a self-employed individual, they will not be entitled to any of the usual company benefits such as pensions, healthcare insurance or a regular wage. Interim managers are only paid when they are on assignment, and must spend any down time looking for new opportunities.
The most important thing that anyone who aspires to be an interim manager can do is gain experience in a wide variety of disciplines and fields. This will make the candidate far more marketable in the long term and also build up a healthy book of contacts who may wish to utilise their services in the future. Taking the first step can be daunting, but it’s one that potential interims must take themselves. This might come along by chance but by networking effectively, they are most likely to be in the right place at the right time. It’s only by building a track record and gaining more experience that a foothold can be gained within the industry.
There is no career progression or any kind of hierarchical structure within the world of interim management. However more assignments and opportunities will present themselves once an interim manager has proven themselves in a range of different positions and built a track record which will help them to stand out within the industry.
To find out how you can join our network of interim managers or gain access to a wealth of experienced candidates, contact us today