If you have worked at Board/Operating Board level or as a senior line or functional specialist, you might consider Interim Management as your next career step. Perhaps this is driven by a desire for better work/life balance, but also by the challenge of pressurised, stretching assignments. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:
What experience do I need?
Some functions and sectors are in more regular demand than others, but in general Interim Managers must have senior line management or project management experience. You will be "overqualified" — to be an expert in your field with specialist expertise. Interims managers should be high performers when measured against their peers, with a track record of quantifiable achievements and verifiable references. You also need confident communication skills with immediate impact.
I don't like change.
Well, this is certainly not the career route for you. Interim Managers have flexible, adaptable personalities and thrive in constantly changing environments, perhaps with different cultures or processes. Usually they don't want permanent jobs — they want to provide leadership to identify problems and deliver solutions, and then leave when the job is done (usually six to eight months). They are self-reliant and able to assimilate into a company professionally, whilst retaining a politically detached manner.
What can I earn?
Interims charge anywhere between £400 and £1,500 a day and there may be an agency margin on top of this. You need to be financially secure in order to cope with periods between assignments. About a quarter of interim assignments come through specialist interim recruiters, the rest are identified by the interims themselves. Getting your first assignments is hardest because most providers want to see that you have a track record of delivery before they put you on their "talent bank." So, as well as having the breadth and depth of knowledge you need to complete the assignment, you also need to be a good net-worker to find the positions. Interim Managers work though limited companies and have professional indemnity insurance.
How do I find out more?
Please contact us if you are considering Interim Management as a career option: Our coaching can help you to identify and market your specialist skills.
To find out more about the industry, you might want to look at the Interim Management Association's one-day workshop. This is designed to give you a complete overview of what becoming a career interim means, both in terms of commitment and opportunity.
The IMA Institute is the professional membership organisation for new and experienced career interim executives.