As the use of Interim Managers continues to grow, (Figures published from the Interim Management Association show a 93% increase in the use of Interim managers since 2006), opportunities for new Interim Managers to enter the market increase. We are often asked, “How do I become an Interim Manager?”
The first step is to understand the nature of interim work. An Interim Manager is a professional engaged to undertake a specific role, deliver or complete a task on behalf of a client. An interim manager is not a consultant, a contractor or a temporary worker. There are two tiers of Interim Manager, mid-tier, where rates are £300 to £600 per day, and senior-tier, where rates are £600 to £1800 per day. Mid-tier roles will generally involve project management and/or functional or departmental management responsibility. Senior-tier interim roles will typically involve change management, business strategy implementation, turnaround, project management and business improvement.
A question we ask those tentatively seeking interim work is, “Why do you think you will be suitable?” Those who will make a successful career out of Interim Management will view themselves as flexible (both in approach and geographically), confident in their ability, culturally in tune, not interested in political manoeuvrings, persuasive, confident in their decision-making, credible amongst their peers, resilient, with an unwavering focus on completing the task at hand. These are the qualities we expect of Interim Managers, coupled (of course) to a demonstrable track record of achievement within a specific discipline/sector. It is also worth noting that although Interim Management is no longer the preserve of the corporate executive reaching the end of their career, it is unusual to find an Interim Manager aged under thirty, as client companies generally seek to engage Interim Managers with substantial experience, gained from different environments/product sectors, possessing the credibility and perspective this experience brings.
If an individual believes they possess the characteristics required of a professional Interim Manager, and they have made a pragmatic decision where to pitch their service (mid-tier or senior-tier) based on their experience, the next stage is to put together an Interim focused CV. Professional Interim Managers may have two or three CV’s focusing on different sectors, disciplines and projects delivered and they will submit the most appropriate CV to the client given the assignment brief. The CV of an Interim Manager will not mirror that of a candidate seeking to obtain a permanent role, and candidates seeking to break-into Interim Management are advised to re-write their CV from scratch. Recommendations include:
Use headings such as “Responsibilities” and “Achievements” and detail information under bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs as this both maximises space and makes it much easier for potential clients to locate critical information.
When detailing previous Interim assignments, make it easy for potential clients to find out what you did and what you achieved by firstly providing a brief explanation of the project, followed by expectations and outcomes achieved. Bear in mind client confidentiality.
With an Interim CV, you can provide more detail than with a CV used to apply for a permanent role, although the emphasis should be placed on the last 5 to 10 years and do not produce a CV of more than 3 pages. If applicable you could provide accompanying information providing further detail, where you are applying for an interim assignment that closely mirrors a previous assignment you have completed.
Potential clients will want to look at your CV and quickly see the quantifiable and measurable results you delivered to previous clients, so detail cost savings achieved concisely in Pounds or Euro’s. Detail what you delivered for the client and what this meant to the business in financial terms, or how you improved a business in percentage points and what the financial benefits were.
When highlighting your strengths always document examples to back this up and be prepared to discuss your examples further at interview. Know your CV back to front, as with an interview for a permanent job, much of the interview will involve discussing previous companies you have worked for, your responsibilities and achievements.
As you build your portfolio of past assignments as an Interim Manager, you may need to reduce the amount of space devoted to your previous permanent career in order to keep the document to a reasonable length. It is acceptable to summarise your permanent career in bullet points detailing job titles with two or three bullet point sentences describing responsibilities and achievements.
With an Interim Managers CV, the client/recruiter is likely to be more interested in your relevant experience than your qualifications, so detail your career history/interim management assignments at the top of your CV, directly below your Personal details and contact information. Relevant professional qualifications should follow your career history, and education and general qualifications should then appear.
Be realistic about the breadth of your experience and achievements but don’t fall into the trap of under-selling yourself. The client needs to see a reality coherent link between what you have done and what you say you can do. If the assignment will see you enter uncharted waters do not be tempted to make grandstanding statements or promises based on what you have achieved in other sectors. It is better to under promise and over deliver than damage your reputation by not delivering.
When both writing the CV and attending an interview for an interim role, remember that the art of Interim Management is to deliver what you promise. You will be doing a disservice to yourself and your client if you exaggerate your experience.
As with any CV, presentation is important, and spelling and grammatical errors will create a bad impression. Ask someone to proof read your CV.
For those new to Interim Management make contact with an interim recruitment specialist who will offer advice and provide details of interim assignment opportunities. Once you and your Interim recruiter have identified a suitable assignment, gather as much relevant information as possible. You should never attend an interview before firstly obtaining and dissecting the assignment brief. Most Interim Management recruiters will discuss the assignment brief with you at a face-to-face meeting that will allow you to develop an assignment template that will cover all the crucial elements of the assignment in a logical format. It is reasonable to expect an Interim recruiter to provide the following information: a.) Details of the assignment/requirements, b.) Explanation of why the Interim Manager is required, c.) Introduction to the client including, background, products, culture, financial data, size, markets, customers etc, d.) Fundamentals of the assignment (start date / rate / location / length of engagement etc). We recommend that you supplement the information the recruiter provides with your own independent research, prior to the interview with the client.
The final stage is to make a success of your first interim assignment, detail this on your CV, network at every opportunity, and engage a recruitment specialist who knows the industry and can recommend you to potential clients.
The acid test in establishing yourself as an Interim Manager is to land your first interim assignment and putting your heart and soul into it. Do a great job for the client and ask them for a Reference. Create an ‘assignment profile’ case study supplementary to the Reference. Network at every opportunity and engage a recruitment specialist who knows the industry and can recommend you to potential clients.
Momentum is important when you commence your career as an Interim Manager, so don’t be tempted to take a long holiday once you have completed your first assignment, strike whilst the iron is hot and get yourself back out there hunting for your next assignment using all available channels.
If you are new to Interim Management we would be pleased to support you in identifying relevant assignments. www.interimmanagementjobs.net
Friday Dec 7, 2018